Sleepy Hollow
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Sleepy Hollow

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Every so often in movies a team of people create something special. This was the case with Edward Scissorshands. Actor Johnny Depp, director Tim Burton and musical composer Danny Elfman created pure magic. This team tries it again in Sleepy Hollow. They miss the mark a bit but still the results are worthwhile. The story follows Constable Icabod Crane (Johhny Depp) from New York City in 1799. He is fascinated with forensic investigation much to the chagrin of his superiors. Crane is sent to a small, upstate town, Sleepy Hollow to test his new ways to solve a series of brutal decapitation murders. At first he is sure the murders are not supernatural as the townsfolk believe, that they must have a mortal basis. He meets the daughter of the town’s leading citizen, Katrina Va Tassel (Christina Ricci). As it turns out she dabbles in white magic. He also takes one victim’s orphaned son young Masbath (Marc Pickering) who plays the Homes to the Sherlock like Crane. As the investigation progresses Crane is drawn more and more into a world that lives in the shadows. He also is forced to confront dark secretes in his own youth.

The cast passes with flying colors but not without some notable flaws. Depp is given more of a character to play here than he had in Scissorshands but he does less with it. Crane is the protagonist and comic relief all at the same time. He presents Crane as a man of science that is too squeamish to look at the bloody bodies without fainting. Once was funny but several times in the film was a distraction. Still, Depp creates a character of dimension that can and does help carry the story. Ricci is under utilized in this film. She is a fantastic actor that is used here to fill in the plot and basically look good in the tight bodice dresses. She spots blonde hair here which gives her a lighter attitude than many of her films. Then there is Christopher Walken as the horseman. With sharpened teeth he appears at the beginning and again at the end looking terrifying without a single line of dialogue. The actors are talented but the film lacks something necessary to show off the talent.

Director Tim Burton is the king of the macabre, gothic film. He uses the traits that have made his other films so successful but the magic seems to have been on holiday. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good film but it could have been great. The producer for this film was none other than Francis Ford Coppola and perhaps it was some behind the scene differences between these two talented men that took away from the film. Whatever it was it is noticeable. Danny Elfman did the musical score. Once again he creates a moody, dark undertone to the film. He depends heavily on the Vox Humana as he does in all his scores to make a spooky undercurrent to the film’s gothic nature.

The disc is up to standards. The anamorphic, 1.85:1 video is clear even in the numerous dark scenes. The surround field is a bit underused with the rear speakers is silent too often. The sub woofer is used a bit more than the average film, mostly to add an undertone to compliment the feeling of dread. The director’s commentary is fairly interesting but didn’t keep me switching back to it as others have. If you are a fan of Burton get the film.

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