Remember when a movie starring Johnny Depp with Tim Burton at the helm actually meant something? Well, I can assure you that those days are long over as Depp sneaks his way into the summer line up with Dark Shadows, a film based off a 60’s tv series. Much like modern day re-tellings of TV past such as Starsky and Hutch and Land of the Lost, Dark Shadows takes the comedic route in telling the tale of a vampire who wakes up in modern times and finds himself trying to help his dysfunctional ancestors in their every day problems.
I’d be completely lying to you if I said I finished this film. It takes a LOT for me to walk out of a film, in fact I can count on my hand the number of films I walked out of theaters on. (The Truth About Charlie, The Glass House and probably would have walked out of Your Highness if I hadn’t fallen asleep) Dark Shadows made the short list. This pointless piece of drivel was 113 minutes of film that I couldn’t stand. I dropped out after the first half hour of film. Maybe I will chalk it up to the fact that it was a freebie showing, perhaps it was that it was 12:30 am and I was running on a few hours of sleep, or perhaps it was that I just ran out of tasty, crunch Dibbs ice cream bites to stuff my face with. The point was, few films have me heading to the door and this one had me almost running.
Burton and Depp used to produce interesting movie magic together years ago, but now they have both become caricatures of themselves with each new project they make. They lack the originality they once did and Burton finds once more excuse to put a pale faced Johnny Depp on screen with a new accent. It amazes me how people will bash the career of Will Farrell, siting things as Semi Pro as “Will Farrell Plays Basketball”, Ricky Bobby as “Will Farrell drives NASCAR”, The Other Guys as “Will Farrell Plays Cop” but no one dares to throw stones at Depp’s body of work in the last few years. Depp is a talented actor, yet when teamed with Burton it reeks of 90’s staleness that just can not be re-created.
I wish I could tell you that the film progressed better after I left, and perhaps it did. However my partner is screening crime boldly finished the film in hopes that the film got better with time. His final report to me was it was a film the continued to try harder than it ever should have to be good and that viewers were dropping like flies. It sounds like I made the right choice. I’m in a business where theatrical success of films means more money in the bank for me and I am telling you to steer clear of this film. If you must, Redbox it or Netflix it in a few months, but don’t give your hard earned cash to Burton and company for sub par crud just because Depp’s name headlines the film. Stop rewarding bad Hollywood behavior and start rewarding the popcorn flicks you enjoy and the original ideas that come from talent you may have never heard of before.