Director Tim Burton and movie star Johnny Depp may be middle-aged men but their movies indicate they have the souls of teenagers. Burton and Depp’s film collaborations share a purpose with adolescence itself: finding one’s place in the world despite feeling like an outcast. Dark Shadows, the duo’s eighth film together, is about an 18th century vampire who suddenly finds himself waking up in the 1970s. The PG-13 film’s campy goth elements will likely appeal to teens but the film does take place in the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll "me" era and the combo doesn’t make it a good choice for younger children. However, Burton and Depp have three PG movies younger ones can enjoy.
Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton’s live-action version of the Lewis Carroll classic ups the fantasy elements while somehow making all the characters seem grounded in reality, especially Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter who is courageous, loyal and completely bonkers. Alice is a strong female character who reveals that one’s “muchness” is staying true to one’s convictions, not those society pushes upon her.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Burton and Depp love to make the audience understand the misunderstood. Their version of the beloved Roald Doahl children’s book focuses on why Willy Wonka is so weird, all set in a child’s colorful, candy-coated dream world.
The Corpse Bride. Only Tim Burton could pull a man into the underworld the night before his wedding and turn it into a sweet yet grotesque stop-motion animation love story.
Go behind the scenes as the cast of Dark Shadows talks about the chemistry between Burton and Depp.
What else should you see in the theater this week? How about…
Girl in Progress. Resentful of her single mother’s neglect, a smart tween sets out to grow up quickly by hitting all the marks of a coming-of-age story. The film should be titled Mom in Progress and is a must-see for mothers.
The Avengers. A superhero film for the entire family, The Avengers balances humor with non-stop action and comic book violence that is believable but in no way realistic.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits. A fun comedy about an inept Pirate Captain desperate to win the Pirate of the Year Award whose chances are affected by a nerdy Charles Darwin, a villainous Queen Victoria and a literate “manpanzee.”