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  1.  (1095.1)
    Since I Am Legend, which had some serious flaws, I have watched some fucking great films, reviewed here. So, my latest reviews have been very positive. You're probably thinking, "oh, he's saying that so he'll prepare me for a very negative review of Sweeney Todd...". Wrong. I fucking loved Sweeney Todd.

    Since the ultraviolent (and very good) Sleepy Hollow - nine years ago -, Tim Burton took a different direction on his brilliant career. Instead of being dark and gothic, his latest movies have been more colored and funny. Movies like Big Fish (a good adventure), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (unecessary remake, really), Planet of the Apes (weak) and Corpse Bride (dark but funny, and a great film). Now, Burton's back to the world of shadows, gothic architecture and artistic violence. And what a return.

    Well-written by John Logan (whose irregular career has been getting much better), the script tells the story of Benjamin Barker, a barber who lived happily with his wife and daughter, until judge Turpin, who wanted Barker's wife, had him arrested under false charges. Fifteen years later, Barker returns to London wanting revenge, and finds out from piemaker Ms. Lovett that his wife poisoned herself and his daughter has been adopted by Turpin. Barker then changes his name to Sweeney Todd and starts planning a way of killing judge Turpin. He sets up a barbershop in which he kills his customers and has them cut up so Ms. Lovett can make pies with their meat.

    The movie already impresses with incredibly dark cinematography by Dariusz Wolski, making a heavy use of light and shadow. It's interesting to notice the movie gradually becomes more colored, reflecting Sweeney's state of mind: the more he kills, the more "alive" he feels, in a sad portray of his deteriorating mind. But throughout the whole movie, every frame is beautifully shadowed and colored, no matter what Todd's state of mind is.

    Burton's direction is probably the best of his career and that's saying something. Composing every frame with care and intelligence, he creates excellent camera movements that enrich the story and characters. Also, he doesn't cut the audience any slack: every drop of blood, every cut throat is shown in perfect detail, in a wonderful "fuck you" to politically correct.

    Burton also puts up a show during the musical scenes, which he directs like a master. Joel Schumacher and his Phantom of the Fucking Opera have a lot to learn. Burton's camera travels elegantly across the scene, using mirrors and inventive angles to make the mood stronger but avoiding melodrama (which Schumacher's Phantom was full of). But the music is secondary, serving the purpose of enriching the story instead of calling attention to itself (once again, one of Schumacher's mistakes in Phantom of the Opera) And the singers? Great, thank you very much. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter sing as well as the film demands them to. They're not professional singers, but they do a very nice job. If you think they're as bad as Gerard Butler in Phantom, get your ears examined. Also, the soundtrack by Stephen Sondheim is great.

    The cast is perfect. It's great to see so many spectacular actors all in one movie. Beggining with my all-time favorite, Johnny Depp. Versatile, brave and brilliant in choosing his roles (it's hard to find a bad movie with Johnny Depp in it), Depp adds another great character to his magnificent career. Depp's Sweeney is utterly obsessed and, as the movie progresses, becomes increasingly psychotic, something Depp portrays in a haunting performance. His face when he finds out his wife poisoned herself and when he kills his first victim are the kind of face that stay with you long after the session.

    Helena Bonham Carter proves her talent once again. Ms. Lovett is apparently a sweet woman with no talent at all for making pies... but under the surface there's a monster in her, that hides behind her sad smile. An ambiguity that makes the character very interesting.

    Alan Rickman, who recently offered a fantastic performance in Perfume, is, of course, excellent. Brilliant actor, really. He creates a hateful villain without being histeric or making Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader "look, I'm evil" faces.

    The rest of the cast is also very good, with special mention to Sacha Baron Cohen (famous for playing Borat) and Timothy Spall. But Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony doesn't shine as much as the rest of the cast (he's decent, though) and Jayne Wisener is the weak link in an excellent cast. They might aswell have replaced her with a wax statue.

    I see Sweeney Todd as the opposite of Edward Scissorhands. While poor Edward was misunderstood and didn't want to hurt no-one, Sweeney fools people into his chair and kills them very much on purpose, enjoying every second of it. Two sides of the same coin. Both movies are about the how rotten human beings can be, and both movies are magnificent.
  2.  (1095.2)
    The older version with Angela lansburry (or hwoever you spell her name) is better, IMHO.
  3.  (1095.3)
    Haven't watched it, and frankly, don't even feel like it. Not after this version. Oh, and it's Angela Lansbury. :P
  4.  (1095.4)
    I saw the older version as a child.
    I've seen clips of the new version, and honestly I just don't like it as much. The costuming struck me as okay, the character designs bored me, and the music just didn't do it for me; never got to see the new version in the theatre, so I'm waiting until it's on dvd.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
     (1095.5)
    The only problem I had with the movie is that they sucked out a lot of the dark comedy of the play. If you thought "A Little Priest" was funny, then the play version is 10 times funnier.

    Still a fucking great movie, just...man, I wanted to hear Depp and Carter sing that "everybody goes down well with beer." :(
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (1095.6)
    The audience I watched it with laughed out loud a number of times. It was generally received as a good time had by all.

    I'd also add Sacha Baron Cohen didn't get nearly enough screen time or credit for his work. Excellent singing voice (Burton commented, "I wish we had a camera, because he literally went through the whole score of Fiddler on the Roof" [during audition]), two completely different accents (neither of which was similar to his actual speaking voice), and the ability to overshadow anyone sharing the screen with him. Overshadowing the very talented Mr Depp & Ms Carter is not any easy task, but he sure made it look that way.

    This was my favourite movie of 2007.

    - Z
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
     (1095.7)
    Stephen Sondheim is clever. I've always loved quite a few of his shows. The man has a way with lyric. ;P This was a very good version of the musical... the filming of the broadway performance with Angela Lansbury and George Hearn was damn good, though. The movie missed a lot of the comic relief with Johanna. In the film, you don't get to see how....dim....she was. Heh. Hearn did a more powerful Sweeney, but Jamie Bower made the film Antony one hell of a lot.....creepier. The Cast recording makes "Johanna" sound very cock-eyed optimist, but in the Burton film.....it suits the lyrics better. Bower made the song creepily stalker-obsessed. It gave me goosebumps.