I’ve never actually seen an episode of Dark Shadows, but from what I gather, I’d probably enjoy it. I’ve gone through stints where I’ll watch Passions rather passionately for a few weeks, and my liking of melodrama and the supernatural is pretty obvious. Either way, after watching the trailer for Tim Burton’s upcoming film, I have a hunch that they have made a lot of changes for this update of the classic soap.
Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, an 18th century jerk who has been cursed by a witch (Eva Green), turned into a vampire, and buried in the ground for two hundred years, to awaken in the 1970s. He returns to his home to find it occupied by his descendents who are all as off-color as he is (a cast of Burton regulars and other well known faces: Michaelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Lee Miller, and Chloe Moretz).
The campiness is laid on pretty thick, which, although I know it attracts much of the remaining Dark Shadows cult, I’m assuming it was not nearly as intentional in the original series. It’s a weird kind of paradox that has popped up a lot in genre film as of late. A movie inspired by something that was unintentionally campy and funny becomes intentionally campy and, by intent, insincere. Whether or not this insincerity will make for a bad film remains to be seen.
The trailer is under the assumption that we are a bunch of idiots, it starts off with a quick montage detailing how Johnny Depp’s character became a vampire, and then when the witch that cursed him is reintroduced a mere minute later, it cuts back to the footage of her casting the spell on him. This is a trailer. When a character says “I’m the witch that cursed you” we don’t need a flashback to remind us who she is, we remember the last 60 seconds. I think it’s safe to assume that we’re not goldfish and a vast majority of us aren’t suffering from the same affliction as Leonard Shelby. Do people with short-term amnesia even watch movies?
Just a reminder in case you forgot, flashback, I’m discussing how stupid the Dark Shadows trailer is.
I think it was around the time Charlie And The Chocolate Factory came out that I just lost my patience with Tim Burton. All the charm from his earlier films seems to have been replaced with this unappealing pastel-colored synthetic gothicism. Dark Shadows doesn’t look like Twilight, but it may as well be. All I am sensing from this trailer is another glossy movie product, lacking essence. Soulless… like a vampire. Maybe it’s an artistic choice? Sigh.
I really do miss vampires. Think about The Hunger. Think about Bauhaus and David Bowie, rotting in that house, an ugly, sexy vampirism, substantially macabre, atmospheric, and beautiful. Again, I’m not so familiar with Dark Shadows, but wouldn’t it have been cool to do this remake with a little atmosphere?
I guess I’ll give it a chance if someone else will pay for my ticket.