Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Really Cranky At the Movies

What was Tim Burton thinking?

More specifically, what did he want us to be thinking?  One aspect of a director's job is to shape an audience's reaction to a movie.  He or she does this (as does a fiction writer) through tone.  A successful piece of art has control of its tone, which may be comedic or dramatic or satiric or heroic or half a dozen other choices.  

DARK SHADOWS is a tonal mess.  Burton does not seem able to decide if he is making a horror movie, a satire of a horror movie, a comedy, or a drama.  For instance, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), the vampire protagonist, kills two groups of innocent people.  The first time, he makes jokes about it.  Later he regrets having been turned into such a monster.  There is a bit of introspective agonizing.  Next batch of killings, we're back to bad jokes.  Is Barbabas a tortured victim, a gleeful blood-drinker, a hero we should root for, what?  And this is only one example.

Depp struggles well with this material, but there is only so much even a gifted actor can do with a bad script and a wandering tone.  Avoid this movie.  Captain Jack Sparrow was a lot more fun.

1 comment:

jsmusgrave said...

I think you need to be Cranky at the Movies with Prometheus when you get back from Taos.