Friday, March 30, 2012

The "Dark Shadows" Feature Trailer...*insert eye-roll*...

Don't know how long this trailer has been out, but I caught it on YouTube. All I have to say is...

"Mr. Burton, you have yet again decided to skirt the line of 'really good' and 'really bad'." Tim Burton is a favorite director of mine. It pains me to think that he might just have made another...well, bad movie. The original series of "Dark Shadows" is something I have written about before. It hasn't seen an equal in it's subject matter within the realm of day time soaps. (No, I do not count the horrible 'Passions'.) The story was engaging in that regard, but it also was completely watchable for another reason. It's many flaws. Acting that bordered on 'community theater' level. As Master Thespian would say, "Acting!" One could create a drinking game based on the number of times actors flubbed their lines. Shaky set walls. Boom mics hanging in plain sight. Shadows of crew members on set walls. The entire package was so...special. There was a magnetic charm that kept viewers coming back again and again. What would Barnabas do next?

Then I saw this (cue trailer):

Tim Burton is in a tough spot. As I touched on before, this movie is either going to be 'really good', or 'really bad'. I see the presence of some of the old characters, but so many liberties appear to have been taken that (from the trailer) it looks like he could have just as easily produced a film independent of the "Dark Shadows" story line. Actually, it looks like he might have done that. Taken such small nuggets of plot and character from the original to make an entirely new plot line and world. The tough element in all of this is Johnny Depp.

Johnny is on my short list of favorite actors, and I have loved every performance I have seen him give. He is one of the few American actors I think of that has 'chameleon-like' qualities. He takes chances with the characters he steps into. His performance of Willy Wonka in "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory" was appropriately creepy, but the film was terrible. I have no doubt that his portrayal of Barnabas will be great, but...the laughs look like they are going to be rammed down the audiences throats. I have a huge sense of humor that appreciates its share of over the top fun. That being said, there is a line where a films humor level can try too hard. John Waters might want to chuck me in the back of the head for this, but there is such a thing as too much 'camp'. I LOVE camp. However, there is good camp, and there is bad camp. Everything has it's evil twin, and I think that this "Dark Shadows" film might be the evil counter-part to the original. 

I also have to mention an actress on my short list, Helena Bonham-Carter. She is also a 'chameleon-like' actor.  I have been a fan of hers since "A Room With A View" came out (I am a sucker for period pieces like that).  It is a beautiful thing that she happens to be Burton's significant other, and as such is cast in just about everything he does.  She is a gift to any movie she is attached to.  I know she will put her heart and soul into the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, like she obviously does with every part she plays.  Actors work can sometimes save a film, but if this is a bomb, can it happen here?  

When it hits DVD I will see it. Johnny and Helena are in it, so I have to see it. I will have a cringe locked and loaded as the movie starts, but I do hope I don't have to use it. I am so hoping that my predictions are wrong. I kind of wish that I had never watched the trailer. These days, trailer's show way too much of a film.

True, I am just one person with my own opinions. However, Burton has a huge army of die-hard fans of the original to contend with. The success of this film really rests in the hands of younger people who were too young to have watched the original, or who weren't born when it re-ran and never saw the rather lame night time remake. The greener the movie goer, the better.

I know it's hard to see from this post, but I am trying to be open minded. Really! I was a fan of the original, even re-watching the episodes a few months ago on Netflix. I also wrestle with a philosophy I have always had regarding TV shows and movies being remade in any form : "Don't fix it if it ain't broke."

Aside from the two actors previously mentioned, there is a cast of talented actors.  Jonny Lee Miller, for one.  (Most will most likely know him from the '80's 'cool computer nerd' film, "Hacker's".  Some lucky individuals will have caught him in his 26-episode run starring in the TV series, "Eli Stone"...great stuff.)  Who knows?  I could be completely wrong, and "Dark Shadows" the movie will be great.  It is set to be released on May 11th, so I'll wait and cringe locked and loaded...

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