Tim Burton directs this comedy adaptation of the cult gothic-horror TV series (which ran from 1966-1971). Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Moretz. Click here for movie times.
Whilst not quite the triumph we might have been hoping for, this lushly produced gothic comedy is director Tim Burton’s best film since 2003’s Big Fish.
Depp, who was so annoying in Alice and Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Burton’s worst films if you take Planet of the Apes out of the picture) is no less affected in his performance here, but for some reason it just works.
I recoiled when I saw the scene of him trying to find the little people in the television, in the trailer, but it’s his character’s lack of familiarity with the modern era (well, 1972) that provides most of the film’s best jokes. The hippy scene alone is worth the price of admission.
Re-teaming with his old collaborator, production designer Rick Heinrichs, proves to be a great move for Burton and the look of the film evokes the best parts of Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands and Mars Attacks!
Helena Bonham Carter has the coolest look, but Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloë Grace Moretz have more to do, and they’re both excellent. Eva Green stomps around with too much lipstick on, but seems to be having a lot of fun as the baddie, while former Neighbours star Bella Heathcote steps up in a major way to play the love interest. Her enormous eyes bode well for her future career.
The plot feels a tad directionless, but the baroque proceedings always held my interest throughout. I like that Burton is looking to his past for inspiration here, but he has a way to go to reclaim his status as mainstream Hollywood’s boldest visual filmmaker.