What up, Buttercups.
Well, I didn’t think that was gonna happen. For those who don’t know, my office software went from working to not working for no reason. It took me all weekend to get it working again but now it is and don’t have to miss posting this.
So, with that being said… on to the film!
There were so many choices for films to choose that connected to the last film in a deeper way than ‘This is also a scary film’. To be honest, my original idea was to go to Secret Window that way I’d have all the works of Stephen King at my disposal… but that was just a little too easy.
Maybe next year.
When you look at this film you can tell almost immediately – without reading the title card – who directed this film. The dark tone and muted colours mean this could only be the work Tim Burton.
It’s another case of Johnny Depp to the rescue, although considering this movie came out before From Hell it would class as the first case of Johnny Depp to the rescue? But it does indeed continue his streak of playing characters who are… Odd by the social standards of the time. Sadly, its one of those things that once you notice its hard to unsee. If this was a CinemaSins video on YouTube (definitely go and watch them, they are great and hysterical) it would probably be called “Johnny Depp plays character ahead of his time cliché!” Ding
Some of the dialogue is a little hokey. Especially some of Crane’s (Depp) dialogue. There is one line that just makes me want to find the screenwriter and ask them if they know how time works. The film is set in 1799. Yet 5 minutes into the film someone says “The millennium is almost upon us.” While trying not to tread on Jeremy’s toes and infringe on the CinemaSins gimmick… “Movie doesn’t know how to correctly age!” Ding. The turn of the century is upon them, the millennium is still a full 200 years away.
People always note that Tim Burton likes to work with certain actors. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter always get named, but what they forget is that he works with a lot of the same people. Most notably Danny Elfman, who does almost all the music for all of Tim Burton’s films. He does a wonderful job in making the score menacing, with a tone and volume that raises and falls. It’s masterfully done.
The casting is superb. It’s only looking back that I notice how many names are actually in this thing! You’ve got a fair number of cast members who went on to be in the Harry Potter franchise. Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson, Richard Griffiths. There’s even Ian McDermid in a rare role that is not Emperor Palpatine.
As much as I love Christina Ricci – part of me will always think of her as Wednesday Addams – there are a few line readings that come across as flat. I’m more than willing to put that down to playing alongside the sometimes gurning and weirdly inflected performance of Depp.
The dream sequences are odd. They follow in Burton’s trademark steps of always having an unreal world that is more colourful and vibrant than the real world. I don’t like that they tie in this dream world and Ichabod’s past to the case of the Headless Horseman, it feels a little too much like lazy storytelling at times. It feels all too convenient at times. Like they are inserted to move the plot along.
I like the fact that Ichabod, while being a “man of science and reason” still acts scared. He goes from being the stereotypical “there’s no such thing as ghosts and the supernatural” to being a believer after a single sighting. How many people would be the same in his shoes? We are so condition the there actually being a rational explanation that when there isn’t one its almost a cliché dodge. The fact that we are actually dealing with a spirit and not some Scooby Doo villain in a mask.
My only have two complaints with this film. The first is that the plot seems to move too fast at times. Everything seems to speed along as soon as you hit the 45 minute mark. Then at the 90 minute mark there’s a lot of action and much of it becomes very slapstick with the formerly deft Horseman hitting everything that isn’t Ichabod Crane and being flung about like a rag doll.
Christopher Walken does a great job of being the Horseman. He’s always struck me as being slightly sinister. He’s not given much to so in this film and has exactly zero lines…unless you count growling and yelling lines. He is the perfect puppet villain. Silent, cold and ruthless.
There isn’t really a moral to this film. Not that there needed to be one. It’s an enjoyable gothic romp. Back before Burton started letting his imagination twist all the good things in the world. This is how it should be used. The story is twisted and warranted all the dark and hopelessness that he is known for. Although I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Alice in Wonderland.
Another good performance from Depp long before he became drowned in run and irrevocably Jack Sparrow which may or may not have been the best/worst thing to happen to his career.
At 1 hour 45 minutes the film isn’t overly long and there are no parts that feel like they lagged. If anything the opposite is true. If you want to watch a film that makes time fly. This is most assuredly it!