Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Bloody Good Show


Ahhh the holidays. Time when Hollywood pulls out the big guns to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside...and delivers a little movie filled with enough blood to make the Coen Brothers giddy as school children. I saw Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street last night. It always takes me about 30 minutes to get used to musicals (and this is a pure musical. I'd say, more then half of the film is sung...just know this) because musicals are inherently cheesy...and frankly, Sweeney Todd is no different. It's the story of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) who's wife and daughter were stolen (basically because they were so beautiful. Seriously, beautiful women sure cause a lot of problems. I guess we should blame Helen of Troy) as he was sent away to prison for 15 years for a crime he didn't commit. He returns to London as Sweeney Tood and meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) and bloody madness abounds. As a serious musical lover, I must admit, Sweeney Todd is not one of my favorite musicals (I think the music is a little dull), so while the film was gorgeous and the voices were great, I didn't love it. This has nothing to do with the film. Tim Burton really did a fantastic job (it's like a typical Tim Burton film, elevated to the next level), Johnny Depp is a terrific singer (not just getting by on his wonderful Johnny Depp-ness) and Sasha Baron Cohen is really hilarious (as a rival barber). Even the story is awesomely wicked, but I personally don't like the way the story is told (I've only seen the play once and wasn't enamored with it) and this really bothers me. I really wanted to love this movie...and I would have if they did away with the songs (which is horrible! As a musical theater kid, I should automatically love anything with singing...especially when it's written by Steven Sondheim). It's a great movie, definitely worth seeing, and the singing is really wonderful, however, the songs left me wanting. I'm just being honest...and it kinda makes me sad. I think I'm having an existential crisis here.

4 comments:

Falwless said...

I'm not much for Tim Burton films. Nor am I all that fond of Johnny Depp (I think I may be the only one in the world). Having said that, I have a very, very strange attraction to Sacha Baron Cohen.

I think I may wait this one out until rental time.

Red said...

Wow. That's a serious confession. SBC is pretty great, but if you don't like Tim Burton films, I say wait for the DVD.

heather said...

Oh Red..."the music is a little dull" ??? *can you hear my heart breaking all the way from San Jose?*

I'm sorry you didn't love it. I LOVED the film... Tim Burton did not disapoint and managed to recreate perfectly the pictures I have in my head while listening to the score. I even cheered when the blood from Turpin's throat splattered the camera lens! :)

I LOVED Johnny's voice and thought he brought a cool, contemporary (almost rock) feel to the role.
However, I did not like Anthony and Johanna that much. They were not very strong actors and never established enough of their relationshp for me to give a damn! It took me a while to get used to Helena Bonham Carter's energy (or lack there of). She played Mrs. Lovett far more reserved and crazy-on-the-inside than you normally see the role played. It worked and I eventually loved her performance, but her opening "Worst Pies In London" was not impressive and almost impossible to hear her at times.

I thought Ed Sanders was the perfect Toby!! And teh one things that bothered me the most was that the "ballad of sweeney todd" was instumental and not sung!! WTF! It was all I could not not to stand up in the theatre and lift my voice, "Swing Your razor wide, Sweeney!! Hold it to the skies!! Freely flows the blood of those who moralize!!!!!"

Red said...

hahaha. You should have sung! That would have been awesome.

I know. I should turn in my musical theater geek card for not loving it. I dunno what to do with myself!