action, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: April 1st, 2014 Movie – Batman & Robin

batman and robin

If there was to be a case study in how to kill a movie franchise, this movie would probably be on the list. I mean, this could be used as a text book example of what not to do when making a super hero movie. I mean, as successful as Batman Forever was, you would think that they would have tried to keep the momentum going. Unfortunately, the moment  the phrase “Bat-nipples” was first uttered, and all of the ice puns were heard in the trailers, I think everyone was groaning inside about how bad this movie was going to be. And let’s face it folks, when one of the lead actors was going around apologizing for killing the franchise, and actually refunding people’s money who had gone to see it, you know that you have a lousy movie on your hands. So why, you may ask, would I possibly even want to own such a movie? Well, maybe I did something horrible in a past life and this is my atonement by forever owning this movie. That, or I am a mildly OCD completionist when it comes to movies and just had to get it to round out the series. Either way, I have put off reviewing this movie long enough (yes, this is one of the reasons why I stopped doing the flashback reviews a few years ago because I really didn’t want to watch this movie at the time), so let’s get this over with and watch Batman & Robin.

The plot: Batman and Robin gear up for the nightly patrol and after saying goodbye to Alfred, they head off, not noticing his pained expression. Commissioner Gordon contacts Batman to alert him to a new villain, Mr. Freeze, who is robbing the museum so they head over there. At the museum, Freeze is using his ice gun to freeze the cops as he and his henchmen work on stealing a large diamond being held there. Batman and Robin show up to stop them and manage to get the diamond away from Freeze but when Freeze’s henchmen attack them, Freeze is able to reclaim the diamond. As he gets into his vehicle, which suddenly opens up to reveal a hidden rocket, Batman manages to jump inside to confront him, while Robin manages to cling to the outside as it blasts off. Freeze traps Batman with his cold gun, then bails out of the rocket, planning on sending him up into space to freeze to death. Robin enters the rocket and frees Batman, who places a bomb on the rocket so it explodes harmlessly in the upper atmosphere, then they bail out and follow after Freeze. Batman manages to grab onto Freeze, knocking the diamond out of his hand for Robin to grab, but Freeze is able to use his ice gun to slow his fall. As Batman and Robin chase after him, Freeze uses the ice gun on Robin to freeze him solid, then grabs the diamond and taunts Batman on how he can either chase him or save Robin, before quickly making his escape. Meanwhile, in a Wayne Enterprise lab in Brazil, Dr. Pamela Isley is working on a project to try and make plants capable of defending themselves from attack but comments on how she would be more successful if her boss, Dr. Jason Woodrue, would stop stealing her Venom samples for his “Gilgamesh” project. Sneaking into Woodrue’s private lab, she sees him talking to someone on the phone and watches as he transforms convicted serial killer Antonio Diego into a hulking monster which he calls Bane. When Woodrue discovers Isley in his lab, he attempts to explain things to her but when she says she plans on reporting him to the authorities, he attempts to kill her by knocking a table full of toxins on top of her, and the toxic mixture melts away at the ground and ends up causing her to be buried. Back at the Batcave, Batman shows Robin footage of Victor Fries, before the accident that changed him into Mr. Freeze. Batman explains that Fries wife contracted MacGregor’s Syndrome and he had been attempting to cryo-freeze her so he could find a cure before the accident occurred. Robin asks if they are going to set a trap for Freeze but Batman tells him he needs to train some more, causing the two to start arguing. Later, Bruce and Alfred are talking about Robin’s recklessness and Alfred comments he was the same way and says he should be more understanding. Back in Brazil, Isley emerges from the ground, having been reborn as Poison Ivy, and after using her toxins to kill Woodrue, she decides to take Bane with her and pay a visit to Gotham. In Mr. Freeze’s hideout, Freeze uses some small diamonds to refuel his suit, while placing the large diamond he stole in his “Freeze Engine”. He tells his henchman Frosty that they need one more large diamond for the engine, and then he will freeze Gotham and hold it for ransom in order to get the money needed to continue his research and find a cure for his wife. The next day, Bruce, Dick, and Alfred are surprised to find Alfred’s niece, Barbara Wilson, at the door, having decided to come visit while on a break from her academy, and Bruce invites her to stay at the house. They show her around the mansion and later that night, Barbara talks with Alfred, who is trying to find his brother to serve as Bruce’s new butler, but after saying goodnight to Alfred, Barbara