For the past few years, the quality of Tim Burton's films has steadily been declining. Sure there's been some bright spots (Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd) but mainly Burton has been making his films more style over substance culminating in the career low of last years, Alice in Wonderland. But next year, it looks like Burton is going back to basics with a feature length remake of his second short film, Frankenweenie, and his big film next year, Dark Shadows. Today, the first official picture of the film was released which is shown below, followed by my thoughts on the picture and the film in general.
There is a very specific type of Burton that I'm reminded off with this picture, 90's Burton. As any film fan will know, the 90's provided the peak in Burton's directorial style, headed by Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood with dark imagery and plot, mixed with inspired moments of comedy. This picture reminds me of why I like Burton, for taking ideas that wouldn't really work for a film, in this case a film based off of a 1970's soap opera about vampires, and injecting them with his own signature style. Plus, like his films of the 90's, Burton has lined up a fantastic cast reuniting with Johnny Depp (of course), Helena Bonham Carter (of course, again) and Michelle Pfeiffer (who I haven't seen in a film since Stardust in 2007) alongside some newcomers to the Burton universe, Eva Green (who really should have had so many more film roles than she has after Casino Royale), Jackie Earle Haley (continuing the greatest comeback of any actor in the past few years), Johnny Lee Miller (who's performance in this should introduce more people to Trainspotting) and Chloe Grace Moretz (who is continuing her transformation into Natalie Portman, seriously look at the filmography's of Moretz and Portman, in terms of film tones and directors, they're damn near identical). This limited, but excellent cast reminds me of the casting decisions of Burton in the 90's, look at Ed Wood, there are a total of 7 actors whose work I recognise and it's considered by many, including me, to be Burton's finest film. Compare this to Alice in Wonderland with 15 recognisable actors, with Burton, he works better when his cast is limited, it worked with Ed Wood and I'm sure it'll work wonders for Dark Shadows. So I'm hopeful that Dark Shadows will signal the return of Tim Burton to greatness and who knows, it may get him the Oscar nomination he should have gotten for Ed Wood.
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