November 15, 2007 by Marshal Rosenthal
Part of growing up is no longer being scared by a headless horseman, but don’t tell Tim Burton that. He knows how to get to the heart of the fear even if he does re-imagine a story. In this horror tale we find Johnny Depp as the characteristically oddball, yet surprisingly sympathetic Ichabod Crane, flanked by Christina Ricci and a disturbing sequence of events. Burton works with lack of color and darkness and there’s a kind of layering to the film as if parts were being viewed through fine muslim. While the intended atmosphere was lost on DVD due to the lack of resolution, this is now restored due to high definition whether it’s broad sweeps through the forest, close-ups of characters or the extreme details hidden in the delicate nature of fog and mist. The intensity is strong and even subtle at times, although the lack of color also leads to a loss of contrast and some flattening of the blacks that take some getting used to.
Film grain can be a bit strong in this film but seems to benefit in this case from this grittier element. Audio aids in creating the mood and the Dolby Digital works as good as any “next-gen” audio format would here - there’s not all that much “intensity” to the soundfield for pumping up in my estimation because the use of surround is not over-whelming - it’s judicially used. And for those without a subwoofer (or worse yet, listening through the TV’s speakers), do yourself a favor and get the audio working right. Otherwise you’re losing a good chunk of the intended effect.
Additions to the disc include two featurettes about the movie, although it’s in listening to Burton providing commentary that makes for the most interesting time. There is also a teaser and theatrical trailer in HD (I never could quite see the value of viewing trailers of a movie I have just watched though).
Being all grown up is OK, but pop in this disc and you might just start wondering whether that monster under the bed might still be around.
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Disc Specs and Credits
Format reviewed: Blu-ray
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect ratio: 1080p, 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Kevin Yagher
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richard-son, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Christopher Lee, Christopher Walken, Richard Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Marc Pickering, Lisa Marie, Steven Waddington, Claire Skinner, Alun Arm
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
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