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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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message 1: by Nicole (last edited Jan 15, 2008 08:23AM) (new)

Nicole (nlojeda) | 42 comments The fact that I saw this movie on Saturday and forgot that I saw it is a review in itself (in my opinion). In my view, the music was forgettable as was the movie. However, I love Johnny & Tim Burton and will continue to watch all their movies but this movie was just 'ok' in my book.

Hope this edit is more helpful.

message 2: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) Oh Nicole I feel so completely opposite. I saw the original production which was on Broadway for years, which was filmed and broadcast on PBS. I loved the play then... but I have to say that Tim Burton's vision translated to the screen added aspects to the production that really worked for me. I'm not a huge Johnny Depp fan, but I felt like he played the part very well... and contributed his own kind of creepiness to it. Helena Bonham Carter was magnificent as usual... even though her pregnancy made it obvious which scenes had been filmed first (before her breasts became ginormous) and which later (omg so much cleavage!). I will go see this film in the theatres again... and then own it on DVD when it comes out. I will watch it again and again as a cult classic. Yay Tim Burton, you creepy MF!!

message 3: by Alison (last edited Jan 03, 2008 02:48PM) (new)

Alison Who else in the universe could pull this one off? (Loved it).

message 4: by Kaza (new)

Kaza Okay, now I'm going to have to see it!!
Kaza Kingsley
Author of the Erec Rex series

message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
I definitely want to see this on the big screen. I've seen a few recently on the big screen with my daughter and miss going to the theater. I love dvd's but this movie sounds especially suited for the big screen.

message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (teacupfangirl) I liked it quite well, and like Charissa, I've seen the PBS version and thought that the musical translated very well to the screen. I also like that the leads don't have traditional musical singing voices. It just seems too... polished on film, and this musical does not give off a polished air at all.

message 7: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) Fangirl... I agree. Sweeney Todd is like the Bob Dylan and Tom Waits of Broadway Musicals. Gotta love Stephen Sondheim! I love his other stuff as well:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins (as well as the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy).

message 8: by Tom (new)

Tom Walsh (teew) I saw the film with Ben Kingsley. It was very stark and a bit bizarre. But, the entire topic is bizarre! The music (I d/loaded the film score on ITunes) is wonderful. If Depp actually sings, then he did a good job!!! Can't wait to see the film. Tom

message 9: by Missy (new)

Missy I love musicals, I love Johnny Depp, I hate blood and guts, and I loved this film. I just enjoyed it, pure enjoyment. I wanted to watch it again right away. The lyrics were witty and the creepy factor was just right...not too much, not too little.

message 10: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (dignityandmoney) | 3 comments I actually was surprised by how much I liked the movie. I mean I knew I was going to like it but the performances (especially by Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen) were excellent. I recommend anyone to see this movie. It also made me really want to see the play.

message 11: by Joel (last edited Jan 12, 2008 03:56AM) (new)

Joel | 6 comments I hated this movie.

If it had been a musical using interesting music, that would have been one thing. If Danny Elfman had updated it with his sense of creepy fun, it could have been great. As it is, the songs aren't even good songs for a standard lame musical, much less a modern piece for the screen.

As it was, it was just a lame, dumb musical that took an exciting plot about a murderous barber and cannibalizing girlfriend, and made it DULL! That's some accomplishment!

A full 2/5ths of the movie is about a love story that will make you want to punch the strangers in the seats next to you because it's so boring.

message 12: by Don (new)

Don | 6 comments I'm not sure how you could forget this movie...

My wife and I watched it the other day.... The sets, lighting and direction were terrific, the performances really good, the songs nice and even very clever... but what was the point? Revenge? The revenger paying the price? Or Mr. Burton's excuse to show blood gushing from necks like burst water pipes? The main character's motivation for murder even stopped even making sense to me about half way through. I don't believe I will ever forget the endless stream of images of slit necks.

message 13: by Alison (last edited Jan 12, 2008 11:16AM) (new)

Alison I felt the point was how circumstances and past experiences can shape the way we view all of man, and how revenge can become so obsessive that we lose sight of why we became sour in the first place. If ST hadn't been so focused on making everyone suffer for one man's past sins, there might have been a chance to regain what was lost to him. But his plight became less about getting back what he lost, and more about the cathartic, self-serving experience of dicing people up.

