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Quick Sweeney Todd Review

- credit sequence
+ Johnny Depp can sing
- but they had to transpose everything up an octave, which loses the impact of the basso
- don't even get me started about H B-C
+ kid who played Toby ruled
+ scenes that were cut made sense
+ thus the plot held together nicely
- Burtonized, it's too straight-up gothy
+ creepiness of judge well established
+ orchestral score preserved excellently
- no sharp terrifying whistle
+ i still laughed out loud at "A Little Priest"
- too many close-ups and scenes of people's reflection in a knife and blurry faces
- no "Parlor Songs"
+ the dialog that was added fit right in and was hilarious
- no seriously, Helena was miscast
+ "By the Sea"

So that's 9+ and 8-, overall a win.

Overall worth seeing but PLEASE if you like it, rent this version from Netflix and see Mrs. Lovett as I think she was meant to be portrayed.

Three bells today in the tower of Bray!!



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
I like the other version, but I liked this too. ding0 also remarked on missing the whistle, and since our introduction to Sweeny Todd was through Jersey Girl we also missed the "knock three times" stuff.

What did you not like about HBC? I rather liked her, and was sort of caught between finding her despicable and feeling a bit sorry for her. My one big - was that the length really didn't do much to the Anthony/Johanna relationship (really, almost not there at all). It was really lost because ST's vendetta was sooooo strong.

Actually, I think that's a - overall. It was so visually interesting that the true story (and the horror behind it) was lost in the look. Everyone's so messed up, and even the romance is kind of icky (Johanna, I'll steal you./Do they think that walls can hide you?/
Even now I'm at your window.../I am in the dark beside you,/buried sweetly in your yellow hair!).
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
You know, I've seen Jersey Girl, and I think I didn't get the reference at the time. Woops. :)

What I didn't like about HBC was her singing, for one. Breathy and without much vigor and support. Some people don't mind breathy singing; I am not one of them. There were some notes that should have stood out that she just whispered through. Then there was the fact that I think of Mrs. Lovett as a lively character, she is dingy and creepy but is a pantomime of what she wants to be, which is a Real Lady. So she has more color and life - in this version, HBC was costumed and made up to be dark and drab. HBC's face was great, it was fine, and we got many loving close-ups of it, but she just needed more life in her.

I completely agree about lacking some of the depth of Anthony/Johanna - you hit the nail right on the head there. It's really almost a mockery of a love story, and you get that hinted at but you get so much more in the stage version.

I am interested that you think it was visually interesting - I actually thought the cinematography was boring with a few notable exceptions. Hence my comment about the close ups. It was all too busy being Burtontastic. You get hints though - the flashbacks, the seaside - of the stuff that could have been done to make it more fluid and fun.
Dec. 31st, 2007 01:36 pm (UTC)
Visually interesting in that though it was dark there was lots of texture and moodiness and the camera LOVED Johnny Depp, which lingers on him so much that you have this, "Wait, I thought there was other stuff going on them him looking tortured."

One thing I hated - sure Johanna has yellow hair. But what's up with the weird bleached eyebrows. And I read that JD said he developed the look of the white streak in his hair, but I thought DT had that in the 1982 version?
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
It's such a departure from the stage! Which is totally the opposite of face-centric. There is other stuff going on than him looking tortured! Which is why I found it boring.

I think the character has always had crazy hair, but it's usually silver all over.
Dec. 31st, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)
As I walked home from the movie on Tuesday the 'romance' in the movie was discussed as... utterly gross.

I have to wonder though if that is something, sadly, a lot of folks wouldn't pick up on.. ownership of daughter from father/guardian to love interest/passerby in window is often still not questioned.
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
I think in the stage presentation, it's pretty obvious, but then I am obviously biased. I can't really tell what the average viewer will make of the movie. But when he comes to get her at Fogg's I noticed she didn't come with him right away.
Jan. 1st, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
ya, thankfully she's not presented as some hopelessly in love person.. after all her 'I don't have dreams' line definitely made her out to understand that she was a pawn in too many people's minds.
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:35 am (UTC)
Hrm. Given that Helena was my favorite thing about the movie, that doesn't bode well for a stage production for me. But then, given that I walked away from the movie (liking it, mind you) not liking the music one iota, I have zilch desire to see a stage production, really -- the music gave me a whopper of a headache. I like the lyrics just fine; as I told another Todd fan: they're clever by half, but I find the music itself annoying (not the melodies, so much, but the instrumention and the actual performance -- overbearing and loud on too many of the songs, to my tastes; where the singers were simply allowed to shine, I was okay, particularly the duets, but once the brass started to swell....).
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
The music is really jarring. I am not totally familiar with Sondheim but I think it just means you won't be a big Sondheim fan. I actually kind of didn't like Into the Woods for similar reasons. The music is designed, I think, to be incredibly unnerving and bring in dissonance and dynamics to align with the story and disturb you along with the plot. The first time I watched the stage version I linked to, I didn't like the music that much either... then later I found myself humming it... then I just liked it more and more. That's just a matter of different tastes.
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with you that Sondheim's probably not for me. I like the cleverness of "Into the Woods," but the music is a non-entity to me (I don't remember a single song from it, only the line "I was raised to be charming, not sincere.") And I absolutely /hated/ "Assassins." I've been told I might like "Sunday in the Park with George," but I haven't tried that yet....
Dec. 31st, 2007 11:13 am (UTC)
Thank you for the link, I really wanted to see the stage production since I haven't seen it in like... 20 + years...because 7 year olds should totally have seen this movie.


I did like how dark everything was... not because of the 'gothyness' but because it captured how utterly GRIMY everything in London was at that time.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 31st, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
It's not like I think she's bad... just not right for the part, IMHO.
Jan. 2nd, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
oh no, i've liked her a lot in other things. i'm just anoyed by suddenly seeing too much of her in the wrong things.
Dec. 31st, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
I saw it this afternoon. I haven't seen the stage show, and I have an undying (heh) love for Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, and some love for HBC, so I liked it. As much as I love Alan Rickman and he was damn creepy, I've seen too many HP films darn it. And I know he can act and is awesome. I haven't seen Timothy Sprall in anything but S Todd and HP tho, so sadly I thought hey, change into a mouse will ya? I am so ashamed. *hangs head* I think I'll try renting your version just to see another take on a film I did like.

The film really made me want to see it on stage.

Does the play say what happens to Joanna and Anthony? I was kinda invested in their story. I assume happy ending cause everyone in their way died.
Jan. 3rd, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
There is WAY more Joanna and Anthony story in the play, but it's not really what happened to them after. Just more of the story in that timeframe.
Jan. 2nd, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
I was completely unimpressed with the movie. Perhaps if I hadn't ever seen the play I would've liked it, but I felt like it took out everything I actually liked about the play. I can't believe they dropped all of the Ballad of Sweeney Todd. You'd think they could at least play it during the credits or something.
Jan. 2nd, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
I totally agree.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


keep it dark

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