sneaks out of the house and steals a motorcycle from the garage. The next day, Bruce, accompanied by his girlfriend Julie Madison, is donating a new telescope to the Gotham Observatory when he is approached by Pamela Isley, who offers him a plan to help repair the damage his company has done to the environment but he refuses as her plan would result in millions of people’s deaths. Later that night, Batman and Robin attend a charity auction at the botanical garden when Poison Ivy shows up and uses her pheromones to entrance Batman and Robin, as well as everyone else in the building. Grabbing the diamond, Poison Ivy starts a bidding war among the guests, with Batman and Robin even getting in on it, when Freeze and his men suddenly shows up for the diamond. As Batman and Robin begin fighting with Freeze’s henchmen, Freeze approaches the stage and Ivy tries using her pheromones on him but Freeze’s cold blood makes him immune to their effects and so she lets him have the diamond. Freeze and his henchmen leave and Batman and Robin follow after them but when Freeze and his men attempt to jump to a nearby rooftop in their vehicles, Batman tells Robin to pull back, then shuts down his engine remotely when he refuses. As the Batmobile makes the jump, Freeze uses his vehicle’s freeze gun to freeze it but Batman is able to bail out, then crashes into Freezes vehicle and capture him. Returning to the Batcave, Batman and Robin continue arguing, with Robin feeling like Batman is too controlling and doesn’t trust him. Later, Bruce goes to talk with Alfred and asks him if Dick is right and Alfred admits that he is, as Bruce’s tragic childhood has made it difficult for him to trust other people, Alfred being one of the few exceptions. Meanwhile, Dick catches Barbara sneaking the motorcycle back into the garage and when he questions her about it, she is evasive as to what she was doing. Freeze is taken to Arkham Asylum and placed in a special cell with a freeze light in it, confining him to the area around his bed in the room. Elsewhere, Ivy and Bane head to an abandoned Turkish bathhouse and, after kicking out the gang that was living there, she begins making her own alterations while preparing to bust Freeze out of Arkham. That night, Bruce is having dinner with Julie, who talks to him about marriage but Bruce is still thinking about Ivy, accidentally calling Julie Ivy when she kisses him. Meanwhile, Dick is also obsessing about finding out who Ivy is when he spots Barbara stealing a motorcycle again and he decides to follow her. He finds her competing in an underground bike race and joins in the race to follow her, helping save her when a gang decides to try and kill her. As they return to Wayne manor, Dick and Barbara talk about her racing and she reveals she had been kicked out of school for it but she doesn’t care as she has all the money she needs. She tells Dick she plans on taking Alfred away from there, feeling he is being taken advantage of. When Dick tells her he is family and happy there, she reveals that Alfred is sick. As she heads upstairs, Bruce, who was in the other room, tells Dick that Alfred isn’t sick, but dying and had chosen not to tell anyone about it. At Arkham, Ivy and Bane go to break Freeze out of his cell but his suit is out of power so he says he must return to his hideout to get the diamonds to power it, and asks Ivy to get his wife, who he has hidden in a secret part of his lair. After hearing that Freeze escaped, Batman and Robin join the police at Freeze’s hideout, where they see that Ivy and Bane had broken him out of prison. As they discuss what happened to them and why they were fighting over her, they discover Freeze’s hidden chamber and find Nora Fries body still in suspended animation, Freeze and Ivy see this and Ivy tells him she will deal with Batman and Robin and get Nora while he gets his diamonds for his suit and meet back at her hideout. As they examine Nora’s body, they discover that Freeze had managed to find a cure and treatment for the early stages of MacGregor’s Syndrome but not the latter stages. Suddenly, the smell Ivy’s pheromones and head down into the sewer to confront her but she has Bane attack them. Meanwhile, Freeze lowers the temperature in the hideout, disabling the police and allowing him to grab his diamonds as well as his freeze engine, then makes his escape. Back in the sewers, Bane knocks Batman and Robin around and as they are stunned, Ivy approaches them and uses her pheromones to distract them some more and attempt to kiss them. Batman is able to resist them but Robin finds himself more susceptible and as they argue, Batman is forced to dump Robin into the sludge. Ivy uses the distraction to head up to the room and instead of rescuing Nora, she disables the machine, then grabs her necklace to show as proof that Nora died. When she returns to her hideout, Freeze asks where Nora is and Ivy tells him that Batman and Robin disabled the machine, handing him the necklace as proof she is dead. Freeze wants revenge and plans on freezing Gotham and Ivy wants to help, saying after he freezes mankind, her mutant plants will take over and they will be the only two people left. Back at Wayne Manor, Barbara is checking in on Alfred, who hands her a disc he made for his brother and ask that she find him but she decides to look at the disc herself and learns about Bruce and Dick’s secret identity. Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick are still arguing over Ivy as Bruce leaves for a fundraiser, saying he will go after them alone as Dick isn’t thinking straight. At the fundraiser, Ivy, dressed as Pamela Isley, uses her pheromones on Gordon to learn where the Bat Signal is but Bruce smells the pheromones and realizes who she really is. Bane destroys the Bat signal and Ivy has a new one created just for Robin, luring him to her hideout. At the Batcave, Robin is getting ready to head out to meet Ivy when Batman stops him and says she is trying to kill him, asking Robin to trust him on this. After they leave, Barbara finds her way into the cave, and a computer image of Alfred shows up on the computer. Alfred says he knew she would find her way down there and had created a suit for her in case she wanted to help. Freeze and Bane head to Gotham Observatory, where Freeze plans on using the new telescope to freeze Gotham. Meanwhile, Robin shows up at the Turkish Bath and approaches Ivy, who asks him to kiss her. Robin asks her to tell him Freezes plan first and she does so, thinking it won’t matter since he will soon be dead, but Robin had heeded Batman’s warning and coated his lips with Rubber to prevent her toxin from infecting him. Ivy shoves him into the pool, where the vines start dragging him underwater and when Batman shows up, she has her vines trap him as well. Suddenly, Barbara, calling herself Batgirl, burst through the skylight and begins fighting Ivy, managing to trap her in her own plant. Batman and Robin manage to free themselves and when they ask Batgirl who she is, she reveals that she is Barbara and had found the Batcave. The three head to the observatory but are too late as Freeze has already begun to freeze the city. Realizing they don’t have much time to thaw the city, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl reach the observatory and realize they can use the telescope and linked satellite system to reflect sunlight onto the city and thaw it. While Batman reprograms the satellites, Robin and Batgirl head out to thaw the targeting mirrors but Freeze shows up and begins attacking Batman, moving the telescope which knocks Robin and Batgirl off of it. Robin attempts to save them but when his grapple fails, Batgirl ends up saving them. As they recover, Bane attacks them but Robin tells Batgirl to pull the tubes from his mask and when they do so, Bane reacts in pain and loses his strength before reverting back to Diego. Meanwhile, Batman and Freeze continue fighting and BAtman eventually gets the upper hand by placing a mini heater in Freezes suit and knocking him off the platform. Batman then starts using the telescope to start thawing the city but Freeze activates some bombs he had Bane place around the facility earlier, destroying the telescope. As Batman rescues the scientists that were falling with the telescope, He, Robin, and Batgirl head back to the observatory to try and figure out how to thaw the rest of the city. Batgirl and Robin use the satellites themselves to reflect the sun onto the city and continue thawing it, saving the city and everyone in it. Batman approaches Freeze, who is incapacitated due to his damaged suit, and Freeze tells him to go ahead and kill him like he killed his wife. Batman tells him that he didn’t kill Nora, showing him the video of Ivy bragging about killing her, and Freeze cries out in anger. Batman then tells him that Nora is still alive, as they restored the machine, then asks Freeze to help him save the life of someone suffering from early stages of MacGregor’s Syndrome. Freeze gives him the cure and Batman tells him he will have Nora’s body transferred to Arkham so that Freeze can continue his research. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl return to Wayne Manor, where Bruce begins administering the cure to Alfred. Meanwhile, Ivy is sitting in her cell in Arkham when Freeze shows up, revealing that he is her new cell mate, and as he approaches her, Ivy begins shaking in fear. The next morning, Alfred is shown to have made a full recovery and as they rejoice in the good news, Bruce decides what to do with Barbara and relents when she asks to be his partner and part of the family.

Batman & Robin was completely panned by the critics, holding a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.” Most of the scenes with Batgirl were cut as Alicia Silverstone had gained a few punds during production and the batgirl suit had to be refit. When the press found out, the criticized her for the weight gain but director Joel Schumacher defended her and attacked the press for their cruelty. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $238.2 million off of a $125 million budget but it effectively killed off any planned sequel or follow up movie until the franchise was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins.

