Daily archives "May 14, 2012"

Dark Shadows ****

Running time: 113 mins Certificate: 12A

 

Synopsis: In 1752, Maine Barnabas Collins (Depp) spurns the love of witch Angelique Bouchard (Green). She sends his beloved Josette DuPres (Heathcote) to her death, turns Barnabas into a vampire and then buries him alive. Flashforward to 1972, Barnabas returns and vows to restore the family name to its former glories.

It has taken many years for Johnny Depp to bring his pet project to life, but with his friend Tim Burton’s help the film based on Dan Curtis’ late-60s supernatural soap has finally seen the light of day.

 

This is not the silly comedy that the enjoyable trailer makes this film out to be, but rather a weird blend of gothic quirkiness with serious black melodrama. In essence it is really a mishmash of The Addams Family, Death Becomes Her and even in some part Burton’s own classic Beetlejuice.

 

The movie is a really strange adaptation as tonally it is all over the place. At times it can be dark and foreboding, then completely shift gear to a farcical type comedy. Best selling author Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) appears to struggle with the multiple character scenarios and what strand of the stories should take precedence within the overall piece.But on thinking the plot is fractually structured just like a soap opera would be and this could be the intention. But by doing this some of the minor characters are slightly waisted.

 

Depp’s Barnabas is a brilliantly fantastic creation that is definitely up there with his best creations and delivers most of the best lines. The vampire is a funny, charismatic monster who not only is struggles to figure out how to live in this time, but also what it means to be human.Pfeiffer brings a touch of class as the head of the household and is seems to be more concerned by the state of the family name than her own teen daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz). While Bonham Carter and Earle Haley give memorable performances which appear to be influenced on Simpsons characters. Unfortunately both   the characters of uncle Roger (Miller) and his troubled son David (McGrath) make little impression with their underwritten roles.

 

The film is stunning shot with scenes reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow and fantastic costumes. The best thing is that Burton has relied less on CGI effects this time and focused on more a physical look. Danny Elfman haunting score is beautifully blended with some great classic 70’s songs.

 

While the film has faults mostly due to script problems and underused characters, it is a very enjoyable experience and sees Burton turn back to strange, funny character pieces that he used to make at the start of his career.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Beauty & the Beast 3-D

Running time: 84 mins Certificate: U

 

Synopsis: The animated classic returns to screens in 3-D. When Belle’s inventor father goes missing, she tracks him down to a castle inhabited by a fearsome beast. Belle agrees to take her father’s place as hostage and soon starts to love the Beast.

 

Based on a fairytale written in the 18th century, Beauty & The Beast is an animated musical that tells the story of Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara), a young woman who is bored with life in a French village. When her father, Maurice (voiced by Rex Everhart) gets lost in the woods and is held captive in a castle by the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson), Belle pleads with the Beast to take her instead so her father can be free, unaware he is a prince in disguise.

 

Despite being primarily a children’s film, the story has some darker themes beneath the surface. Watching the film as an adult, there is clearly the underlying message that people should look beneath the surface when choosing who they fall in love with.

 

The 3D version of the film is superb. The scenes in which the castle and the village are shown make the viewer feel as if they could jump into the screen. In addition to this, the sound is much clearer and the animation is sharper. The hand drawn characters look particularly stunning in 3D.

 

As with the original version, the songs in the film are excellent and will hold the attention of both children and adults. The characters are also very entertaining, particularly the talking objects that populate the castle.

 

With a great story, lovely artwork and a catchy soundtrack, Beauty & the Beast is a joy to watch. Regardless of whether the viewer has seen the original version or is completely new to the film, the 3D version is a must see.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Watt