Discount-theater debuts this week include an adventure from Aardman Animation, and a misadventure from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. ---
The latter is the frequent collaborators' adaptation of the 1960s-1970s TV serial Dark Shadows, with Depp playing the vampire Barnabas Collins who's awakened from centuries in his coffin to experience the world of 1972. What follows is an awkward, ineffective mix of broad fish-out-of-water comedy, Gothic style and over-the-top supernatural action, almost none of which works. By the time it collapses under the weight of its special-effects-heavy climax, it's hard to look forward to another Burton/Depp joint.
Far more engaging is The Pirates! Band of Misfits, with the clay-animation masters at Aardman adapting the first in Gideon Defoe's book series about a ship of pirating fools. Full of terrific detail, like all of Aardman's efforts, it's also a more enjoyable adventure than most of what comes hurtling at us in live-action/digital effects from theater screens.