Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)

-Popcorn is evil, Paulius said, looking with a certain surprise at the big, empty paper box. I never thought two people could finish up such a quantity.
-Absolutely, I agreed, and imagine, I don't really like cinema popcorn, it is too salty for me (yes, I still opt for the salty version in a country where the even unhealthier sweet version is the norm, aouch)!

Is popcorn evil? Or was it just the film, that dragged us into its secret passages, its exuberant seventies colours spritzed   with shameless baroque elements and the most soap operatic scenes even seen in a Burton picture?

The official character posters of Dark Shadows -that adorn every main street of every respectable capital in the world these days- are so delightfully vivid coloured that you end up perplexed as to which one to favour. In the end, I picked  this alternative poster proposal here. You know the Empire  magazine's competition for the best fan poster. Here is my favourite one, inspired by Campbell's soup, because humour will save us these days.

Having watched it, I am in a position to say: what with all those bad reviews, guys? Why do you condemn the Burton-Depp duo for just wanting to have fun? Anything wrong with that? I know, the original TV series lovers -yes, Dark Shadows used to be a popular american TV series in the seventies, apparently- are disappointed, because they found nothing of the original material or feeling there. The rest of them found not much of canny Burtonesque psychedelia there. Needless to say, everybody was eagerly looking for something; and that something was nowhere to be found. The key is to go to the cinema a bit of a tabula rasa -not easy, I know. Leave your expectations out of the door; it's the only way you can enjoy. Going to the cinema is no comparative studies, you don't need me to tell you that.

I do get frustrated with films myself; there's always a good reason to be frustrated, but it should have nothing to do with expectations and the ideal in the platonic realm. Bad acting or evident lack of budget and resourcefulness to hide it, now that's a good reason for me. Being bored is another, no less subjective one. But, how could one reproach (they actually did) Dark Shadows of being tedious and boring? It's a regal of acting, mainly from Depp himself, Helena Bonham-Carter, Eva Green and Chloë Grace Moretz, the spoilt werewolf and new Carrie in the up and coming remake of the eponymous seventies horror treat by Stephen King and Brian de Palma. Then, it's an unexpected, bombastic, alive thing; it defies categorization. It wants to be gory, romantic, funny and cheesy as a Brazilian soap opera at the same time. With so many stuff in the mix, naturally no masterpiece could come out of it; but still, Dark Shadows is a  loud crowd-pleaser in a new, non-Burtonesque way all the same.

* Favourite Burton trick: Eva Green made by porcelain. Highlight of the night: Paulius trying to buy popcorn on a two hundred euro bill. He had to use his card instead.


Harry P said...

First of all, when you are a fan of a director, you always have great expectations about his films.
And, as for Black Shadows, you don't need to be a fan of the original TV series to realize you are watching a seriously uneven film with various problems here and there.
You say that there's nothing wrong with Burton & Depp wanting to have fun. Well, I have to say there is, when they're, actually, the only ones having fun. (OK, you can also include Eva Green - the real scene stealer of this particular film).
The thing is that, starting with his remake of the Planet of the Apes, everytime Burton decides to make his version of previously existing stuff, the result is somewhat disappointing - with the sole exception, IMHO, of the glorious bloodstained musical Sweeney Todd.
To cut a long story short, I believe that, after a week or two, the only thing you will still remember from Dark Shadows, would be the amazing, otherwordly sex scene between Barnabas and Angelique. Nuff said.
(and sorry about my... bad english)

Blur said...

You have always a special way, to connect facts. Like the evil salty pop corn, with just a Burton 's movie!

estelle said...

I get all your points and more or less agree; let's say that this film will entertain bigger audiences, rather than dedicated Burton fans. That's what I try to convey, treating the film as a bizarre piece of work, entertaining still, but maybe not as worthy of Burton's signature. Haha, and your English is fine, why are you so humble?

estelle said...

Hahaaaa, and, yes, the popcorn was unbelievably evil in that Burton's screening :P