I didn't think this looked very good at all until I saw the trailer for it this week. The trailer, if true to the film, suggests a delightfully quirky and comedic romp, rather than an attempt to do straight drama. Putting it in the 70's was inspired. This will no doubt tick off the fans of the original, but increase the general audience. It has very much of a "Beetlejuice" feeling to it.
I dimly remember the original.
As a small child, my mom would put us down for an afternoon nap and tune the show in. I would pretend to sleep, then sneak to the bedroom door and steal glimpses of the show from across the room. The thermin music was super-creepy. Johnathan Frid was scary as hell to someone about 6 years old, and what I remember is a disembodied hand jumping out of a box and locking itself onto Frid's chest as if to squeeze his heart right thru the ribcage...
Mom heard my scream, and that was it for peek-a-boo time.
I've set my minimum rotten tomatoes rating for actually trusting a Tim Burton movie enough again to watch it at 85%. This looks like it will be in the 60% area. I won't go by audience rating/box office, because audiences made Alice in Wonderland hit a billion dollars worldwide. Meanwhile, almost nobody saw 50/50 or Drive.
Instead of a Beetlejuice kind of comedic romp, this feels to me like the Brady Bunch movie - knowing anachronisms, meta whateva, a joke that can only carry the first half of the movie.
I really loved Sleepy Hollow, and think Burton might have peaked there for my tastes. I think the mix of comedy and goth was just about right for Dark Shadows and I'm sorry he didn't take that to the next level.
Planet of the Apes was a disaster, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was only a little better, but I wonder if these might be why he's taking such a left field approach to a remake -- why try to hew relatively close to the original when you can blow it up? I like the general idea....but still, it looks like (and I mean LOOKS LIKE, in just about every way) The Brady Bunch Movie, but I like the idea of Gary Cole as Mike Brady more than Johnny Depp (who I adore) as Barnabas Collins (adore Frid too).
Ebert's review of DS is not kind, and I tend to trust him. I would totally go see the movie if it was exactly like the trailer, which is brilliant. Ebert seems to say that's not really the case for the actual film.
From io9.com, not necessarily authoritative, but in this case, kinda persuasive....
“Many people will probably say that the problem with Dark Shadows is that it can't decide if it's a comedy, or a gothic weirdfest. They are missing the point. It is neither. The "humor" in this movie is an anesthetic. The "weirdness" is a needle. Neither is an end in itself, something you'll only realize as the last of your vital essence is drawn out of you.
Once you're properly drained, you will know first hand what it is to be a vampire. The slowness of eternity, the clawing hunger for something — anything — to warm your dead insides. By then, it will be too late, and your emptied husk will stagger out of the theater.“
I think you can expect the Frankenweenie full length film (or as I like to call it: the movie where Tim Burton "Burtons" Tim Burton) to not be that great either. I saw the trailer a week ago before Avengers, and it looked pretty spread thin. It's Burton's first time writing a film since A Nightmare Before Christmas. I'm sure that will go over well... He *needs* to do something new and different. Hey, remember Big Fish? That sure was great...
If I ever pay to see a Tim Burton movie again, he needs to stop taking a previous entity; adding heavy eye-liner and curvy trees, painting everything black, and (I love a lot of Danny Elfman's stuff, but) stop using the quirky-bouncy Elfman scores. I guess some would consider him an auteur (even though he may just be ripping off other sources), since you could look at a frame of any of his movies and immediately tell it's a Tim Burton movie. But at this point, I'd like to see Burton try something completely out of left field, like directing a boxing movie or something. Something that doesn't look like the merchandise will be sold at Hot Topic.