Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweeney Todd; one sharp flick

GET IT?! It was either that or "Sweeney Todd; A cut above the rest." Or maybe "Sweeney Todd; A movie to gush over." Either way, you're still groaning at the bad pun and I'm still laughing for having made you read it. Me: 1. You: Zero.

On to the business at hand. First of all, Sweeney Todd did not turn out to be the festive bundle of holiday cheer I was expecting to experience on Christmas day. Odd. Also, this is a poor choice of film if you're going to eat rare prime rib immediately following and be present for the juicy carving process. Almost missed out on a fantastic Christmas dinner thanks to Burton's foray into necksplosions and, well, more necksplosions.

If you aren't into musicals, this flick is not for you. I'm talking even if you are a huge Tim Burton fan or Johnny Depp groupie. There is very little spoken word throughout. If you enjoy people breaking into song more frequently than in any Disney movie ever made, this could be your cup-o-tea.Otherwise, stay away. Still with me? Good. Let's continue.

If memory serves me correctly, Sweeney Todd the Broadway musical was equal parts comedy and terror. Unfortunately, Burton chose to focus on the darker aspects of the work rather than break for a few more laughs throughout. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty black-humor titters to be had, but I wouldn't have minded a few more excuse to escape the over-the-top blood and grit of the piece.

For the most part, Sweeney Todd stays true to the source material while still displaying every Burton trademark imaginable. From the pale, sunken-eyed cast to the sweeping camera work and twisted view of London, the man behind the adaptation leaves his footprint at every turn. I like Burton, so this is a good thing.

As for the actors themselves, Johnny Depp as the ravenous Sweeney Todd and Helena Boham Carter as the love-struck baker are simply perfect. The chemistry is spot-on and their singing is good enough to get the job done. Carter, for one, surprised me with her voice on many occasions. It would be a great disservice if I did not also mention how great Sacha Baron Cohen and Alan Rickman were. These two enjoyed their roles and it shows.

If you're in the mood for a darkly beautiful, often disturbing, seldom boring movie-going experience, I'm going to recommend this one for a look-see. The music wasn't as memorable as I would have liked, but everything else will dig in deep and splash a coat of crimson across your thoughts long after the credits roll.

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