It is too early in the day for me to have a drink and I really want to drink to the point I forget watching this movie. This movie is terrible on so many levels that it is almost painful. The acting was ok, and I say that in all seriousness because the actors were doing the best they could with an absolutely craptacular script. 27 ICE PUNS!!!! That is 28 ice puns too many, because you know there was another one that was written but didn’t make the cut. And let’s not forget the plant puns that were involved with Poison Ivy. As I mentioned earlier, the story was absolute crap and spent more time trying to come up with clever jokes then actually coming up with a decent story. The side plot about Alfred being sick was the best part of the story and they could have made a better movie if they had focused on that. One thing that was unforgivable was what they did to Bane, as he was one of the most interesting and methodical villains to be introduced to face Batman in recent years and they made him a total joke of a character in this movie. The set design was so cartoonish in it’s appearance that it was hard to take anything serious. As for the special effects, while they were decent, they didn’t help matters when it came to the total campiness of this movie. If you come across this movie, do yourself a favor and keep on going.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 13th, 2018 Movie – They Came From Beyond Space

They Came From Beyond Space

Ok, sometimes I wonder about the sci-fi movies that came out back in the day. The generic plotline for a lot of sci-fi movies back in the day tended to revolve around alien invasion in one form or another. Such is the case with today’s movie. This is one of those generic movies that I honestly never heard of and probably never would have seen if it wasn’t for a box set. So let’s see how good of a movie this is as I watch They Came From Beyond Space.

The plot: In England, a large cluster of meteors suddenly crash down into a field, strangely landing in a perfect V formation. The next day, Richard Arden of the Ministry of Space Research heads to the lab of Dr. Curtis Temple and asks him to lead the investigation of the meteorites, saying that the reports they had about them were confusing. Curtis goes to speak with his physician, who refuses to let him go on the expedition as he is still recovering from a near fatal car wreck, where he had to have a steel plate placed in his head. Curtis returns to his lab to find Arden there with some more scientists that will be part of the team but Curtis tells him that he is unable to go, as his doctor has forbidden it, and says he will send his assistant, Lee Mason, in his stead. Arden says he will get the ministry to overrule the doctor but Curtis says that it will do no good, then asks why the urgency about the meteors and Arden explains that they landed in a perfect v formation and says he will send Curtis copies of all their files. Curtis goes back to the doctor to plead his case but the doctor still refuses, and Lee offers her condolences on his missing this chance to prove there is intelligent life in space. Arden takes Lee to the crash site and asks how soon they can dig up the meteorites but Lee says they should wait until they run some tests. Back at the lab, Curtis and his other assistant Alan determine that, based on the data they received from Arden, the meteorites came from the moon and Curtis attempts to call Lee to let her know. Back at the crash site, One of the scientists attempts to chip off a fragment from one of the meteorites and when he strikes it with the hammer and chisel, a screaming sound is heard that knocks them to the ground. Lee is suddenly possessed by the entity in the meteorite and tells the others to take over scientists and Arden. Once they have control of the humans, Lee says they can initiate phase 2 of their plan. Lee heads to the local bank to request a loan of 1 million pounds, using a meteorite fragment to take control of the bank manager’s mind. Meanwhile, Arden goes to see Curtis and Alan, who have been trying to contact Lee, and tells them that he is there to take them to the site. Curtis and Alan head to the car but when they get there, Alan’s mind is taken over by the meteorite in the car but Curtis is safe from possession, due to the silver plate in his skull from his car crash. Arden shoves Curtis aside and leaves with Alan and Curtis heads back to his lab to discover that Arden had also taken their notes determining where the meteorites came from. Curtis receives a call from his boss, who tells him of the strange requisitions that are coming from the site and that Lee had signed off on. Curtis decides to head down to the site but when he gets there, he finds it surrounded by an electric fence and an armed guard threatens to shoot him unless he turns around. Curtis threatens to ram his car into the fence unless he speaks with Lee and the guard calls Lee, who says she will be right there. Lee arrives and Curtis tries to ask her what is going on but she tells him not to disturb her while she is working, even blowing off his admission that he loves her, then tells the guard to shoot him if he tries to interfere again. Curtis heads back to town and when he sees Lee drop off Arden, tries talking with Arden but Arden tells him that Curtis isn’t one of them and therefore he can’t tell him what they are doing. Curtis keeps watch on the site and when Lee leaves, he stops her in the road and tries talking to her again but she uses a strange weapon on him that renders Curtis unconscious. Curtis comes too in a nearby gas station and the attendant tells him that she found him on the road unconscious and brought him and his car back to the station. Curtis thanks her and drives off but