27.12.07

Sweeeeeeeeennnnyyyyyyyy

Thing One and I saw the movie, and, well... I've seen three Broadway versions, so I'm pretty well versed on the musical. I could have sworn I'd posted a review of the most recent version (which I saw with Thing Two, a Broadway-phobe) but apparently I hadn't. I'd decided at that time that the best combination, for me, would be Michael Cerveris and Angela Lansbury (Patti LuPone had the requisite weirdness, but her voice bothers me at times). Knowing the symbiotic relationship between Depp/Burton/Bonham Carter, I was looking forward to at least a good time, if not a credible version (and let's not start on my Alan Rickman obsession).

So, what did I think? Sondheim's opinion to the contrary, losing "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" was a mistake. So was keeping "Green Finch and Linnet Bird". Those were minor niggles - the bigger ones were editing "A Little Priest" (c'mon! let Sweeney crack a smile and at least one joke) and cutting the Quartet (at least the Judge's part in it should have been retained). Beyond that, the winnowing down of the music was done quite well and most of it was hardly noticed (that boring song the Beadle and Mrs. Lovett sing? who cared????) One other cut that shouldn't have happened: the Beggar Woman approaching Sweeney at the opening, because that sets up the horror of the ending. IMVHO, of course.

Acting/singing-wise, I was thrilled, for the most part. The fact that it's film, not theatre, allows for more subtlety in facial and vocal expression, which worked very well in the this case. 95% of Depp's work was wonderful, but there was a small percentage of time when I noticed his thin voice and the over-reliance on accent (he could out-EastEnd real EastEnders!). Bonham Carter's voice was, I thought, more problematic and thin, particularly when she needed a Big Voice (during "A Little Priest", "Worst Pies in London" or "Not While I'm Around"). Rickman? Very credible singing. And Sasha Baron Cohen was, for the first time since I became aware that he existed, not annoying.

After the film, we tried to figure out where we'd seen Anthony (aka Jamie Campbell Bower) before. Nowhere, apparently. We'll see if this is really a rising star or just a lucky role. And Toby (Ed Sanders) was wonderful. Anyone doing a revival of Oliver? He's your lead. Really.

One last comment/query: Thing One swears that Anthony Stewart Head appears in the crowd scene for Pirelli. IMBD doesn't list him, but perhaps an uncredited cameo? Or was he seeing things?

Don't worry about the blood. It's so cartoonish you won't have nightmares, although you might want to stay away from hamburger and other mystery meats for a while.

4 comments:

Aravis said...

I loved the Cerveris/Lansbury combination as well, and wondered what the movie would be like. I'll probably wait until it's released on DVD (love Netflix!), but I'm likely to watch it now.

Thanks for the review. :0)

stj said...

totally enjoyed the movie and it proves once again how good depp/burton are as a team. the thraot cutting at least brought color to the palette (sp?).
as for anthony stewart head I knew that I wasn't losing my mind as:
"His website recently announced that he would have a role in Sweeney Todd (2007 film), as a ballad soloist and one of Todd's murder victims. Due to the ailing of Johnny Depp's daughter, the schedule became tight and his character, as well as the characters of 13 other actors, were dropped from the film. He still made an uncredited cameo appearance as a character who asks whether Sweeney Todd has an establishment of his own."
good to know that the old neurons fire correctly at least once in a while....

Lazygal said...

Head as the Ballad Singer... that would have been nice!

Nancy White said...

Ah, another fellow Rickman fan. I should have known!