In typical Tim Burton fashion, a fairy tale gets an update (and the film's color gets drained out in the process). The guts of Legend are still there: In 1799, evil headless horseman marauds a tiny village in upstate New York. Ichabod Crane (Depp) is sent to investigate.
Of course, something wicked this way comes, and a plot is uncovered -- the details of which I'm still trying to get right in my head -- but which involve just about every inbred member of this little town, most of whom are beheaded during the picture.
Depp nearly reprises his role as Edward Scissorhands as a quiet wallflower (sans scissors), and whiter-than-white Christina Ricci (as the magic-obsessed love interest) sticks out among the drab fogies in their powdered wigs like Bill Gates at the Playboy Mansion. The supporting cast is uniformly bland, just like the scenery (though the latter is intentional). The sole exception is Walken, who plays the horseman (when he has his head, at least) with typical aplomb.
So what's the sum of the parts? What should have been a Halloween treat is instead a late-November humdrum flick worthy of a glance but little more. The story is obtuse yet unsurprising. The humor is sparse and occasionally funny. And while Burton's signature is all over the film, his typical wit is not.
How will the film fare at the box office? I can't rightly say, but I do know that a legion of junior high students is going to be disappointed, missing a whole lot of questions on their English Lit exams because of this movie.
Studio heads will roll.
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th November 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $206.1M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, American Zoetrope, Tim Burton Productions, Karol Film Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 85 Rotten: 41
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Andrew Kevin Walker
Starring: Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, Ian McDiarmid as Dr. Lancaster, Casper Van Dien as Brom Van Brunt, Michael Gough as Notar Hardenbrook, Christopher Walken as Hessian Horseman, Lisa Marie as Lady Crane, Steven Waddington as Kilian, Christopher Lee as Burgomaster, Miranda Richardson as Crone, Michael Gambon as Baltus Van Tassel, Jeffrey Jones as Reverend Steenwyck, Richard Griffiths as Bürgermeister Phillipse, Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel, Martin Landau as Peter Van Garrett, Marc Pickering as Young Masbath, Claire Skinner as Beth Killian, Alun Armstrong as High Constable, Jessica Oyelowo as Sarah, Mark Spalding as Jonathan Masbath, Peter Guinness as Lord Crane, Tony Maudsley as Van Ripper
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