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Sweeney Todd (2007)
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Review Date: February 20, 2008
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: John Logan
Producers: John Logan, Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, Richard Zanuck
Actors:
Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Alan Rickman
Plot:
A beautiful young barber is taken away from his beautiful young wife and child, when an asshole of a local British judge decides that he doesn’t like his face, particularly when it’s married to that beautiful young wife of his. The film begins 15 years later as the beautiful young barber returns to London (no longer so beautiful) and finds that his wife is gone and his child, holed up with that asshole of a judge. Lots of singing, meat pies, bloody murder and people reciting their dialogue in song (sigh) ensues.
Critique:
This is one of those “Either you like it or you don’t” movies, and despite it looking 100% “up my alley” on paper, I was bored out of my skull during many a scene in this film, and wouldn’t dare recommend it to anyone who, like me, doesn’t like old fashioned musicals. And by that, I mean films in which characters suddenly break out into song, and not a “fun time” song, but rather one whose lyrics are apparently part of the plotline and you’re supposed to be able to hear them clearly as the actors wail over really loud background music. Bah! Humbug!! It’s funny because despite my dislike of musicals, I actually have enjoyed a few of the more “recent” ones including MOULIN ROUGE, mostly because the characters’ singing weren’t trying to mince their dialogue with the song lyrics. That said, it wasn’t just the musical stuff that I didn’t appreciate in this film, as the story itself was a little boring at first, and ultimately, a little too improbable. Yeah sure, I dug all of the bloody killings near the end, but that stuff barely started before the one-hour mark, up to which point I was straining my ears to figure out what the hell anybody was saying (the British accents didn’t help either).

Of course, as a “Tim Burton movie”, everything looked as dark, gothic and cool as ever, and everything from the costumes to the streets of London to anything else before one’s eyes, worked supremely well, but heck…give me an interesting character or two, will you? What’s with everyone in the film being really mean and nasty? Even Johnny Depp, as the titular character, didn’t manage to pull me into the movie as he usually does. Really though, I believe one’s appreciation for this gothic cinematic musical will come from one’s appreciation of Broadway plays and everything that comes with them. Burton is one of my favorite directors of all-time, and Depp is one of my favorite actors of all-time, and many of their previous collaborations are among my favorite films of all-time, but even all those positive preambles couldn’t get me to wanna stay put in my seat as a young homeless boy started crooning about how much he loved this girl he just saw in a window or when Depp took two minutes to sing “Hello” to his cutting blades. Even Helena Bonham Carter, looking her most Marla Singer-ish, wasn’t able to get me to pop a fanboy woodie for this flick. As for the songs themselves? Meh. And yes, even though I’m not a fan of singing dialogue moments, I can appreciate a catchy tune if I hear one, but there weren’t many that caught my ear during this picture. Maybe you have to be a fan of the play itself or see it a few times? I don’t know.

Alls I know is that despite all of the trimmings that should have had me foaming at the mouth, very little in this film actually entertained me and that’s a hard thing to say considering my love for most everyone involved with this movie. The songs took me out of it, the story wasn’t all that interesting, the characters were mostly jerks and I had zero emotional connection to almost everyone in the film. It also lasted about 30 minutes too long. Sure, it looked really dark and cool, the directing was effective, the actors were solid and the film’s final 20-30 minutes did get somewhat entertaining and bloody (less songs too), but overall, this was an uneven misfire in my view. Even the nomination for Depp as Best Actor at this year’s Oscars is surprising to me. The man has played at least a dozen other characters with more depth and worth than this one-note nutjob. “You sir! Too, sir!” Fuck off.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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4:33PM on 10/31/2010
This is one of the RARE times where I disagree. I'm not the biggest musical fan either, plus I hate broadway. But this movie for some reason I adored! I actually liked the two main characters and I was almost never bored. I loved the songs and the music and the acting was fantastic.
My sole flaw would be the subplot with Johanna and the boy. I didn't believe in their love story. They never even spoke. Either develop that subplot or cut it out all together becasue it added nothing in
This is one of the RARE times where I disagree. I'm not the biggest musical fan either, plus I hate broadway. But this movie for some reason I adored! I actually liked the two main characters and I was almost never bored. I loved the songs and the music and the acting was fantastic.
My sole flaw would be the subplot with Johanna and the boy. I didn't believe in their love story. They never even spoke. Either develop that subplot or cut it out all together becasue it added nothing in my eyes.
Your Reply:



12:09AM on 07/22/2010

I think of it as just speaking with a "musical" accent.

Exceeded my expectations. I'm not a fan of musicals either. But this is so far from the usual song & dance musicals that it totally worked for me.

The rage and violence of Depp's Sweeney is spot on. Burton's productions is quite amazingly macabre, which I always enjoy. Other performances were very well done as well.
Exceeded my expectations. I'm not a fan of musicals either. But this is so far from the usual song & dance musicals that it totally worked for me.

