2008, you’ve got it coming to you…and finally I review Sweeney Todd

3 Jan

It’s the new year. Honestly, I feel like this will be a good year. I’ve figured out what I’m going to do about my education. I’ve gotten my disease on track, and I’m pretty sure that 2008 can be better than 2007. 2007 was um…difficult. Very difficult indeed. I’ve already set my resolutions, and one of them is to starting writing a book. Not to finish it–that will be impossible, but to start one and stay dedicated to it. My other resolution is to a two-part resolution. The first is to eat less, and the second is to move more, because I know that everyone makes that resolution to diet or lose weight, and I swear that from the get go, it’s already jinxed. So none of that.

Oh, now to my Sweeney Todd review…finally.

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I think that I saw 5 movies in the month of December, that’s how bored I was. But, above all others, Sweeney Todd was the only that I went home afterwards and downloaded the soundtrack and told my friends, “you have to see this movie,” so that I wouldn’t spoil any of the story for them.

Well, too bad for you. For any real fans of musicals, let alone Sondheim musicals, you should already know the story. There’s Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. Sweeney is a vengeful barber of fleet street that slits his customers throats and Mrs. Lovett’s makes a business out of baking the bodies in her meat pies.

Pretty gruesome, I know.

Steven Sondheim is like the Shakespeare of contemporary musicals, and “Sweeney” is a far cry from any of his other musicals, so it took a real creative mind to do the story justice. That’s where Tim Burton came in. And he brought “Sweeney” to the big screen, in a big way. Not only was the filming signature Burton, but he, again, brought in his wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter to play the sweet, yet sadistic Mrs. Lovett. She sang a cute song about how she and Sweeney could live “By the Sea,” and yet shared a duet with him about baking “A Little Priest” (that one was my favorite on the soundtrack). I really think that she, her husband and Johnny Depp deserve Oscars for their work. Speaking of Johnny Depp…ah, I’ll get to that in a minute.

The music was stupendous, but no one really can give a bad critique to Sondheim classics. But the music was so amazing, not just because of it’s writer, but who sang it. I mean, who’oulda thought that “Borat,” a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen could hit a high G? I definitely didn’t. Cohen brought a wittiness to the movie that needed some light-heartedness as Signor Adolfo Pirelli, Sweeney’s rival London barber. His complete narcissism is so refreshing next to Depp’s self-deprecating Sweeney. My favorite part of the movie was the contest between the two of them to see who could give the closest shave, and Pirelli’s ego kept him from winning.

Alan Rickman gave another absolutely creepy performance, just as he does as Professor Snape. It was a little weird that there were three actors from the latest Harry Potter movie, Rickman, Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall, who played Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter and Beadle Bamford in “Sweeney.” But I guess that’s just my observation. As I was saying, Rickman will always be best at playing disgusting characters, I mean, he say a duet with Johnny Depp called “Pretty Women” about his own captive adoptive daughter. It just makes me say ‘yuck.’ But he earned what he got in the end, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

The most surprising part of the cast was the young man who played Toby, Ed Sanders. This was his very first part in a movie, and he’s already received a nomination from the Broadcast Film Critics Association as “best young actor.” He did a terrific job taking on Sondheim songs and measuring up to veterans in the film industry in a film that was very well-received in stage as well. There isn’t much information on Sanders out there, but I’m sure that he will get more acting gigs, most likely in Tim Burton films.

Now, to the coup de grâce of Sweeney Todd–Johnny Depp. Okay, so I can say how wonderful Johnny Depp is, how handsome he is, how his unconventional voice was actually very nice, how much he finally deserves a freaking Oscar for his performance, but I’ll tell you a little story instead. One of my best friends Cassie is, how can I say obsessed but even more extreme? Anyway, she has two tattoos because of him, one huge portrait of Jack Sparrow, and a heart on her arm with “Johnny Depp Forever” written in it. Seriously. We warned her that she’ll regret it in 10 years or so, but she didn’t listen to us after the first one, so she went and got another one for Christmas. We went to go see the movie the day before Christmas Eve, and she was so excited that she could wouldn’t even talk during the movie, which she does frequently. Once the movie was over, she couldn’t speak for about five minutes after the final scene…and she cried. When we got back in the car, and I looked at her tattoo again, and I thought to myself, “if she ever does regret her tattoos in the future, because she’ll grow out of loving Pirates as much as she does, I think that if she watches Sweeney Todd, she won’t anymore.” Yeah, Johnny Depp’s performance was so great, that it will restore one’s faith in a ridiculous, 18-year-old decision.

He’s that good.

And I won’t spoil the end for you, I promise.

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There, I finally wrote it. I feel better too.

❤ Abby

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