Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sweeney Todd

This film starred Johnny Depp. Nuff said.

OK OK, AND it was directed by genius extraordinaire Tim Burton.

Still need more reasons to see it? Sigh. You people are tearing me apart!!!

Sweeney Todd is not a musical, but rather, an operetta since it's more narrative and character building in it's musical numbers instead of "Go Go Go Greased Lightning". It's a dark foreboding tale of mistaken identities, unabashed revenge, and cleavage. I'm positive that were I to push my chesticles up to my neck I too could sing notes in the uppermost of range that would make Mr. Sondheim proud. Never fear, the men are squeezed down below where the costume designers had a field day with inseams and prosthetics.

Aside from bulges and lyrics, the overall look of the film is downright Burtonesque. Not since Merry Poppins has there been this much soot and dropping of "h's". It's dark and dirty look only helps highlight the disgusting secrets hiding out in the barber/pie shop. Depp and H.B. Carter are a match made in pasty heaven and their chemistry and chops help move the story at times even more than the whirlwind soundtrack. Alan Rickman is pitch perfect in his all too practiced upper class snobbery. And then there's the romance. To me, this is where the movie falls short.

I believe Burton was burdened with having to cut a great deal from the original musical and in turn lost the "so what" factor in the young lovers romance. The love songs are beautiful, but with little to no dialogue between them, we're meant to catch onto their love at first sight affair and care. (look out I'm starting to rhyme) Problem was that I didn't. Depp and H.B. Carter are far more interesting and anti-romantic and overshadow the fresh faced youngsters. By the end, I was hoping the two would die Romeo and Juliet style making for some great pies that would last at least a week.

If you were able to sit through John Travolta's obnoxious, indeterminate, and fluctuating accent in HAIRSPRAY, you should have no problem enjoying perfected British accents and a bit of fakey blood splatter. In fact, HAIRSPRAY would have been a great title for SWEENEY TODD in reference to the after effects his close trims give his customers. I'm here all week, enjoy the buffet.

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