Dark Shadows Trailer: It Looks Like Tim Burton May Have His First Watchable Movie in 18 Years
No, not that Dark Shadows. This Dark Shadows:
Now, I’m not sure what happened to my love affair with Tim Burton movies, but it dried up long ago. As a kid, I thought he was this amazing, brilliant, visionary director who made super cool movies! I must’ve watched Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure 20 dozen times. It had a great energy, even with it’s flaws, it was endearing and fun. It felt fresh and full of wonder. Of course much of that could be chalked up to Paul Reuben’s performance of his brilliant Pee-Wee Herman character, but the film is perfectly paced and imagined. It’s not easy bringing a silly character to the big screen for 2 hours. Look at all the impossible to watch Saturday Night Live movies.
I remember a few years ago, when my nephew Jeremy was about 8 or so, we would watch Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure together. He was so excited. Every time, he would ask me to pause it just as Large Marge’s face exploded into a claymation orgy that looked like a melted pizza with eyes and a mouth. He would sit and stare at the image for at least 30 seconds. That’s a powerful thing as a kid. I applaud Mr. Burton for giving that to him. But that film was made 18 years ago now. What happened? I have a feeling if I watched a Tim Burton movie with Jeremy now, he’d ask me to fast forward it. Don’t believe me? Do this: watch the original 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Let it sit for about a week. Think about the wonder. The humor and the darkness. Then, watch Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ from 2005. You may have a hard time getting through it. Compare Gene Wilder’s Wonka to Johnny’s. The film doesn’t work.
Burton made a handful of good movies after Pee-Wee: Beetlejuice (a lot of fun as a kid at the Drive-in, unsure how it holds up now, though), Batman (Prince!), Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns (Karl Marx would love it’s take on class and society), Ed Wood (maybe his second best film behind Pee-Wee?). It was all downhill starting with Mars Attacks. I wanted to love it, but I was bored and antsy. It was all style and no substance. No story, or strong character development. No wonder. I feel like all his films after this are the same. Hard to get through. If it wasn’t for Helena Bonham Carter’s wonderfully over the top Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland (“Off with their heads!”), I most certainly would not have made it through that visual dreck. It’s not piled on, it’s a mountain of dreck. That film made over a billion dollars. Obviously a lot of people disagree with me on that movie. I don’t think many will disagree with me on his other films since Mars Attacks. Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Charlie, Sweeney Todd. Ugh.
Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I’m hoping this track record will turn around with ‘Dark Shadows’. I never watched the tv show from which it is based, but the trailer looks fun, fresh, playful. Not overly heavy. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. It won’t be winning any Oscars, but it doesn’t have to. The supporting characters even look interesting (not all Johnny all the time). If there’s a decent script here and the pacing is tight, this could be good. Thoughts? Are you a fan of Mr. Burton and the characters Mr. Depp makes with him? Am I not harsh enough? I could always be more harsh. If you want.
Here’s the trailer: