Friday, December 21, 2007

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

So, I watched Sweeney Todd last night. It was directed by Tim Burton
 from the apparently classic stage musical with lots of blood. The source of the stage musical was a folk tale about a barber looking for revenge.

Okay, lemme cut to the chase: I'm not a big fan of musicals. There has to 
be something really special about them to make me like them. I can't stand older musicals and Sweeney Todd, in spite of the horror aspects, harkens back to shows like Oklahoma! and West Side Story. To put it quite frankly, I WAS BLOODY BORED. My only previous experience with Sweeney Todd comes from an episode of Just the Ten of Us when one of the daughters (Connie, played by JoAnn Willette) sings the title song in the pizza parlour. Since the title song isn't used in the movie, but makes up the main theme, I was thinking of that episode all through the movie.

Don't get me wrong: the performances were good. Johnny Depp has a serviceable voice (not bad, not great), but it's his performance that makes his Sweeney Todd work. Helena Bonham-Carter was good. Alan Rickman should not sing again, but his performance was fantastic. Timothy Spall really shouldn't sing again, but he was fantastic. Sacha Baron Cohen was...Adam Sandler, basically. Why was Anthony Stewart Head shown so prominently after Pirelli's disgrace when he doesn't show up again?

When put against the constantly bleak London backdrop that Burton created, even the livliest of the songs was lost. Everything was flat, the locations, I mean...even the parts that should have been poppy and bright were flat.

For a two hour movie, it felt strangely truncated and severely unsatisfying. 


Marvin the Martian said...

I saw the stage play of "Sweeney Todd" when it was popular back in the '80s. It was okay then, but nothing I would expect to be made into a film. But hey, if they're going to waste celluloid on "Rent," why not "Sweeney"? I like Johnny Depp in many things, and Helena B Carter in most things except those boring old British period pieces. I will rent the video but I think my theatre budget is shot from Christmas.

If you REALLY want to be annoyed, see "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium." I was amazed that they could get Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman to appear in such a disjointed, amateurish film. If they had shoved about half a million dollars from the CGI budget over to the script budget, boy, what a difference it could have made. But no.

Lori said...

I liked Rent. It should have been made years ago with a much more competent director than Chris Columbus, but for what it was, I liked it.

I wanted to see Magorium, but I didn't have a chance while it was at the theatre. I'll probably end up getting it though Netflix or something. :D