But, yes, you could definetely see Tim Burton sitting back and licking his lips over the prospect of the vats of spilled blood this story-telling would require. I wasn't too traumatized, as I had my head in my hands for the worst parts. "Not for everyone" would definetely apply here.

message 14: by Sarah (last edited Jan 12, 2008 03:28PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I had a really long heated debate with a friend the other day about music in general, and Sondheim's music in particular, and Sweeney Todd and "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" specifically. My friend is non-musical, and although he listens to music, I pointed out that he cannot fully appreciate the difficulty or the complexity of Sondheim's music without formal musical training. As a classically trained coloratura/lyric soprano who's involved in musical theatre, I can recognize the little things that make Sondheim's music so brilliant and so difficult. The odd intervals. The constantly changing tempos and rhythms and keys. The brilliant lyrics and unusual rhymes. The trill (which the Joanna in the movie didn't do properly). An untrained ear couldn't possibly recognize all that, but I still cannot fathom how anyone can call Sondheim's music uninteresting or forgettable.

I'm not a Sweeney Todd purist like some people. I saw the revivial version on Broadway and was blown away while some people hated the scaled-back orchestrations and lack of choral numbers. But I was concerned about the way the movie would turn out.

As for my review, copied and pasted from myspace:

Went to the midnight show of Sweeney Todd. I had a lot of apprehensions going into it. I love Johnny Depp, but being a theatre geek, I was really concerned with his vocal ability, and especially with Helena Bonham Carter's. I was also concerned about the massive amounts of music that was cut from the script as well.

But, I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Depp and Bonham Carter certainly aren't the powerhouse singers who performed the roles on Broadway, but the way the film was directed, powerhouse voices would have been out of place. I have to keep reminding myself that film and stage are completely different media, and that performances on film can be much smaller than they need to be on stage. A film actor doesn't have to worry about reaching the back of the house. Bonham Carter was probably the one I was most concerned about, but her performance was wonderful. Sacha Baron Cohen was PERFECT as Pirelli. Look for the "roll of socks" in his uber tight pants. Though you won't have to look too hard. Hysterical. I also liked the way they cast Toby as a child rather than a young man. I thought it made the dynamic between Toby and Mrs. Lovett even more interesting and poignant than I've seen before (and I saw a truly brilliant Toby on Broadway - Manoel Felciano). Timothy Spalls and Alan Rickman had some stand out performances as well.

As for the music that was cut, the only thing I really missed was "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd." Other songs that were cut would have been out of place with the way the movie was directed. A perfect example of this is "Kiss Me" which would have been all wrong for the way the actress played Johanna.

But I really did like it. I just get queasy about blood, and it was much, much, MUCH more gory than any stage version I've seen. So I watched a lot of it through my fingers. :)

message 15: by Joel (new)

Joel | 6 comments RE: Sarah

I have a great deal of musical training, and I think to say, "maybe you didn't like the music enough because you don't have enough training," is ridiculous. Mozart does complex musical stuff, but also has the decency to SOUND good. This music did not.

message 16: by Nasim (new)

Nasim sabetpour (sabetpourn) | 1 comments Dear joel
i have just became a member in this group,and i missed the topic,would you please tell me which movie it is?

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Sondheim is a musical genius, whether or not you liked the plot....
Just MHO.

message 18: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) It's interesting to me how opinions are so often tossed around as fact. It's not difficult to imagine a qualifier added in, so as to understand that the person posting actually means "I personally thought..." or "in my opinion"... but honestly I still wish people would be more careful about how they go about criticizing film and books. Otherwise the post just becomes "I liked it" "I hated it". Which is basically meaningless.