is stopped shortly by Stilwell, a government agent with Internal Security who was keeping tabs on the site and what they were doing. Stilwell says that he will have to contact his superiors before he can read Curtis in on what is happening but as he is in the phone booth, he suddenly falls ill and collapses. Curtis goes to check on him as a crowd gathers and a doctor shows up to check on Stilwell only to fall victim to the same illness and die. The crowd flees in terror and some time later, the news reports on doctors’ efforts to figure out the “crimson plague” that hit the town. Curtis is approached by Stilwell’s boss, who tells him that he needs to go back to his lab and leave the farm alone, as what is happening there can save mankind. After the agent leaves, Curtis watches him get into a car, which the gas station attendant is driving and she looks back at Curtis before driving off. Curtis decides to head to stop at the gas station on his way to the farm and finds two men working there, who tell him to ignore the farm and what has happened so far. Curtis continues towards the farm and witness a hidden launching pad emerging from the lake on the property and a rocket blasts off from it before the pad sinks back down into the water. Curtis attempts to sneak onto the property but the as he tries to short out the fence, the guard start shooting at him and force him to retreat. Curtis returns later that night and uses a rifle to shoot the transformer powering the fence, then hops the fence and quickly hides as the guard begin searching for intruders. Reaching the farm house, Curtis discovers a strange elevator like tube in the middle of the floor, then quickly hides as the tube opens and more soldiers exit to join the search. As Curtis gets up, he is confronted by Alan, who attempts to take him prisoner, but Curtis struggles with him and eventually knocks him out. Entering the tube, Curtis heads down and finds himself in a strange room and he quickly hides as more soldiers appears and start searching for him. As he hides, he sees that one of the soldiers looking for him is Stilwell, causing him to wonder what is going on. Curtis continues looking around and finds a freezer full of human bodies, including the female attendant he saw earlier, but before he can leave, Arden shows up and uses a gun to knock him unconscious. When Curtis comes too, he finds himself locked in a room and sees people working on another rocket outside. Arden opens a window on the door to talk with Curtis and explains that they are sending the bodies of the plague victims to the moon as it is the safest place to bury them. When Curtis asks about their risking contaminating themselves, Arden explains that they found an immunizing agent in the meteorites but it will take time to mass produce. Arden leaves and heads to the control room, where Lee tells him to kill Curtis so he won’t interfere with their plans again. When Arden goes to kill Curtis, he finds the room empty and goes inside to investigate but Curtis, who was hiding above the doorway, drops down and knocks him out. Curtis grabs the gun and then heads out and eventually reaches the control room, where Lee tries to kill him but Curtis knocks her out. Curtis hides as he sees another person enter the room and sees a strange glow coming from the man’s neck and realizes he can see what is controlling the people through use of a reflective surface. Managing to get out of there with Lee, Curtis breaks through the gate and heads to the home of a friend, Farge. He explains what is going on to Farge and tells him his suspicions of how he was immune to the mind control, then melts down Farge’s trophies to fashion a silver helmet for Farge to wear. Heading out to his car, he has Farge wear the helmet as the confront Lee and she is unable to take control of his mind. They then bring Lee inside the house and work on trying to remove the alien influence from her, eventually succeeding in doing so. Fashioning another helmet to protect Lee, the three head off to the farm to try and stop the rocket from taking more bodies to the moon. They manage to sneak inside and make their way to the rocket but before they can stop it, the rocket takes off and they find themselves captured by Arden. Arden explains that they are heading to the moon, where their leader will deal with them. When they reach the moon, they are met by the Master of the Moon and his followers and he explains that they came from a planet in another galaxy and they had evolved into beings of energy but realized that that evolution meant the end of their race. They built a rocket and attempted to find a new planet to call home but the rocket crashed on the moon. They went to Earth as meteorites so they could possess the smartest minds on Earth so they could repair their ship, sending workers up under the guise of the plague, then would cure the plague from them and force them to work. When the work was finished, they plan to return the people unharmed. The Master then has Curtis stunned, and taken to an operating room, where he plans to remove the silver plate and replace it with a different metal, then take control of his mind. Farge manages to escape the room and when he discovers the workers, he works to rescue them, leading them in a revolt. They make their way to the operating room to save Curtis, telling the Master that they have the means to see them and kill them. The Master says that this is the end of their race but Curtis says that it doesn’t have to be as if they had asked for help, the people of Earth would have helped them. Curtis tells the Master to release the human he is controlling as a sign of good faith and the alien leaves the man, floating off as a ball of light, and Curtis introduces himself to the man.

