Sleepy Hollow
**.5 GM
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gambon


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Tim Burton's films are generally fun ones to watch, because he's got a good way of going over-the-top and still making everything interesting and different. "Batman" was excellent, "Mars Attacks" was a hoot, "Edward Scissorhands," "Nightmare Before Christmas," "Batman Returns,"... all really cool films. Taking the reins of the adaptation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" seems like a natural. It works on a lot of levels... but not quite as many as it should have.

For starters, and correct me if I'm wrong since I haven't read the original story, but I seem to remember the Disney animated version of the story, and I think, even in THAT version, the ending was far from a happy one. I haven't seen the cartoon in a long time, either, so I might be talking out of my tukus, but if DISNEY can make an ending disturbing, Tim Burton should DEFINITELY be able to do it. Somehow, he comes up short and makes it happy, which just seems out of place... although, if you're expecting a grisly demise for Ichabod Crane and you don't get one, maybe that's supposed to pass as a surprise.

Secondly, there was a surprising amount of predictability here. Specifically, Katrina (Christina Ricci) gives Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) a small book that can fit in a chest pocket and says 'keep it close to your heart.' Now, if you DIDN'T know immediately that he was eventually going to take a bullet to the chest and be saved by the book, raise your hand and get in line for the Moron Train. There's a seat right next to Keanu Reeves.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the film overall, though. The imagery, as usual, was brilliantly moody and unique. The fact that the town elders consist of the senile guy from "Dancing At Lughnasa," Bruce Wayne's butler, the arch-villain in "Howard The Duck" and Emperor Palpatine is a pleasure in itself. Depp has quite a few moments of comedic cowardice that really work well, and the Headless Horseman is genuinely frightening... especially when it's revealed that his actual head is that of Christopher Walken. I could have used more jack o'lantern-tossing, though.

Some moron brought an infant to this film. Listen - potential parents everywhere: if you have a child and you can't find a babysitter, you DON'T GET TO GO TO THE MOVIE. Tough noogies. You don't bring a baby to a dark room full of strangers and blisteringly loud noises and expect the kid not to be screaming his friggin' head off. So shut up and hop on, the Moron Train ain't left yet... and Keanu looks lonely.

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