An original movie (1990), though not Tim Burton's best; Johnny Depp's inert performance in the title role can't compare with the over-the-top eruptions of Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice and Jack Nicholson in Batman. The imaginative if arch plot by Burton and Caroline Thompson is couched in the form of a Disneyish fairy tale, though it's also part allegory, part parable, part punk tearjerker, and part suburban sex comedy. Both Bo Welch's arresting production design and the cast (which includes Vincent Price, Dianne Wiest, Winona Ryder, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin, Robert Oliveri, and Anthony Michael Hall) help it along. But the Spielbergian attempt at sweetness—heralded by references in Danny Elfman's score to the Nutcracker Suite—never fully convinces.
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