Saturday, September 29, 2012
Dark Shadows, or: How Eva Green and Co Went Crazy (Over Nothing)
Once upon a time, I used to be in love with Eva Green. Okay, maybe I pretended to be. You see, when I was 11 (jeez, it is hard to believe that I was once that young), I had a HUGE crush on Daniel Craig. And I hadn't even seen Casino Royale until I'd been 'in love' with him for at least three months. Anyway, through this mini obsession I also decided that I would be obsessed with Eva Green.
And how could you not be? She's insanely beautiful.
Admittedly, I haven't seen that many of her films. I haven't seen The Dreamers, even though I've promised myself all these years that I would. But I have been impressed with her work in Casino Royale, Perfect Sense and even The Golden Compass, to a degree. But then there's Dark Shadows.
Her performance in Dark Shadows is like this whole other beast. In fact, the entire movie is.
So she plays Angelique Bouchard, a witch who was jousted by Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) back in the 1700s and made him into a vampire to suffer forever. The guy wakes up in the 1970s, and then he finds out that Angelique is still around, causing all sorts of witchy havoc. Witchy havoc which includes, well...I'm not actually sure. She likes to burn stuff down, yell a lot, bulge her eyes at inappropriate moments. And there's the weirdest sex scene I never knew I needed to see. Now, I have watched four seasons of True Blood, so I am no stranger to the mysterious world of vampire sex. But wow...Eva Green really went for it in this one. I would say that Johnny Depp did too, but he didn't look bothered either way. There was flying around the room. There were weird shots. There was a red snake tongue. While I had my head buried in my hands, somehow Eva Green got even more crazy.
Okay, maybe I'm being harsh on Eva Green. I remember when that awful trailer came out and everyone was posting gifs on their Tumblrs to show their appreciation for the minute or so of footage they'd seen of Angelique Bouchard. I admit, Eva looked like she was doing good. But then you see the movie, and she's just too much. It is nice to see an actress going all out, but the problem is that there's not really enough development behind her character to justify how batshit crazy she is. She's just taking the jealous ex-lover to an extreme level. A level so extreme that it can't even be justified by the fact she's a witch.
However, Eva Green isn't the only one in Dark Shadows who is over the top. There's the case of Chloe Moretz. I'm neither here nor there on the girl. She's like, a year younger than me and has managed to be in movies with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Chastain (fun fact: Jessica actually played Chloe's role in a made-for-TV version of Dark Shadows a few years back) and Mark Strong, so yeah, I'd say she's doing pretty well. Dark Shadows shows exactly why most people shy away from these child stars. Chloe plays Carolyn, the teen daughter who is, well, everything you stereotypers can list about your perception of teenagers. The problem is that Chloe is a teenager, which worries me about what she really thinks teenagers are like. I mean, I don't even know what to say about her performance - it is like she's on drugs (don't even get me started on the 'twist'...). Which I suppose they kinda all were back in the 1970s, but case in point, Dark Shadows is a big mess of good actors being given stereotypes and told to go wild. And the problem is, they do. They go absolutely insane on making everything so over-the-top that they lose sight of what actually makes for a good movie. And yet, this has to be one of the most tame films that I've seen from Tim Burton. Which is partly due to the fact that the film is not sure of what it wants to be.
It wants to be a family film. Sticks in a weird sex scene a la True Blood but double the weirdeness.
It wants to be a comedy. Makes it into a big family melodrama.
It wants to be a drama. Still tries to make jokes. That are usually not all that funny.
It wants to be a horror. The 'evil' person is way too insane to be scary.
It wants to be a Tim Burton movie. So it has Helena Bonham Carter in it for like, five minutes so it can be justified as that.
At the end of the day, it had a nice soundtrack. And Michelle Pfeiffer. Who is the only one who seems to keep herself on the ground.
What did you think of Dark Shadows? Did you love or loathe Eva Green? Was Chloe Moretz the perfect teenager?