The Sweeney Todd Post

Musicals…not among my favorite things in the world. But Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohan are, so this one was worth a try.

Art direction was classic Burton and looked pretty phenomenal on the bring screen, the opening credits in particular where pretty cool. The characters looked particularly downtrodden and London-y, as did the soggy, disease riddled streets they lived on. The only thing I’d have changed was Sweeny’s Bride-of-Frankenstein coif. It made him look like a joke walking though the streets. Like a Hot Topic shopper who accidentally got lost in the food court.

Casting was right on the money in all roles, particularly Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall. But it was Helen Bonham Carter that stole the show and proved that she was there for additional reasons besides banging the director. While many roles where lost to either bizarre (but effective) costuming and/or silly singing segments, Carter kept Mrs. Lovett strong through the whole film and proved to be one of the only really ‘likable’ roles in the film.

I did feel that the film took an unnecessary amount of gore to convey the plot. While I understand that the nature of the story involves thorought slitting and cannibal pies, I think one or two streaming fountains of blood would have sufficed. However Burton seemed to think that we need multiple angles of every slain Londoners windpipe and Kill Bill levels of squirtage. I also don’t think that we need to see so many dead bodies falling on their heads after each kill, but if I had to pick my battles I’d cut down on the neck razorings.

If Burton had abandoned the musical aspect there simply wouldn’t have been enough movie to pad out two hours. The film dragged, particularly in its second act and once the ending finally came about I can’t say I wasn’t relived that the exacerbated story was finally wrapping up. 90% of the film is Sweeny holding up his razor to the sky and singing to it, while looking at his reflection. Wait, maybe 91%. While it makes for a nice dramatic finish to one of the opening songs, it was defiantly not needed to the degree it was used. Overall though, this film is a classic example of the final product not being as good as the sum of its parts. With a solid cast, brilliant art direction and a well recognized story the film should be an instant hit. But I feel that the very nature of the musical has forced this film into the average category, despite efforts from the cast and crew. Glad to have seen it. But can’t see myself watching it again.

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