Tuesday, October 23, 2012

However, please know, it is with sincere regret that I must now kill all of you.

I remember this time in seventh grade when I had a bunch of friends over my house. Throughout the night I was eating Cheetos by the handful. The first two or three were delicious. The next couple, not so much. After the eighth one, things weren't looking so good. As everyone else slept, I stumbled out of my bedroom, careful to avoid strung out kids sprawled on the floor, and headed toward the bathroom. Even though it was mere steps away, I didn't make it. I threw up this incredible amount of bright orange sludge. Clueless, panicked and half-awake, I returned to my room and pretended the whole thing never happened.

Dark Shadows marks the eighth time that Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have worked together. And while this professional relationship peaked early with the unforgettable Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Ed Wood (1994), things have been inconsistent since. That's probably putting it kindly. In fact, the last two, for me, have been borderline disasters. Maybe not to the level of hours-old orange retch, but still. These guys are too talented to misfire at this point in their respective careers.

Dark Shadows is the film adaptation of some old soap that means nothing to me. Here, we are privy to the tale of Barnabas Collins who has awoken in the 1970's after being cursed with eternal life hundreds of years prior. Barnabas (Depp) has always had his way with the ladies, and things are no different when he awakes. More pressing however, is his sullied family name and business. And speaking of family, turns out they're all a little...wait for it...quirky. I know, I know. Shocking.

When I hear that something is good, I tend to stay away from reviews and such. But when I hear something blows ass, I tend to devour information detailing it. The problem, is that I tend to want to see what all the fuss is about. And knowing I'm going into a real shit show, tends to really crush any expectations of quality. But, guess what happens? I end up thinking the movie wasn't that bad.

Between you and me, this movie, indeed, wasn't that bad. Hold on. It wasn't that good either. In fact, it wasn't a lot of things. It wasn't funny. Or scary. Or very interesting. But somehow, it also wasn't boring. I guess it just was. And while simply existing may be enough for a flick featuring a shark in a grocery store, that doesn't cut it for Depp, Burton and a truly killer cast. File this one under missed opportunities. You can put it right next to Alice in Wonderland. Oh wait, that one's under steaming pile of dogshit. My bad.

Let's turn things around with those lovable scamps, the Yays and Boos. They're still not sure what they want to be for Halloween. Rascals.

  • The prologue gave me hope. Bonus points for seeing bodies land.
  • Vicky looked like the Corpse Bride. Oddly intoxicating.
  • Nice dig at McDonald's, gents. Well played.
  • Whoa. Did Barnabas bust a Jedi mind trick on Count Dooku? Fantastic.
  • Though I've seen entirely too much vampire sex lately (haven't we all?), I did enjoy the scene pictured above. I must admit. They haven't aged a bit.
  • There was a pretty hefty balls conversation. Somebody owes Bon Scott a dollar.
  • And finally, Johnny Depp. Even if I didn't love the movie, I enjoyed his performance. I'm worried though that he's not aging. Seriously, I now look older than he does.
  • You're working on a construction site, and you unearth a coffin. That's f--king chained shut. Quick tip: Don't open it.
  • Eva Green. I want to love you. But you scare me (though, she was born to be in a Burton flick as she looks like something out of The Nightmare Before Christmas, rather beautiful/gangly and dead)
  • What was with Werewolf Girl? And why did I hate her so much? Oh, I remember. She was stupid. And annoying. Even with her sweet child-bearing hips.
  • It seems that numerous characters don't really have a place in this film (the little kid, the doctor-lady, Catwoman, etc.). But the biggest letdowns?
  • ...They seriously underutilized an always awesome Jackie Earle Haley. That's no way to treat Rorschach.
  • They also screwed over an always awesome Jonny Lee Miller. That's Sick Boy, for f--ks sake.
  • But the biggest offender, is the script as a whole. There was a chance for a lot more laughs, maybe even a lot more scares, but none of it ever amounts to much.
So, that next morning, after the Cheetos Incident, I slowly opened my bedroom door to see what I had done. Miraculously, it was gone. I exhaled and thought, maybe it was all a bad dream. I walked out into the dining room, to see my mom at the table, eyes wide.

Mom: What. Was. That?
Young m. brown: (ashamed) Yeah. Sorry about that.
Mom: (pauses) It's okay. Just don't do it again.

Now just replace Mom with Person Who Just Watched Dark Shadows.
And go ahead and change Young m.brown to Burton. Or Depp.


  1. Good review M. I don't know what it was about this flick but there wasn't anything that really had me going the whole time. I was curiously bored throughout, and just kept waiting for something cool and exciting to come of Burton's direction. But sadly, that rarely ever came and it was a total disappointment.

    1. I was curiously entertained, despite what you're saying being completely true.

      I guess Depp has that power over me. It's weird.

  2. "That's Sick Boy, for f--ks sake." Indeed! There was so many awesome actors here and they had nothing to do. I liked Eva as I'm a huge fan, her, Depp and Pfeiffer seemed to be the only ones who knew what they were doing. Chloe Moretz sunk to new low with this performance, but hey, Carrie is near so I'm sure it will only get worse.

    1. So true about the three leads. And it doesn't surprise me that you love Eva. Somehow, that makes perfect sense!

      I love how you managed to mention your unbridled hate for the upcoming Carrie remake. Tell me how you really feel...

      Poor Hit Girl. (but I really loathed her here...like, really, really)

  3. Yeah, I watched this movie a while ago and I've yet to post the review. I don't know it was just terribly uninteresting to me, but at the same time I couldn't stop watching it.

    I actually hated that they had to tell the whole damn story about who he was and blah blah blah... I think missed opportunity is a nice way of putting it.

    Did love the McDonald's dig.

    1. The backstory is pretty unnecessary, especially considering it's the exact same backstory of every damn vampire movie ever.

      But considering the whole thing was pretty unnecessary...I guess it works in a way.

      Maybe we can hold out for that old saying. You know, ninth times the charm.

  4. First of all, your tags are amusing. And effective. I've seen Dark Shadows twice, voluntarily, but I think the way only way to truly enjoy it is to completely shut out everything that's bad, because underneath all that, it's a lot of fun, too. Moretz was borderline horrible, but Depp and Eva Green surprised me and vampire sex was just cool. Yes. Well. Can you believe your review made me want to see it again?

    1. I love the fact that you've seen this movie twice, voluntarily. That speaks to your strong character, or your extreme dislike of free time. Either way, it's admirable.

      Vampire sex is always cool. Especially with Eva Green. Eva Greeeeeeennnn.......Oh no...now I want to see this again.