Sweeney Todd 2 Disc set
Reviewed by Mr. Stinkhead the demon toy collector of Fleet Street
7 out of 10
I was familiar with the Sweeney Todd story, I saw the video of the 1970's broadway production with Angela Lansbury, back when I was in high school. I thought it was kind of cool that you had an decidely uncool medium (broadway musicals) portraying one of the coolest subject matters, cannibalism. I though the video was alright, I liked the story better than the music, but enjoyed it enough.
When I heard Tim Burton was tackling Sweeney Todd (as his first live-action musical no less), I was intrigued, but not all the way sold. 1989
s Batman is one of my favorite movies (check the name of the web site you're reading). I loved NBX, Mars Attacks, Edward Scissorhands and even rented Frankenweenie back in the day. The man knows what he's doing. Or does he? I found what he did to the beloved Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka) was an abomination. I seriously resented those films and would do anything for that collective 4 hours back. Seriously man, how could you think that those were comparable enough to the classics to release them? ugh. Anyway... here's something he's not remaking, but definately lending his own distinctive voice too, I wanna see.
The piece definately has Tim Burton all over it. The sets, costume, tone, it's all his. Using Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, further cements that you are in a Tim Burton experience. The cool thing is to know that neither Depp nor Helena had extensive professional singing experience. You can tell they're not full time singers, but they do a very impressive job, you can tell they trained successfully for these parts (yeah, take that Micheal J Fox in Back to the Future).
The movie is clearly a musical... there is hardly any non-sung dialogue. I wasn't sure how far Burton would go, but he sure lined it wall to wall with singing. My wife loves musicals, so I have been exposed to repeated listenings of Rent, Les Miz, Legally Blonde the Musical, Wicked, JC Superstar, Urinetown, and more, I don't particularly enjoy musical theater, but I'll be damned if there isn't at least one catchy tune from each one (hello What you Want or Defying Gravity!!!eleventy) I didn't really find any of the songs in Sweeney Todd to be catchy or all that memorable. But it is still an enjoyable movie even if you don't love musicals. Besides, this is Sondheim's fault. Not Burton's.
I really wish they had delved more into the mythos of cannibalism. Supposedly its so delicious and so maddeningly addictive, you can't go back to eating anything else. This story merely uses the theme of cannibalism as a metaphor to the society of the time that will do anything to survive, much less "get ahead" (there's not much "ahead" in this dreary victorian London). Having recently suffered through The Devil Wears Prada, THAT movie could have really used a subtext of cannibalism. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Finger lickin' good.
You can pick up this movie starting tomorrow on Amazon.com