Well, Segue Zagnut it is I, FATHER GEEK who intercepted your message an posted here for geeks the world over to read and no doubt debate over...
Hay, Father Geek or Harry or the Evil one... who knows which one of you freaks is going to put this up. It was great to see you Harry. I had a lot of fun. I can't wait for the b-day bash. BUTTNUMBATHON!!!!!!!! Here is my review. See you guys on December 11th in Austin.
This is Segue Zagnut. When AICN first started covering Sleepy Hollow, Tim Burton's new film with Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, I thought the best news was Andrew Kevin Walker (the writer of Seven) had reinvented Ichabod character completely. Then I was blow away by the trailer. I hung out at the Labs until I could blackmail a henchman to slip me the script. The script was gold. A gothic horror film that read like a supernatural terminator. The fantasy of the original story, the spirit of simpleton innocence was gone. None of the silly images of a frighten Ichabod panic stricken by a fiery jack-o-lantern remained. Ever since, my anticipation has been growing. Until, last night, when I saw Sleepy Hollow... and it was not that movie. What's amazing is...
It was better.
Burton and Depp, put the innocence and fantasy back in and they didn't ruin it. Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween Masterpiece. An R-rated family film that sweeps you through a fantastic horror fantasy. This is the movie Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula wanted to be.
SPOILERS AHEAD... BEWARE LOOSING YOUR HEAD
(Minor Spoilers) The Ichabod (Depp) in this film is a classically drawn character in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes or Indiana Jones. With the depth of a tortured past laid out in flashbacks of his Mother's wrongful persecution for witchcraft, to his unrelenting belief that science will save them from evil, Ichabod's motives are drawn in broad lines that we can all understand. A hero of resolve and purpose if not skill, Ichabod falls into many of the answers accidentally. He asks the right questions then deducts the wrong solution until proven otherwise. Ichabod is afraid of spiders or Katrina Van Tessal's (Ricci) sexuality, because he fears the real world. Magic and superstitions aren't scary because they don't exist in science. It can always be explained making him perfect as a supernatural investigator.. until he actually meets the Headless Horseman. Ichabod is reduced to a simpering baby after he sees the horseman in the flesh. But ultimately, Ichabod's greatest charm is his innocent acceptance of his mistakes and his ability to adapt with a new solution. There is even some room for a simple, virtually platonic, love story that completes the imperfect hero persona of Ichabod's character. Depp plays him beautifully.
Burton has been an uneven filmmaker so far. Edward Sissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas both were wonderfully wicked fantasies that lacked a completed focus. Ed Wood is brilliant. Mars Attacks is a mess. Batman is hollow where Batman Returns almost gets too layered. This film Burton gets it right all the way through. The imagery is magical, descriptive and lush with eerie beauty. The pacing flows with a lean confidence. Over the years Burton has improved his ability to deliver actions sequences that involve you rather then confuse you. Sleepy Hollow is packed full of headless horseman action that is excellent. Christopher Walken plays the face of the horseman while Ray Parks does the headless rampages. A perfect match. Burton merges flashbacks and story line with action and frights smoothly. He starts with an opening chase scene followed by a fantastic title sequence that set the mood up front. Burton, along with Fincher and the Coen brothers, continues to prove that a good title sequence can define and add to a movies feel.
The rounded out cast of Miranda Richardson, Jeffrey Jones, Christopher Lee, Martin Landau, Ian McDiarmid, and Lisa Marie have varying screen time but Burton uses them well. Christopher Lee is specifically exciting in his very small part.
If I had seen this film when I was ten, it would have scared the crap out me and I would have loved it. At thirty, it is a rollercoster paced fun house that I will watch again and again. And yet I think my parents will like it too. If 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a Christmas holiday classic that the family watches every year, then Sleepy Hollow just locked down Halloween. And Sherlock Holmes better watch out for the new kid because I want to see more of Ichabod Crane.
I've said too much. I haven't said enough.
Consider This.. Segue Zagnut
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