Boring, generic, and really nothing much to this movie. The acting was ok but nobody really stood out among the principal actors. The story was a little confusing, as they took too long really explaining what was going on in order to make things seem more mysterious and sinister. The special effects were kind of on the cheap side, with the couple of fight scenes being sped up in order to seem more dramatic, and the colorful, swirly effects to transition between scenes was the usual effect you would find during the late 60’s. Honestly, I was hoping for something a little more but this really was just a boring movie, but I might watch it again if I have trouble falling asleep.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

September 24th, 2017 Movie – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy hollow (1999)

It may not feel like it in some places, but it is Fall and that means the weather is going to, hopefully, get colder, night will come sooner, and the movies will start getting a little darker as we get closer to Halloween. One director who is somewhat synonymous with dark movies, even if they have nothing to do with Halloween, is Tim Burton. I have always liked his movies, ever since Beetlejuice, and when I heard that he was making a live action movie of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, I was immediately on board and ready to see it. So lets see how good of a job he did with today’s movie, Sleepy Hollow.

The plot: In 1799 in the village of Sleepy Hollow, wealthy land owner Peter Van Garrett is writing a new will and testament and has it witnessed by Jonathan Masbath, one of his servants. Van Garrett rides off in his stage coach, driven by his son, to deliver the new will when he hears a horse pass by them followed by a strange sound. When Van Garrett looks out of the stage coach, he finds his son has been decapitated and he quickly jumps from the now out of control coach. Making his way through a field, he pauses when he comes to a scarecrow only to hear a sound and as he turns around, his head is cut off. In New York City, Constable Ichabod Crane discovers a body in the river but while Crane wants to determine the cause of death, the police chief says the cause of death is drowning and has the body burned. As Crane argues that with the new century almost upon them, they should work on using more accurate, scientific means to solve crimes, the Burgomaster decides to have him put his methods to the test. He tells Crane about Sleepy Hollow and how 3 people (the Van Garretts and the widow Emily Winship) have been killed there within the past fort night, with their heads cut off, and tells Crane to use his methods to find the killer and bring him to justice. Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow and heads to the home of the Van Tassels, where a party is underway and Crane ends up caught up in a game where he is kissed by Katrina Van Tassel. When Katrina’s suitor, Brom van Brunt, gets jealous, Baltus Van Tassel and his wife appear to calm things down and Crane introduces himself. Lady Van Tassel invites Crane to stay at their house while he is there and after he gets settled in, Crane heads downstairs and meets with Van Tassel and the other leaders of the community; Doctor Thomas Lancaster, Reverend Steenwyck, Magistrate Samuel Phillipse, and Notary James Hardenbrook. As Crane goes over what he was told of the murders, they tell him that the heads were never recovered and Hardenbrook tells him that they were taken back to hell by the Headless Horseman. They explain that the horseman was a Hessian mercenary that fought for the British during the revolution but was killed by American soldiers and beheaded with his own sword, then buried in the Western Woods, which has since become a haunted place. Crane doesn’t believe their stories of a ghost being behind the deaths and claims a real person is responsible and he will find out who it is. That night, Jonathan Masbath is killed by the horseman and the next day, Crane makes his own examination of the body. At the funeral, Jonathan’s son, Young Masbath, approaches Crane and asks to help but Crane refuses at first until Phillipse approaches him and tells him that Masbath was the 5th victim even though there were only 4 graves, and Crane tells Young MAsbath to find a room in the servants quarters at the Van Tassel house. At dawn the next day, Crane has the bodies dug up and discovers that along with her decapitation, the widow Winship also has a sword thrust into her stomach. Crane takes her body to Dr. Lancaster’s office and performs an autopsy, which upsets Steenwyck, and discovers that the widow was pregnant when she died. That night, Brom plays a joke on Crane by pretending to be the Headless Horseman and scare him off and Crane ends up fainting after being hit in the face with a jack-o-lantern and begins dreaming of his mother. When he wakes up, he finds himself in his room and as he heads downstairs, he finds Katrina reading by herself. The two start talking and Katrina explains how her family came to be in