Sleepy Hollow (1999) Review
Written by: Zomboy
In my opinion, I don’t think that Tim Burton has ever made a “bad” movie; but by no means does that mean that they are all great (Willy Wonka, anybody?). Half of his flicks are only fair, and Sleepy Hollow seems to fall into that category.
It follows Ichabod Crane, played by Depp, who is a struggling detective in 1700’s New York. Struggling that is, because he only makes things complicated for the justice system by using logic to convict criminals, instead of lumping everybody into the group of people headed for prison/execution. So the head magistrate (the great Chris Lee) gives him one last chance to prove himself (apparently he’s failed at most of his cases) by assigning him solve a string of murders in a small farming town, Sleepy Hollow, where all of the murder victims were decapitated and then their heads were consequently stolen. As Ichabod soon discovers, there is a legend of a murderous horseman from the war, who was killed (decapitated, mind you) and buried in the woods near the town. Now the town says he has returned to avenge his death.
Now there are many upsides to the film. The colonial small town setting is creepy, and is only accentuated by Burton’s familiar semi sepia-toned coloring of the movie. And when the blood flows, he is able to accentuate the striking red by the lack of color around it which he definitely used to his advantage later in his career (Sweeney Todd). Depp acts well as he always does, playing his character with that quirky air about him as all of his characters seem to have. The story is intriguing, and carries itself nicely throughout the movie, though at times the plot twists make it a bit hard to follow.
One big issue with this one, is that Burton really managed to ruin most all of the tension in the movie. When ever it feels as if it is getting scary, he throws in the extremely prominent, kung-fu horseman! I mean he fights literally like some sort of kung-fu master. Is that scary? I guess he thought so. I really think the movie would have played out better had he taken the “Jaws” route. The less he showed the horseman, the creepier he would have become. He could have hidden him in Mist when he attacked the people or something; that would have fit great into the movie. But unfortunately he is shown so often, eventually he feels just like another normal human character, and that kind of sucks. Also, it displays crappy and unnecessary CGI. Whenever some good makeup would have done great, he has to throw in the digital eyes popping out of the head, and long snake tongue shooting out. It doesn’t even look realistic! Damn computers…
But the movie itself really isn’t that bad, it just gets annoying at times. And if you are a Burton fan (or not) you should give it a watch, because more likely than not, you will enjoy it.