Sondheim generally appeals to people with a rather off-kilter sense of rhythm, tone, and plot. He is sort of the Bob Dylan of theatrical musicals. Joel, you might be very trained musically and what you have been conditioned to appreciate might be a more traditional approach to harmonies. Dissonance takes a slightly different musical palate to appreciate. But saying something is dissonant is not saying that it "sounds bad". To someone like me, dissonance is a welcome change and can sometimes, when done with artistry, produce a state of unequalled bliss. As does Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and other such dissonant bastards.

message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert | 51 comments Charissa, thanks for the informed post above. I've admired Sondheim's work for years and felt that "Sweeney Todd" was the first movie to really capture his sound faithfully, even with major cuts taken from the score. (The film of "A Little Night Music" has largely been forgotten, and while I like Richard Lester's version of "Forum", he seemed to be at a loss when it came to the musical numbers.....) One of the things that Burton and company seem to have understood was that "Sweeney" is not a conventional musical with songs that punctuate the drama; it's more like one gargantuan musical piece.. If you aren't pulled in from the beginning, there aren't any real "show-stoppers' to do the trick later (though I'd say the duet between Depp and Rickman comes mighty close...)
But then, I'm also very much a fan of the "dissonant bastards" - Dylan, Waits, Leonard Cohen - what I have called "the guys with bad voices and attitudes to match...").

message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Speaking to Sweeney and dissonance, One of my absolute favorite moments musically is the discord of the violin during "Not While I'm Around." Seeing this performed live where the Toby was also the violinist was incredibly moving. I refer to the John Doyle production, where the actors played the instruments. I can't find a video clip of that song but here's a taste of what it was like having the cast as the orchestra.

message 21: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 3 comments I got majorly stoned before I went to see this movie and I still thought it was boring and predictable. Tim Burton's set-up was beautiful as usual, but it still didn't do it for me. My bloodshot eyes lit up when Sacha Baron Cohen showed up for a cameo. I wish I could have watched it on mute.

message 22: by Robert (new)

Robert | 51 comments I saw this for a second time today - My 12 year old son saw it with me earlier, but some of his friends wanted to see it so we decided to become Jack Valenti's Worst Nightmare by take a few of them to an R-rated movie.. For a second viewing, the music really became much more dominant and the playful, elusive nature of Sondheim's score was easier to follow. Burton's homage to horror films 9especially the Hammer/Amicus school) remained equally gripping, and I found myself recalling the kind of shocking effects I experienced during double features of Christopher Lee movies 40 years ago..

message 23: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) Robert... viva la dissonance!

message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert | 51 comments Thanks, Charissa. I am,admittedly, a Sondheim fan, but I don't think that prejudiced me, as my favorite Sondheim material is pretty atypical: The "Stavisky" score, "Pacific Overtures" and "The Last of Sheila"...

message 25: by Vitiating (new)

Vitiating | 4 comments I loved it. Johnny Depp was incredible, in fact, all of the cast were amazing.

message 26: by lilias (new)

lilias I thought it was boring. I was so disappointed. I LOVE Depp and really like HBC and some Burton movies, but I just sat there thinking I should have stayed home & watched Edward Scissorhands or Cry Baby.

message 27: by K (new)

K | 39 comments I actually thought it was a little overrated! I got a little bored during the middle, although musicals aren't my cup o' tea.

message 28: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (dwell_ondreams) I thought it was brilliant. I love gore, I love Johnny Depp, I love Tim Burton, I love Alan Rickman. It was the perfect movie for me. I was really impressed by Alan & Johnny singing. I mean, they're obviously not professionals, but still. Alan Rickman.

message 29: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments Hmmm... It's been a while since I saw it and I must say that I am not a huge fan. I did enjoy it, but remembering how much I expected from it and waited for it, it was a definite let-down. I am a great JD, TB and HBC fan but, alas, this movie failed to impress me as much as it could have. It did delight me and had its great moments, but I have seen so much better, from Tim and Johnny both. Parts of it were, in my opinion, boring, some parts just ludicrous and not at all funny.

message 30: by Kariel Atreyu (new)

Kariel Atreyu | 1 comments we're doing the musical version for our summer show at my school

message 31: by Angie (new)

Angie I just saw this, I did enjoy the songs and the colors they used on the screen. But I thought it was going to be a little more scary. I liked the make-up they used too. Johnny Depp looked freaky!

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