Sleepy Hollow

Bomb Rating: 

What's consistently predictable about Tim Burton films, despite all the dark imagery and brooding cinematography, is that they utterly lack any meaningful content. Myths, fairy tales, and comic books are for dopes who live in their parents' basement, their best moments existing solely in their heads.

Burton disingenuously tries to create a dichotomy between science and magic. Set in 1799, Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), a New York City constable who's one of the first to use science to solve crime, is sent to Sleepy Hollow, where the townsfolks' heads are being lopped off without explanation or evidence, save for their decapitated bodies. In fact, this dichotomy is a ruse that creates a false sense of conflict. Crane is confounded because the Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken) is born from an old tree and also because a ravishing girl, Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci), believes that magic can protect him while he does not.

Ultimately, when the secrets of the Horseman are revealed, Burton, in prime Clintonian fashion, gets to waffle on the issue of science versus magic. Nothing is resolved, yet he also gets to chop off more heads than a fisherman. One is left to ponder the mental state of a geek whose sense of self-worth and joy derives from the realism of cinematic decapitation. That's entertainment.

As I sit here writing this, police nearby are trying to solve the murder of two homeless men, whose bodies were decapitated and tossed in a field. Life imitates art, and decapitation has suddenly become the latest form of a cruel social Darwinism. No doubt Burton will deny any similarities or connections while audiences laugh hysterically at heads rolling around without bodies attached.

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