"They put a lot of money into “Superman Lives.” What’s interesting, too, is if we had been able to make the movie the way we wanted to back then. It was like “Batman” all those years ago; there was always a bit of controversy. Like, “Oh, it’s too dark.” It’s like, well, now it looks like a light-hearted romp."
— Tim Burton talked to me about “Superman Lives,” “Frankenweenie” and “Dark Shadows.” He was awesome.
"Dark Shadows" is a very bad movie. Alternate titles likely included "Dark Shadoze" (via the genius of Kase Wickman, y’all) or “Dark Shadowzzzzzzzz” (via the hackery of my brain). This thing is like Sominex.
Let’s see: the first 15 minutes set up this horror-comedy with moderately interesting mystery … and then that’s about all. Something happens with the fishing industry? Alice Cooper shows up as himself, but playing himself 40 years ago? Without makeup? None of it makes any sense, plot threads are dropped almost as soon as they’re conjured, and the third act is as embarrassing as Chloe Moretz’s entire performance. (She’s so bad in “Dark Shadows,” child services should have been called.) It’s mostly garbage, which you’d expect, since the best thing Tim Burton has been a part of in the last 18 years was that MOMA exhibit.
Not that Burton is the only reason “Dark Shadows” stinks. Burton’s muse, world famous movie star Johnny Depp, is as boring as Jeremy Renner here (saying something). Depp’s around the bend on his “weird” performances; serious question: will he ever give a normal performance again? And could he even pull that off? (Judging from “The Tourist,” he can’t.)
Still, the real tragedy of “Dark Shadows” is that it wastes all the great talent around Depp and his Kabuki makeup. Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter are a delight, and Eva Green basically crashes through scenery (sometimes literally) with energy and commitment that this movie doesn’t deserve. Bella Heathcote, an alluring onscreen mix of Zooey Deschanel and Angelina Jolie, should also be a big star. Let’s agree to cast the four of these actresses in another movie someday. Just make sure it’s a good one.