the position they are now, then takes Crane to the remains of her childhood home. That night, Crane sees an argument between Lancaster, Steenwyck, Phillipse, and Hardenbrook and after Phillipse leaves, Crane questions him about the widow Winship’s child and who the father is when the Horseman appears and kills Phillipse and takes his head. Though cowering in fear at first, Crane has more dreams about his mother which causes him to overcome his initial fears and vow to find the Horseman’s grave and asks for volunteers to go with him into the Western Woods but only Young Masbath volunteers to go. They head into the woods and after Crane asks if his father had dealings with the Van Garretts and Young Masbath explains that his father worked for them and a week before the murders started, there was an argument between Van Garrett and his son, after which Van Garrett sent for Masbath. The two come to a cave in the woods and find a reclusive witch inside, who sends Young Masbath outside while keeping Crane inside and summons the spirit of the Horseman to tell him where the grave is. As they make their way to the grave, they see someone on a white horse ahead of them and when Crane approaches the horse, discovers it is Katrina. The three find the Tree of the Dead and as Crane cuts away some of the lower branches to clear out a hollow, he finds the missing heads. Suddenly, the Horseman and his steed emerge from within the tree and heads towards town and Crane follows after him. In the town, the Horseman enters the home of the town’s midwife and kills her, as well as her husband and child, and goes to leave. Brom, who is on watch with his friends, tries to stop him but is injured and as he moves to continue fighting, Crane tries to stop him. Crane tells him that the horseman is only fighting because Brom attacked them and is not trying to kill them but Brom refuses to listen. As Brom begins fighting again, Crane joins in but soon realizes they are outmatched and convinces Brom to run but as they move through the bridge, the Horseman catches up to them and stabs Crane in the shoulder before cutting Brom in half. As Crane deals with his injuries, he tries to explain to Van Tassel and Lancaster that the Horseman is killing specific targets which means he is being controlled by whoever took the Horseman’s skull. Katrina gives him a drink to help him sleep and he ends up dreaming about his mother again and when he wakes, he tells Katrina about her death. The next morning, after he has recovered, Crane starts going over all of his notes and tries to figure out what the secret is that Phillipse and the other town leaders were keeping and decides to head to Hardenbrook’s shop. When they get there, they find Hardenbrook hiding and Young Masbath discovers his father’s satchel and they find the new will that Van Garrett had made, as well as the marriage certificate for Van Garrett and the widow Winship. Crane realizes that the new will left everything to the widow Winship but if nobody knew about it, then it would end up going to Baltus Van Tassel. When he returns to the Van Tassel house, he finds Katrina in his room and she says her father thinks it best that Crane head back to New York, as the notes crane wrote in his ledger upset him. After she leaves, Young Masbath discovers a design on the floor underneath Crane’s bed and says that someone is casting an evil spell on him. That night, Crane follows a cloaked figure out into the woods but discovers it is Lady Van Tassell, who is having an affair with Steenwyck. When Crane returns to his room, he finds all of the evidence is missing and heads to the Van Tassel’s former house, where he finds Katrina burning it. She admits she did so to prevent Crane from accusing her father and he tells her that he has no choice but to follow where the evidence leads him and the two argue over their feelings for each other before Katrina leaves. That night, a town meeting is called in the church and as Van Tassel is waiting on his wife to finish picking some flowers, he sees the Horseman approaching behind her and quickly flees. When he arrives at the church, he tells Katrina that her step-mother is dead but Steenwyck tries to force him back outside, telling him that he is the one the Horseman wants. As Crane notices that the Horseman can’t enter the church yard because it is holy ground, he goes to tell them but Van Tassel grabs Crane’s pistol and threatens Steenwyck. Lancaster starts to tell Van Tassel the truth about the conspiracy but Steenwyck kills him, prompting Van Tassel to shoot him. As some of the townfolk approach him, Van Tassel grabs another pistol and heads up to the balcony, declaring that there is a conspiracy against him. Outside, the Horseman has grabbed some rope and a fence post, which he uses as a make shift spear, and he throws it through the window and strikes Van Tassel, then drags him outside until his head is past the church yard, allowing him to cut it off. Seeing what happened, Katrina faints and as Crane stares at her, he looks up to see the same design that was under