The curse of the headless horseman is the legacy of the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Spearheaded by the eager Constable Ichabod Crane and his new world ways into the quagmire of secrets and murder, secrets once laid to rest, best forgotten and now reawakened, and he too, holding a dark secret of a past once gone.Written by
The opening credits - shown over Ichabod's travel to Sleepy Hollow - interact with the landscape: if Ichabod's coach is near a river, the words are reflected on the surface of the water; if he's in a forest the letters drift away like dead leaves, and so on. See more »
Having seen Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, as well as knowing about other Tim Burton films (Nightmare Before Christmas, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Mars Attacks, etc.), you'd think going into a film such as this that not much could really put you off. Wrong. Despite how I rate it, this film is entirely watchable...maybe even two or three times compared to some other films out there. But, to me, it falls short on several fronts.
First, I'm a big-time reader and I thoroughly enjoyed Washington Irving's short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." So I was disappointed in that this film made more or less no attempt whatsoever to follow that story. In Irving's story, Ichabod Crane moves to the area and is a school teacher. In this movie, he is a constable sent from New York to investigate three murders by decapitation.
Second, part of the allure of the short story is Crane's infatuation with Katrina Van Tassel and the friction this causes between him and Katrina's would-be lover "Brom Bones" (Abraham van Brunt). The story alludes to the fact that perhaps the headless horseman is indeed Brom Bones scaring Crane (the Disney cartoon actually hints at this as well); the movie allows no such character interplay.
Third, the whole point of this movie seems to be the mindless decapitation of people. And there is a lot of it. A LOT. Men, women, and one child (though the child's decapitation takes place, thankfully, off-screen). And it is gory. Not a whole lot of blood, but plenty of flesh. If you're squeamish at all, that's a good enough reason to avoid this film.
Fourth, the evil character's recitation of motivation (a staple among Saturday morning cartoons from 20 years ago, but grossly out of place in a 21st Century movie) at the film's end is drivel. It could have been shortened, "figured out," and almost entirely left out -- although it did allow for one more beheading on camera. Whopee.
Fifth, the script (and acting) is pretty poor. Now, I like Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) and I think the guy is great at playing unusual characters, but his performance here reminds me of an Al Gore speech. Because he's done so much so well, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and just blame the script. In fact, you can pretty much blame the script for the whole movie.
Not all is bad in this film. The swordplay by the horseman is excellent. The special effects are pretty well done (some are meant to make you laugh, but just come across as cheesy). And there is the neat bow-tie at the end as the villain gets it and the good guy goes home happy. Again, it's entirely watchable, just not that good.
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