Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Film Review: Dark Shadows

WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

Okay, I want to start off by saying, I don't know what all those critics are complaining about. Dark Shadows is by no means a bad film. Admittedly its got its fair share of flaws, but what film doesn't. I can certainly think of more films with problems than films without (the Twilight Saga springs instantly to mind).

But, we're not here to talk about Twilight, we're here to talk about Dark Shadows.

Starting with the cast, Johnny Depp was amazing as he so often is as Barnabas Collins. I can only think of one film that he stars in that I didn't like. Helena Bonham Carter didn't appear or have as significant a role as I thought she would playing the drunk psychologist Julia Hoffman. But I'll get to that in some more detail later. Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, not a big fan of her, but I guess if you don't like the antagonist, they're doing their job right, so kudos. I guess time heals all wounds doesn't apply in this case.

And the prize for biggest reversal of opinion in this film goes to Chloe Moretz as Carolyn. For most of the movie, I didn't like her, I don't know, her character just didn't seem to fit the time period that well. But then, at the climax, she instantly came very close to being my favourite character in the movie. Attitude problem + werewolf = hell yes in my book. At least in this case.

As for some of the more minor characters, or at least minor actors. Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, I was a bit 50-50 with her. If I remember correctly, she was the first character you see after the prologue, which in most films, identifies someone as a main character. But after the introductory arc, she barely ever appears which made it a lot harder to set up the romance between her and Barnabas (but for the most part, they still pulled it off). On the other hand, I loved her back story. Jackie Haley as Willie Loomis, probably the funniest character, besides perhaps the lead. Gulliver McGrath as David, fantastic. Michelle Pfeiffer, another good one. At first I thought she was going to be the good one that turns bad after she saw the fortune in the basement but no, she stayed loyal. Like I said, I liked her. And my absolute least favourite character in the entire movie, Roger Collins played by Jonny Lee Miller. Asshole, plain and simple.

Now for the movie itself. There's only a couple of especially good scenes that I want to point out here and the bad points that I've got probably outnumber the good. That doesn't mean there's more bad stuff than good stuff in the film, it just means that I haven't got the time or space to talk about every good scene. So just assume that everything I don't talk about here, I liked, okay?

The big climactic fight scene at the end, great. Especially the revelation of Carolyn as a werewolf and the paintings leaking blood. I liked everything about the fight scene but those two parts especially. Right after Barnabas gets released from his coffin the first time, particularly when he attacks the last guy but apologises in advance. I guess the 'taking back control' montage was pretty good too. It's been a few days since I saw it so I don't remember everything.

And now for the downsides. Mostly these are just what I consider plot holes. The main one, at the end after Victoria has jumped off the cliff and Barnabas has gone after her. Once he bit her, why didn't he try to turn them around so he landed first? Barnabas obviously wouldn't have died and Victoria might have survived cos she had another body to cushion her fall. And the curse never specified that the victim had to die, just that they had to jump off so she probably wouldn't have tried to do it again. On a related note, why was the curse still active after Angelique was dead? Still linked up, the porcelain body and crystal heart thing seemed a bit daft to me. Wasn't a big fan of the sex / fight scene. I think this is the last one, why didn't Angelique lock the coffin the second time around? Sure Barnabas couldn't move so there was no chance of him getting himself out and it was unlikely that anyone was going to go looking for him but still, if she was trying to trap him a second time, you're going to take extra precautions right?

I think that's about all I've got to say on Dark Shadows. If I forgot anything, too bad. But I have one final point.

This film definitely hinted at a sequel to me. The very end of the film when you see Hoffman's eyes open underwater? A definite cliffhanger. Okay it was always obvious she was still alive, or undead or whatever, as you saw her fangs when Barnabas killed her. But honestly, as much as I enjoyed the film, I hope there isn't a sequel. Dark Shadows is perfectly fine as a stand-alone movie.

Sure it's not quite as good as the only other film I've seen recently, Avengers Assemble but that should be pretty obvious. Avengers was amazing. Dark Shadows is good. I can recommend it but the film probably isn't for everyone. Definitely a niche movie. But it was certainly good enough to cause my friend to be a complete fangirl for it.

And that... is all I have to say.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Time Flies

Well, just like I said in the title, time sure flies. I didn't even realise but it's been five years and one day since I stood down from secondary school (and five years exactly since the first time I saw Bryan Adams play live). And now I think about it, a lot has changed, not just in the general community but to me personally.

Of course, even though I stood down as a school student on May 11th 2007, I still had plenty of exams to go, prom in July and exam results in August. They weren't bad if I remember correctly. And then... I was straight off to college in York. I seem to remember wanting to burn my school uniform and text books the day that I finished my final exam. Literally set them on fire.

But like I said, I've changed a lot in the last five years, mostly for the better although some changes haven't been easy. I guess one of the best things is that, at college and uni, people are actually mature enough to not resort to bullying.

Man, writing this is harder than I thought. I don't know if some of the stuff I say is gonna sound zetta corny.

Stuff it, I made this blog to say what I really think and feel so here goes.

I will say that, through college and especially university, I've made some of the best friends I've ever had or will ever have. I keep in touch with people from school and I still care about them just as much as the friends I've made since then. But, as my mother always told me, the friends you make at university are the ones you keep for the rest of your life.

At the risk of going a little over-board a good deal of my friends feel as close as family to me. And right now, I'm kinda getting scared that, now I'm coming towards the end of the educational career, I may never hear from some of them again. I really hope that won't turn out to be true but it's still a genuine fear I have.

As for me as an individual, I know I have changed but it's hard to say how. I guess I've become much more of a tomboy in the last half decade (a tomboy, not an actual boy, so many people confuse the two). I have my hair so short these days that it's shorter than most of my male friends, no exaggeration. I guess I'm more confident than I used to be but I still keep quiet unless there's actually something I want to say.

Wrapping up, I guess more has changed in the last five years than I realised until I actually thought about it. But the things that have changed, some of the admitted screw-ups I've made. I would not change those for anything. I find it scary to think about how different my life would be if I hadn't made the choices I did. Say, if I'd left college after 2 years instead of 3. I might not have ended up at the university I did, and made those amazing friends.

Who knows what my life will be like five years from now? Certainly not me.

Assuming the Mayan's prediction doesn't come true in December that is.

But I look forward to finding out.