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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Review: Dark Shadows (2012)
BB Piano
Dark Shadows (2012). Directed by Tim Burton and based on the 60s/70s TV series. The story starts over 250 years ago. The wealthy Collins family move from England to the USA to further seek their fortune. They construct a small fishing village which prospers and grows significantly, and is ultimately named Collinsport. The son of the Collins family, Barnabas (Johnny Depp), has a relationship with one of the maids, but then falls in love with someone else. It turns out the spurned maid is a witch, who curses the family. Barnabas's parents are killed in a freak accident, and his beloved throws herself off a cliff. Barnabas tries to save her and ends up falling off the cliff as well, but is turned into a vampire during the fall by the witch, and his new immortality saves him. When Barnabas continues to spurn the witch she buries him in a chained up coffin. Fast forward to the 1960s, and Barnabas is accidentally dug up by some builders, who he then proceeds to exsanguinate. A rather confused Barnabas then makes his way back to the ancestral home. Dark Shadows is probably best described as a quirky gentle black comedy. It has the Tim Burton gothic feel in spades. Depp does a good job of playing Barnabas with a strong dose of black comedy (I suspect we're all feeling a bit burned out on Depp, but I managed to hang in there) although a handful of the jokes fell flat for me. There's a reasonable supporting cast with an under-explained Michelle Pfeiffer, an inevitable and semi-loopy Helena Bonham Carter, a somewhat underwhelming Jonny Lee Miller, a teenager-y Chloe Moretz, and a show stealing Eva Green. I found the story went along at a good pace until near the end, when it seemed to falter a bit. Ultimately whether you enjoy this will depend on whether you like the quirky humour (if you don't laugh during the trailer that's a strong sign that you won't). I should also add that I haven't seen any of the original TV series, which may well colour your feelings about it. 4/5 (Good)