The rage and violence of Depp's Sweeney is spot on. Burton's productions is quite amazingly macabre, which I always enjoy. Other performances were very well done as well.
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6:21AM on 03/30/2008
I agree! Why did anyone rate this film? I'm English and I love Sondheim and Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall and it was crap!!!
I agree! Why did anyone rate this film? I'm English and I love Sondheim and Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall and it was crap!!!
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9:26PM on 03/23/2008

I Loved Sweeney Todd!

I felt this movie was done excellently. I knew what to expect having watched one of the near original performances with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury. They did the movie also flawlessly if not better. Sure some of the parts of it were "meh" but overall it was done almost like the original. If anything the orchestra had more to it I think also. I'm anticipating the April 1st release of it on DVD.
I felt this movie was done excellently. I knew what to expect having watched one of the near original performances with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury. They did the movie also flawlessly if not better. Sure some of the parts of it were "meh" but overall it was done almost like the original. If anything the orchestra had more to it I think also. I'm anticipating the April 1st release of it on DVD.
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7:31PM on 02/20/2008
couldnt disagree more with you, you seemed to have missed every point in this movie. Im not a musical fan but this movie kept me entertained from start to end, maybe because of the hype that surrounded the movie you had a mindset to dislike it off the bat, thats the problem with reviewers, you dont go to the movies to sit there and enjoy it, you go there to pick it apart...to tell you the truth thats a sucky way to watch movies
couldnt disagree more with you, you seemed to have missed every point in this movie. Im not a musical fan but this movie kept me entertained from start to end, maybe because of the hype that surrounded the movie you had a mindset to dislike it off the bat, thats the problem with reviewers, you dont go to the movies to sit there and enjoy it, you go there to pick it apart...to tell you the truth thats a sucky way to watch movies
Your Reply:



7:12PM on 02/20/2008

Hmmm...

While I agreed with you on "No Country for Old Men", I really have to disagree w/ you on this one joblo. I thought the look and feel and even music all meshed together to create one of the best films of last year. To each his own I guess.
While I agreed with you on "No Country for Old Men", I really have to disagree w/ you on this one joblo. I thought the look and feel and even music all meshed together to create one of the best films of last year. To each his own I guess.
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11:14AM on 02/20/2008
I have to say your review is near spot-on.
I was looking forward to this film; Barber that slits throats & woman making meat pies out of victims; Sounded a like a bloody, good time. But no; I didn't care for the songs, lyrics, actors...
At least the visuals were very nice, although I'll take the newest Rambo for bloodshed & fun times over this.
I have to say your review is near spot-on.
I was looking forward to this film; Barber that slits throats & woman making meat pies out of victims; Sounded a like a bloody, good time. But no; I didn't care for the songs, lyrics, actors...
At least the visuals were very nice, although I'll take the newest Rambo for bloodshed & fun times over this.
Your Reply:



10:58AM on 02/20/2008

Wrong for a third time in a row

For yet a third time, I must strongly dissent from your opinion. This was my favorite film of 2007. I also happen to love Depp's performance in this. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean anyone else does. You also don't seem to get the point of the musical. Sweeney's blades are extensions of himself and, after his imprisonment, his rage. I also happened to find most of the main characters (Sweeney, Lovett, Turpin, Pirelli, and Toby) to be VERY interesting. JimmyO hit the nail on the head
For yet a third time, I must strongly dissent from your opinion. This was my favorite film of 2007. I also happen to love Depp's performance in this. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean anyone else does. You also don't seem to get the point of the musical. Sweeney's blades are extensions of himself and, after his imprisonment, his rage. I also happened to find most of the main characters (Sweeney, Lovett, Turpin, Pirelli, and Toby) to be VERY interesting. JimmyO hit the nail on the head with his review, but yours, with all due respect, misses the mark entirely.
Your Reply:



4:18AM on 02/20/2008

!!!

Wow I'm surprised to see someone agree with me! Good to see Joblo!
Wow I'm surprised to see someone agree with me! Good to see Joblo!
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2:07AM on 02/20/2008
Beautiful movie. Depressing and tragic and true to its own logic and character with no Hollywood mish-mash and happy, unbelievable endings. Johnny Depp excelled, and so did Bonham Carter, but the true jewels among the actors were Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall as the villains. Not to mention Sacha Baron Cohen's amazingly hilarious portrayal of the "Italian" barber. The songs were not really songs, it was dialogue and I loved it. I liked the contrast between the characters and their surroundings
Beautiful movie. Depressing and tragic and true to its own logic and character with no Hollywood mish-mash and happy, unbelievable endings. Johnny Depp excelled, and so did Bonham Carter, but the true jewels among the actors were Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall as the villains. Not to mention Sacha Baron Cohen's amazingly hilarious portrayal of the "Italian" barber. The songs were not really songs, it was dialogue and I loved it. I liked the contrast between the characters and their surroundings in Marla's fantasy scenes (the nature is beautiful and shiney while they are pale and scary still). I was slightly annoyed by the high-pitched singing voice of Johanna, but she didn't have much of a screen time to affect the entire experience.
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