New York detective Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in which the victims are found beheaded. Locals believe the culprit to be none other than the legendary Headless Horseman.
et us get this over with right away. I do not think Johnny Depp was the right person for playing Ichabod Crane. Maybe I am too influenced by seeing him in Pirates of The Caribbean but I just do not think he was the right person for this role. He really did not work for me. He is to whimsical and gesticulating to be taken seriously as a scientifically inclined crime investigator as far as I am concerned. Too bad since the story itself and the movie was quite promising. As is often the case with Tim Burton’s work the movie has quite dark tone which I quite like. The various scruffy and suspicious characters that Ichabod meets right away as he enters the village inn fits right into the eerie atmosphere. Unfortunately Ichabod’s inclination for science clashes with the rest of the story which is undoubtedly supernatural. It makes the movie not really have a distinct direction but instead waddle with one foot in each camp. I would have preferred if the movie either had gone all science and in the end Ichabod had exposed an evil but perfectly human adversary by scientific means or if it had gone all supernatural and Ichabod was an adept at exposing (exorcising) supernatural beings rather than a scientist. Having said that, the movie was still a decent enough evening flick and fairly enjoyable. The footage and scenery are well done as one would expect from Tim Burton. It is not exactly a special effects loaded movie but what is there is fairly okay, at least for a movie from 1999.
It is you, Ichabod Crane, who is now put to the test. Sleepy Hollow is directed by Tim Burton and co-adapted to screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker and Kevin Yagher from the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving. It stars Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Marc Pickering, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones and Casper Van Dien. Music is scored by Danny Elfman and cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. 1799 New York, and Ichabod Crane, a timid but forward thinking detective, is sent to the way out village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a number of decapitations. A perfect match of director and actor to the source material, Sleepy Hollow unfolds as a fun filled creeper of such visual and aural pleasures, it's a wonder nobody thought to put the combination together earlier than 1999. Story is familiar, though with a few changes, and although some of the comedy ends up a bit sillier than is tonally appropriate (really, Ichabod, stop pushing the effeminate angle to breaking point), film runs along at a fair old clip and never wants for period devilment. It's never really scary when Walken's headless horseman isn't part of the scene, but it's very unlikely that Burton or Depp were aiming to soil underwear anyway. More a case of charming you whilst caressing the tingler on your spine. A case of style of substance? Yes, to a degree, but the source story still comes through the lavish eye candy painting to reveal itself proudly. Burton had created a world of Gothic mysticism, a blend of Hammer horror values and Brothers Grimm bad dreams, a land of swirling mists and tall shadows, where black, red and purple are essential colours. From the quaint duck pond in the centre of the village, to a creaky old windmill, there are visual treats galore here - which are enhanced magnificently by Elfman's foreboding rumbles. Costuming is first rate (Colleen Atwood), as is Lubezki's colour lensing and Rick Heinrich's production design. The cast are led superbly by Depp and appear to be pitching performances at just the right tone, such is the director's want. Although Ricci is sadly underused in a key role, and we could have done with more Richardson since she is wonderfully catty and yummy in equal measure. But with bona fide thespian quality in the support ranks (joining Gambon and Jones are Michael Gough, Ian McDiarmid and Richard Griffiths), picture never falls short of scene enhancers. Period peril with a glint in its eye, Sleepy Hollow is a delightful nights entertainment by the fire. 8/10
Decent watch, might watch again, and can recommend. While Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci do carry quite a bit of the movie, there is quite a lot else going on here. The horseman does tend to dominate much of this story as the original does. I don't feel there was much to the original fable of the Headless Horseman so pretty much any take you do on it seems fine: though maybe an Easter Bunny version would push some boundaries. This is about as weird, but more because it has to create a weird atmosphere, then add Depp doing weirder stuff than the weird people can handle, despite believing in ghosts which he all but fights with them about. Ichabod Crane being a smart, if cowardly, constable is interesting as he literally has the "hero" role painted on him. This is surprisingly more of a mystery than any other type of movie. The action is usually intense and brief when it happens, and much of the movie is spent looking for rational explanations until ocom's razor wins out. This is a good movie and a decent mystery, but I do feel it's just awkward in too many cases for most people to be on board. I expect Headless Horsemen and mystery fans to enjoy this though.
_**Great Spooky Flick for the Fall Season!**_ "Sleepy Hollow" is Tim Burton's stylish 1999 take on Washington Irving's classic tale about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman starring Johnny Depp as Crane and Christopher Walken as the Hessian horseman. The story is set in 1799 and involves Crane, a constable from New York City, going to the Dutch hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of gruesome murders where the victims are decapitated. Whether you like Burton's films or not, who can deny his talent for visuals and overall production? This guy knows how to make a film LOOK good, that's for sure. As for Depp, he portrays sleuth Ichabod in a very human manner, e.g. he's afraid of spiders and amusingly passes out on occasion. There are four things that really impress me about this picture besides Depp: (1) I love the spooky Fall atmosphere; it obviously takes place sometime in gloomy November. (2) I always thought the concept of the headless horseman was insipid, but "Sleepy Hollow" depicts him (it) in such a horrific/supernatural fashion that he's actually scary, not to mention skilled with weaponry and virtually unstoppable. I wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley, or anywhere else for that matter! (3) Miranda Richardson was almost 41 at the time of filming, but -- man -- is she gorgeous! Nuff said. Christina Ricci also looks great and so does Claire Skinner in a small role. (4) "Sleepy Hollow" lacks the goofy vibe that some of Burton's films possess; the material is presented in a respectable, generally serious manner, albeit not as ultra-serious as, say, Hammer horror. Speaking of which, "Sleepy Hollow" strikes me as a modern Hammer film more than anything else. Perhaps that's why Burton gave Christopher Lee a cameo. Needless to say, if you love Hammer (and who doesn't?) you'll appreciate "Sleepy Hollow." The last half hour or so is packed with action so if your attention starts wandering, don't worry, it picks up big time. The plot's a whodunit and it gets kinda convoluted so you'll need to pay attention (or rewatch it). Not that you HAVE to because "Sleepy Hollow" is such a cinematic feast you can enjoy it even if the complications of the plot lose you. There's nothing else to say except to re-emphasize that "Sleepy Hollow" is definitely the ideal spooky flick for the autumn, or any time really. The film runs 105 minutes and was shot entirely in England with studio stuff done in Yonkers, New York. GRADE: A-/A
Well, it has a great cast, and they all do a great job. But, it's really Tim declaring to the world that he is too lazy to read...again. Much like he was with Batman and absolutely every other adaptation that he's made. I had a girlfriend when I was an undergrad that absolutely totally loved a lot of books...but only ever actually read "The Mists of Avalon."...she was an art major too. So, it turns into Tim Burton "artistically reinterpreting" something that he has never read and thus really doesn't know how to interpret in the first place.