This reviewer is part of the group that does not like Tim Burton's films. With the exception of "Edward Scissorhands", and "Ed Wood", his cartoon-like style and design appear to be nothing more than excuse to cover up for a lack of substance and major problems with the director's ability to simply tell a story. However, before seeing "SLEEPY HOLLOW" it was easy to anticipate, yet again, the chance Burton would try to create a real horror film, without having to cartoon it up! Heck, it even had a script by Andrew Kevin Walker, someone with only a few scripts in his resume, but all of them terrific!
Unfortunately, whenever the film begins to feel like it's working as a stylistic, but effective thriller, Burton goes back to his cartoon beginnings and mucks it up horribly!
PARAMOUNT has preserved the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this HD-DVD release. While the film is extremely stylized, with plenty of fog and filters, it lacks the depth one would expect in high definition. The colors are intentionally dulled, and that can only be disappointing for viewers wanting to be blown away by high definition. At least, in comparison to the standard dvd, the image is comparable in regards to the lack of richness in color. It's also grainy, apparently, by intention. This fact will still be displeasing to those anticipating incredible color and sharpness on HD-DVD. However, detail is noticeably improved over the standard dvd. In fact, the incredible costumes were never fully complimented on dvd, however, the HD-DVD brings their texture out more, although not with the depth we'd still hoped for.
PARAMOUNT has provided both a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix and DTS 5.1 mix. Surprisingly, the DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS mix is better than the DTS mix, offering better overall range. Neither feature much of a surround track, other than for a few effects and music. The majority of the effects are focused towards the front.
The extras found on the dvd have all been carried over, including a rare audio commentary with Burton.