A spin-off on the TV show that went by the same name and which aired on the ABC network during the late 60s, Burtons version of the then-inventive series is overtly theatrical without an engaging narrative. Better known for his gloriously decorative aesthetic sensibilities, the film leaves no grievances on its imagery but it is the underdeveloped and largely uninteresting characters who come in together to make a melodrama which is both tedious and terrible.
Although the premise holds a lot of potential it centers on a distant relative from over two centuries of the Collins family who was cursed to be a vampire and inevitably never died. He has been transported to the highly translational decade of the 70s where he must befriend hippies (and kill them), learn how a ceremonial ball has been replaced by happenings, and also adapt to the revolutionary social and cultural changes that have transpired over two hundred years.
This, in its very own, is substantial material for a spoof-movie but the disappointingly extended treatment of Shadows ensures that our notions are destroyed when you notice that the film barely flips through its massive comedic capability, while rather going in an extensive melodrama of a jilted witch, a traumatized child, a rebellious werewolf and of course, the youthful vampire who hasnt given up on love.
Amidst all of this, there is a deliberately attached plot about the familys ancestral fishing business which is down and-out and which, we are to believe, Barnabas Collins (Depp) will revive through powers of seduction and hypnotism.
Firmly under the skin of hilariously eccentric characters that he has mastered, Depp renders the film a definite amount of credibility and revels in his performance as the blood-sucker who actually has his roots in Old England with a polished, Victorian way of communicating. He talks with sophisticated lyricism, and counters popular culture with a conservative logic that seems to come out quite rationally from him.
Also the fact that he is able to tempt as many as three women with his time-honored charms even in that grotesque get-up makes gives the character a flamboyance, the wit of which you want to see reach ballistic levels . Rather than that, it is restricted to a lot of set-piece breaking and forcefully stretched moral complexities which do not appeal as universally as the makers would like to believe.
An inventively borrowed concept, Shadows fails in its film translation, primarily because its wit is one-dimensional as the other characters speak in uninspired colloquial speech, leading to frequent spasms of boredom.
Whats the point in getting inside the dark room when youd find yourself cursing the darkness?
For Warner Brothers we can only wait and breathlessly so till July, for The Shadow that will Rise and which also will truly hypnotize.