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Sweeney Todd (both movie and musical)

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I am big into musical theater and I am very fond of the original cast with George Hern and all of them. The new movie was better than i thought it was going to be. Granted that none of the people in it were singers. The scenery was pleasing and i thought the art aspect of it was very well done. The singing needed work but hey, they did their best. I also thought Depp looked too young in the movie. Todd is supposed to be played by a mature man in his 40's-50's.

The musical is the one I enjoy the most. he set was simple but effective. The voices were amazing and brought out the show the best.

What is everyone's opinions on these two?

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Yeah, when you watch the movie, you just got to get over the fact that Depp doesn't have a great voice right from the beginning. Once you clear that hurdle, it's a good, fun movie. Personally, I'm more a fan of cinema than stage, so as a follower of Burton I was a little disappointed. Usually his creepy, dark aesthetic is made very unique and enjoyable because it incorporates a cute, loveable twist. Edward Scissorhands, one of my favorite movies, is ripe with examples. In this one, there isn't so much that's cute. It's more straight-forwardly dark and gory, but it still makes relatively good use of the musical format, which was enjoyable.

As for Depp, he looks a bit young, but I'm pretty sure he's actually in his 40s. No matter, he still makes the film work.

More could be said, but in general, good movie.

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I was rather annoyed at the fact that they completely removed the part of the ensemble. OK -- I can think of ample justification for the removal of The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, because it probably wouldn't seem very important within the format of a movie. But honestly, was I the only one who thought "God That's Good" (one of the best numbers in the entire musical in my opinion) was terribly done? Aside from the fact that more than half of the number was cut, one never even hears the words "God That's Good" because it's the ensemble that sings it!

I don't believe that one has to completely change a musical in order for it to translate well to the big screen. Take Phantom of the Opera for instance. That was an outstanding movie. In fact, I saw it on Broadway just a few months after the movie came out, and in all honesty, I preferred the movie!

Edited by jcarey
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Ok, so I'm gay. I mean, I don't sleep with men, but for all intents and purposes, I'm fruitier than a smoothie. This Christmas I recieved High School Musical (Extended Edition) and Hairspray on DVD, along with a new cravate. I, basically, love things which are fabulous. This is just to give some pre-text, so you understand what sort of person is reviewing this film.

The first thing that struck me, was that Sweeney Todd is Captain Jack Sparrow, locked in an Asylum for 20 years until all frivolity has been knocked out of him. For christ's sake, he arrives in the first scene on a boat with a sailor! :P Actually, the first thing that struck me just before this, was the intro: a long, drawn out CGI affair, which was alright. It's just that the great big organ pipes left me expecting something incredibly grandiose and spectacular, whereas I felt the film was very understated.

For example, the deaths themselves. They don't occur until the latter half of the film, and they are very quick, unbrutal affairs. I'm not one for needless violence, but I just thought Sweeney Todd could have been a bit more malicious in his behaviour. To be fair, it might just have been a decision by Burton, to make Sweeney a very cold, disconnected psychopath, so that he takes no real excitement in what he's doing. But, with everything that is built up, the careful creation of his barber chair, his obsession over his knives, his furious excitement to get back at the Judge, you'd think he'd be a bit more... focused, rather than staring off into middle-distance.

Now, the songs themselves. I loved them. I had a huge grin during 'Pretty Woman'. There is nothing which tickles me quite like two male singers doing a great duet. It's the harmony that does it for me. The 'bom bom bom' and whistling of Johnny Depp sounded great too. The same is true on the second version of 'Johanna', with that Sailor boy and Sweeney doing a duet. However, whilst I understand that Burton must have been going for some sort of effect, juxtaposing the soft singing of Sweeney of that song with the gruesome throat slitting, it didn't do it for me.

My favourite scene remains that 'By The Sea' song, with Sweeney staring at his feet, looking morose in every shot. Do you know why? It's exactly as Aleph said: Burton makes dark films, but they are darkly cute. And this scene was nothing short of that, with Depp in his monochrome swim-suit.

The one unforgivable part, was Burton's choice to keep that damn, annoying, plucky, Victorian stereotype from the original musical. The 'Oi mister, why I've just gone skapered from the workhouse' stereotype. 'Oliver!' is my most hated theatrical production, because it has two of these kids (the namesake, and the Artful Dodger - not to mention the whole group of kids at the Workhouse or at Fagin's). Fine, he serves his purpose as being Sweeney's downfall, but, frankly, I thought it was weak to have such a small, insignificant character, bring him down. A quick suicide on realisation of what he did to his wife would have sufficed.

The final point I would like to make is on the character of Sweeney Todd himself. I never felt he had good cause to do what he did. I never found myself rooting for him, like I would for the similar vigilante character, such as Batman or The Punisher, because of his inherent nihilism, "We all deserve to die/Even you Mrs Luvet/Even I!" and his belief that he can go around killing men for not being paragons of virtue, rather than for any actual injustice. I mean, he would have killed one of his potential victims, if his innocent wife and kid hadn't been present. He assumes that the guy must be a nice guy just because he has a pretty family. It's entirely arbitrary.

That said, the song in question is such a catchy tune, and I thought Depp delivered it immaculately. I think it underscores the whole theme of the fi;m and of his character, so it's important to do it right. His little growl on "I want you, bleeders" sent a little shiver down my spine.

Anyway, my recommendation: if you like musicals, this is a film worth seeing, however, you must get used to the Leitmotif, which means... well... a lot of the songs sound very similar. This isn't inherently bad, it just means you need to experience the whole thing as an evolving whole, with each song building upon the last. It's more like a long conversation done through song, rather than separate, distinguished situations.

You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweeney_Todd_...usical_analysis I only warn you, because it's not everyone's cup of tea, and you shouldn't let the fact that it isn't your typical musical style put you off (that is, if you watch enough musicals like me, that you actually pick up on this gay sort of stuff :P).

It was a good film, and I'd buy it on DVD, but I must say, I was aware of the severe thematic errors and conflicts which weren't so much disappointingly resolved, as much as disappointingly started. I shall be singing the score for many months to come.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I guess I am gay too - I loved the new Hairspray as much as the original. But I drawn the line at High School Musical. One of my daughters got it, and I sat through it thought I was going to die. It is kinda like Disney tried to do Grease but couldn't find anyone with talent. Horrible, horrible, horrible! That kid that played Troy (Effram whatshisface) did an outstanding job in Hairspray though.

I have not seen Sweeney Todd, but I bought the CD from the new movie when it came out. I really like it - but I have never had the opportunity to see the musical (or any of the previous versions of the Sweeney Todd story), so I guess I don't really have anything to compare it with. I think Depp did a pretty good job singing for someone that isn't a professional singer (I believe he doesn't sing in that band he has - though I could be wrong.)

My favorite musical would have to be Sound of Music - the movie.

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