Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows. US © 2012 Warner Bros. P: Christi Dembrowski, Johnny Depp, David Kennedy, Graham King, Richard D. Zanuck. D: Tim Burton. SC: Seth Grahame-Smith - story: John August, Seth Grahame-Smith - based on the television series (1966-1971 and 1991) created by Dan Curtis. DP: Bruno Delbonnel. PD: Rick Heinrichs. AD: Chris Lowe (sup.), Neal Callow, Dean Clegg, Christian Huband, Jason Knox-Johnston, Phil Sims. Set dec: John Bush. Cost: Colleen Atwood. Makeup and prosthetics dept.: large. Art dept: large. SFX dept: big. VFX dept: huge (BUF, Method Studios, MPC Moving Picture Company, Senate Visual Effects). 3D Cyber & LIDAR scanning and digital modelling: 4DMax. M: Danny Elfman. S: Julian Slater. ED: Chris Lebenzon. Casting: Susie Figgis. C: Johnny Depp (Barnabas Collins), Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard), Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Julia Hoffman), Eva Green (Angelique Bouchard), Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis), Johnny Lee Miller (Roger Collins), Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters / Josette DuPres), Chloë Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard), Gulliver McGrath (David Collins), Ray Shirley (Mrs. Johnson), Christopher Lee (Captain Clarney), Alice Cooper (Alice Cooper). Dedicated to Dan Curtis. Loc: England, Scotland, Canada. Studio: Pinewood. Released by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Eija Virtanen / Marjut Hökfelt. 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 2, Helsinki, 26 May 2012.

Technical specs from the IMDb: Camera: Arricam LT, Cooke S4 and Angenieux Optimo Lenses - Laboratory: Technicolor - Film length: 3089 m - Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219) - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Based on the daytime comedy horror tv series created by Dan Curtis this is the first vampire movie by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Produced during the current new wave of hugely popular vampire fiction, Dark Shadows has nothing to do with other contemporary teenage vampire movies and tv series (Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood).

Tim Burton belongs to my favourite contemporary film directors. Dark Shadows is a positive surprise; I prefer it to Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton cannot help being an image-driven film-maker, and Dark Shadows is full of astounding visions and inventions. It is very difficult to create such a mix of horror, comedy, and parody, but Burton succeeds in his pastiche of the year 1972 when the action takes place with a prologue set in 1760. Johnny Depp creates a novel gothic creature and an original vampire character. Helena Bonham Carter plays the in-house psychiatrist and doctor who tries in vain to solve dark family secrets via psychoanalysis and to save the vampire via blood transfusions. Michelle Pfeiffer, the definitive Catwoman of the cinema, returns to a Tim Burton movie in a juicy role as the family matriarch. The talented Eva Green, who has not been getting the roles she deserves, is a strong newcomer to the world of Tim Burton as the evil witch Angelique Bouchard who put the curse on Barnabus and the entire Collins family. Delicious moments include Johnny Depp as the vampire meeting Christopher Lee as a seasoned captain in the local pub. Alice Cooper gets to perform "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Ballad Of Dwight Fry" at the happening at the Collins castle.

Tim Burton's hallmark is making evil look awesome and ridiculous at the same time. The monsters are also victims of their own evil.

Victoria Winters, the new governess, has been abandoned by her family and sent to an old-fashioned madhouse. Her story is the most touching in the movie. There is so much pomposity in the battle between Barnabus and Bouchard that it is impossible to get deeply emotionally involved in it.

Like Bela Lugosi, Johnny Depp has developed a personal pathos in his way of speaking in the role of an ancient man who emerges into the present and experiences a constant shock of the new. "I have an unfortunate excess of time". "You cannot love, Angelique: that is your curse".

The selection of vintage tracks on the soundtrack is good, from "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath to "Top Of The World" by The Carpenters.

The movie has been shot on photochemical 35 mm film, but perhaps because of the amount of visual effects and special effects involved the image has been given a slightly soft digital video look in post-production.

Worth reading: the remarks of Tim Lucas, 23 May 2012 (Pause, Rewind, Obsess). 
Songlist (copied from English Wikipedia): "Nights In White Satin" by The Moody Blues, "Top Of The World" by The Carpenters, "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" by Barry White, "I'm Sick Of You" by Iggy Pop, "Season Of The Witch" by Donovan, "Get It On" by T. Rex, "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath. A cover of the Raspberries' song "Go All the Way" by The Killers also plays over the end credits.

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