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Musical attack! ;) [Dec. 22nd, 2007|12:30 pm]
[mood |calmcalm]
[music |Dead Like Me]

So, here's where I eat my words. ;)

I've been pretty outspoken about Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd film.

I went to see it last night and I didn't hate it! I give it a solid B+. No spoilers here, but for those that want to tlk about the film, the Broadway show & revivals, the tour, the story, etc... by all means, please comment. :) So.. expect spoilers in the comments. :)

I'll say this. I still don't understand why they would cast a lead actress who can't sing the right notes. I didn't agree with most of her character choices, but for the ones she made, her acting was good. Even if her voice bothered me, a lot. Though, after a half an hour, you kinda get used to it, and forget how those songs were written. Her acting did make up for her lack of vocal skills. And she provided subtle comedy, which I was not a fan of in the previews and trailer but were cohesive and entertaining in the entirety of the film.

Cinematically speaking it was amazing. The costumes were spectacular. I want so many of those damn dresses. Plenty bloody. Many very funny scenes. Some of the humour was taken out of where it was in the show and put into new places which is always fun to see.

Tobias and Anthony were the best singers. Judge Turpin and Sweeney Todd were the best actors. I think this is one of Johnny Depp's best roles.

Sweeney has been my favorite show for over a decade, and the idea of it spiralling into little girls wearing shirts from hot topic originally turned my stomach, but I'm coping better now. ;) And I'm a purist when it comes to Broadway overall, so the combination had me filled with trepidation. I was much more impressed then I went in wanting to be. lol. I was filled with negativity toward it, and I'm glad that I was able to see past my prejudice and enjoy this film for what it was. A musical on film. Taken off the stage it's an entirely different medium, and I did enjoy it. Though, I missed the Chorus desperately.

Your opinions for those that know the show, movie, etc?

And, because I want to share with you the Sweeney I'm used too, here's some clips from some of the stage shows and concerts.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SrtgkaiSfCk&feature=related A Little Priest from the concert with George Hearn and Patti Lupone

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0ncvaAIeEDA The Opening of the Broadway show that's been cut out. ( I miss my chorus. :( ). This is from the PBS airing of the production with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury from 1982.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=nY1HGK3_T8o&feature=related This is a Sweeney Montage from the 60th annual tony awards. Ths is the revival with Patti Lupone, Michael Ceveris, and lots of other folks. This is the most recent Broadway version and is also the tour as far as I understand that's been making it's way around Canadian and American cities. ( And I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this version, either. I don't like the costumes, I'm not sure how I feel about the actors playing instruments, and the downscaling of the show. But the singing's not bad. :) )

http://youtube.com/watch?v=VXg5tut9LXo&feature=related The London National Theatre Cast, 1994. I want this version, BAD. I like it a lot. Opening and Worst Pies in London.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DBCVaFqGJwg&feature=related The singing's not so great in this, but this is freakin' awesome!! It's Stephen Sondheim teaching Guildhall School students how to sing his songs. It's super cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOACd8lxLp0&e It's either Spanish or Italian. I suck and I can't be sure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9uEMKtYjXc Kennedy Center production, Celia Keenan-Bolger doing Green Finch And Linnet Bird. Good rendition. I'm critical on this one, it used to be my audition song for years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4PnkVuE62A&feature=related Same production, same girl as Johanna, but Hugh Panaro as Anthony! Ooh! This is Kiss Me, another that was cut from the film, but a great song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjnh_bnTWos&NR=1 And this is ust fun. Clips from Sweeney Todd to the Muppet Show song. haha..

Okay. I'm done. :) That's enough Sweeney for one day, I'm sure you'll all agree. ;)

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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 07:00 pm (UTC)
*nod* Definitely worth watching though. And in the mean time there's lots of Sweeney Todd links above. Maybe too many. haha. ;)
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[User Picture]From: canadianactor
2007-12-22 07:14 pm (UTC)
Best post ever.

Have you visited www.sondheim.com yet?

We've got a thriving community.

Finishing The Chat. ;)
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 08:39 pm (UTC)
;) And noo! I haven't. I must do so. Love it!! Finishing The Chat rocks my world. I love Sunday. :)
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[User Picture]From: amazingadrian
2007-12-22 08:20 pm (UTC)
I've heard that the actors chosen for the movie is the big thing that is making people wary of this flick. Johnny Depp is just untouchable though. ;)

Though, like you, I have no idea why they think they can cast people with no singing talent in a musical. That's just bad form.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 08:22 pm (UTC)
Agreed completely. I mean I know she's together with the Director, but in my opinion that would make it even more crucial that she can sing, before casting her, if I was in his position. Blah.

