See also James Mannan’s review of Dark Shadows.
Tim Burton will go down as an artist who peaked early. Dark Shadows (2012) continues the autopilot fatigue that has plagued this director for the past sixteen years. Burton’s quasi-religious fan base has a tendency to erroneously dress him up as some kind of “dark” auteur. Rather, his is a one-note style with increasingly few exceptions. The bulk of his post Ed Wood (1994) films are “Disneyfied” and actually jettison the darker, complex nuances in favor of what he imagines to be audience accessibility. Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) are lucid examples of this syndrome. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka projected far more interior disturbance than Johnny Depp‘s silicone interpretation. In Burton’s Alice Lewis Carroll’s twitchy surrealism gave way to a Disney-paced narrative with yet another cartoon pseudo performance by Depp at its center.
Many critics harp on Burton’s narrative shortcomings. The films of Luis Buñuel refute the lie that three-dimensional characterizations are absolutely wedded to orthodox narratives. Burton’s early films evoked a strikingly fresh milieu with characters who, on the surface, seemed to be flying the freak flag high. But, Burton’s initial cannon of freaks really weren’t so different than the rest of us. If Pee Wee Herman, Adam, Barbara, Lydia and Beetlejuice, Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle, Edward Scissorhands, Kim, and Peg, along with Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi were, perhaps, not immediate family, then they were most certainly extended family or close friends with whom we felt affinity, kinship, and admiration.
Then, something happened. Burton lost his mojo, and Depp followed suit in an even more pronounced, blatantly obvious way. At one point, Depp promised to be the new Brando, offering a fresh alternative to the plasticity of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Whoever would have guessed Continue reading DARK SHADOWS (2012): A SECOND OPINION