Release date: May 11, 2012
Directed by: Tim Burton
Screenplay by: Seth Grahame-Smith
Story by: John August and Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on the television series created by: Dan Curtis
Cast: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz
Running Time: 113 minutes
Tim Burton’s film opens with a thick fog enveloping a centuries-old British harbor. The protagonist’s beloved family has been destroyed, victims of an interloper. The protagonist, imprisoned by that same interloper, is finally freed of his shackles and hopes to exact revenge. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star, with Bonham Carter playing a character who finds herself experiencing an unrequited crush. And Johnny Depp, sporting a pasty face and moody temperament, yearns for the true love he lost eons ago.
Given that Mr. Burton rarely undertakes sequels (the one exception is 1989′s Batman, followed by 1992′s Batman Returns), then no, this film is not a second look at 2007′s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Other than a guest solo provided by Alice Cooper, the characters don’t sing. Instead of a soundtrack furnished by the brilliant Stephen Sondheim, we get tunes from the likes of Mr. Cooper, The Moody Blues, Donovan and The Carpenters. And Depp himself plays a fish out of water or, rather, a corpse out of box, reawakening after nearly two centuries from a nice long dirt nap. Welcome to the comical, Edward Gorey-esque dark, Dark Shadows.
Burton sketches in the back story with a series of economical sequences: The wealthy Collins family, having made their fortune from a fishing empire, set sail in 1750 for America, intent on building up a coastal Maine seaport that they name Collinsport. Two decades later, with the town thriving and the Collins’ enjoying their vast fortune, their young son Barnabas has grown into an educated, dashing playboy (Depp). While he loves Josette (Bella Heathcote) and intends to marry her, he dallies with housemaid Angelique (Eva Green). A wrong dally, if ever there was one. Angelique just so happens to be a witch, and will have none of it. She puts a spell on Josette, and turns Barnabas into a vampire. Worse, since he continues to spurn her, Angelique entombs him alive.
Flash forward, Barnabas’ coffin is discovered during an excavation, the hapless workers open it and surprise! out pops Johnny-in-the-Box.
[for the full review and Kimberly's to-die-for rating, please click here]