his bed drawn on the floor in the church where Katrina had been kneeling. Crane burns all of his notes and prepares to leave, with Young Masbath questioning why he thinks Katrina was the one to control the Horseman but Crane tells him that that can never be spoken. As his coach is leaving town, Crane notices them bringing the bodies of Baltus and Lady Van Tassel to the morgue and as he suddenly looks at the book of spells and charms Katrina had given him when he first came to town and discovers the design she had drawn was one of protection. Crane tells the driver to turn around and heads to the morgue, where he discovers that the body assumed to be Lady Van Tassel is not her, as the wound on her hand was inflicted after the body was dead, as opposed to the cut he saw Lady Van Tassel give herself. At the Van Tassel house, Katrina is approached by Lady Van Tassel and faints and it is revealed that she is the one who controls the Horseman and she summons it to kill Katrina. Lady Van Tassel takes Katrina to an old windmill and explains that she and her family lived in the cottage before the Van Tassels before her father died and Van Garrett kicked them out. Their mother was a witch and taught her and her sister her ways before she died and the two girls lived in the woods, where they saw the Hessian die and Lady Van Tassel swore her soul to Satan if he would resurrect the Hessian to help her get her revenge. She then explains why she had everyone killed, while also explaining why she killed the servant and her own sister. Young Masbath, who had followed Lady Van Tassel to the windmill, tries to knock out Lady Van Tassel but she knows he is there and he and Katrina run. Crane shows up with the stage coach just as the Horseman arrives and they lure the Horseman inside, then use the windmill blades to reach the ground while Crane lights a fire to blow up the windmill in order to slow it down. As it emerges from the wreckage, Crane and the others leave and head towards the Tree of the Dead, with the Horseman chasing after them and Crane does his best to slow it down. When they get there, they find Lady Van Tassel had beaten them there and Crane tells Katrina to run but Lady Van Tassel shoots him, then grabs Katrina and holds her for the Horseman. Crane didn’t die, as the bullet was stopped by Katrina’s book, and he tackles Lady Van Tassel and after Young Masbath knocks her out, he grabs the skull and throws it to the Horseman. The Horseman puts the skull back on his body and his face is restored and he then grabs Lady Van Tassel and, with the tree suddenly opening up, he takes her back to Hell with him, as her deal with him is finished since he has her head, and the tree closes around her as she screams, with only her arm sticking out among the bramble of roots. Crane heads back to New York City with Katrina and Young Masbeth, just in time for the new century.

Sleepy Hollow met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.” In October of ’99, one month before the movie was to be released, the studio launched a website that featured live interviews with the filmmakers, a short behind the scenes featurette, view photos and trailers, and was described, at the time, as “the most ambitious online launch of a motion picture to date.” The movie would be a modest hit at the box office, earning $206.1 million off of a $100 million budget.

I always enjoy watching this movie, even if it does have some faults. The acting was pretty good and Burton gathered an incredible cast of talent to take part in this movie. Johnny Depp (Crane) and Christina Ricci (Katrina) were both great and I also liked how well Michael Gambon (Van Tassel), Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel), and Richard Griffiths (Phillipse) did in their roles and how they would all be part of the Harry Potter world a few years later. The story was a bit of a departure from the source material but I think those changes were honestly necessary to make for a more compelling full length movie. I did think the change of Ichabod Crane to a police officer was interesting and they had an interesting bit of “science vs supernatural/superstition” theme going there. However, the whole flashback scenes regarding Ichabod’s mother really didn’t make a whole lot of sense, even if they were meant to show that Ichabod had some experience with the supernatural before coming to Sleepy Hollow. The special effects were very well done and I loved the visuals involved in the movie, as the colors were mostly dark while even some of the brighter colors seemed a little muted except for the color red, which seemed visibly brighter most times and seemed to pop off the screen to be noticed. I also liked the bit of a running gag that seemed to occur with Crane constantly getting blood squirted in his face. While I will always have a bit of a soft spot for the original animated short, this is a fun movie to watch and definitely something for the Halloween season.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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