She can act though, which is more then I could say for her before this film.

Overall though, the cast wasn't too bad. Some real shining stars, to be sure.
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[User Picture]From: sparklylights
2007-12-22 09:16 pm (UTC)
Helena Bonham-Carter was cast as Mrs. Lovett cos she is married to Tim Burton!
I am looking forward to the film but I am not sure when it will be out here. Thanks for all of those links!
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oooh, really? I thought they'd be open around the same time. Bummer! Enjoy the links anywho. :) Some loverlyness for Sweeney fans.
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[User Picture]From: toothlesshag
2007-12-22 09:20 pm (UTC)
Geeze, Random, every time you share about yourself, I find that you and I have ALOT in common!

I can't wait to see it.

I'm already predjudiced against it because Johnny Depp is a Tenor in a deep Baratone roll....He should be singing "Johanna" not Sweeny's songs...
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 09:30 pm (UTC)
Agreed entirely. They did a lot of keyshifting, and lots of cuts, and they changed the words to Poor Thing. *blink*

I bet you'll like it though. I'm pretty hardcore when it comes to my Sweeney Todd, and I was overall pleasantly surprised.

I didn't know you were a Sweeney fan. Rock on. :)
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[User Picture]From: trish_punch
2007-12-22 10:12 pm (UTC)
Small world - my audition song for a long time was "Not While I'm Around." People would ask where it was from and when I said "Sweeney Todd" they would be surprised. Obviously they weren't true Toddys.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-22 10:59 pm (UTC)
LOL. Exactly. ;) Not While I'm Around's a great song too. I love it. What did you think of the film?
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[User Picture]From: loco_cerveza
2007-12-23 12:53 am (UTC)
I was thinking about seeing Sweeney Todd with your review I may make it point to go see in the next day or to.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-23 12:54 am (UTC)
I'm excited to hear what you think. :)
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[User Picture]From: chime_hippy
2007-12-23 03:29 am (UTC)
Hmm, just curious. Did you absolutely hate it when they turned "Rent" into a movie?

I know I did. I had been a fan of the musical for quite a while before it came to theaters (Though in all honesty, not very long before hand, but still.) And now I can't stand it whenever some choir kid breaks into "Seasons of Love." I didn't even like the movie. The musical is -much- better.

But anyways.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-23 03:46 am (UTC)
Actually, I LOVED the RENT movie. I know I'm in the crazy minority in that but I really enjoyed it. I didn't like that they had April die of AIDS instead of slitting her wrists.

I prefer the Mimi in the film to Daphne Rubin-Vega, so that was a big part of it for me. I can't stand her voice.

I love the musical though, certainly. I thought it was nice to see most everyone from the original show together on film. *shrug*
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From: truelovechild
2007-12-23 05:06 am (UTC)
Not reading the comments, because I haven't seen it, but I was severely depressed and disappointed today when I came within inches of being able to go see it but was instead forced to go watch a different movie at a different theater with my family.

I knew almost nothing about it when I first heard about it, but what I know is this: Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Johnny Depp (three of my favorite actors, my absolute favorite of all time being Rickman), in a musical (my favorite genre) by Tim Burton (second favorite director), couldn't add up to anything less than wonderful in some way. So, maybe I'll comment on some random post of yours when I actually do get to see it and I can have more than a giggly excited something to say about it.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-23 05:11 am (UTC)
I'm excited to hear what you think when you do get to it. :)
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[User Picture]From: justawench
2007-12-24 01:26 am (UTC)
Though, after a half an hour, you kinda get used to it, and forget how those songs were written.

Hah, I couldn't figure out if she got better or what. Both times I saw it, I was taken aback by the first part of "Worst Pies in London."

I thought Johnny Depp did a good job, better than I expected. If I could change anything, I'd have him be more emotional when he realizes it's Lucy, but other than that I was satisfied.

I did really like it overall, and agree HBC did a good job with the acting.

(Here via your post in veronica_rich's journal)
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-24 03:48 am (UTC)
lol! I know, that first part just had me chewing all of the inside of my mouth, to keep from whimpering. haha. ;)

And definitely. More emotion would hae been nice, and I would have ADORED if they had given Lucy more time in her "Bedeadle dumpling!" area so that the audience could realize who she was, and have that moment of "NOOO!" before he kills her. lol. Oh well.

And welcome! Sweeney fans are always encouraged and given meat pies when they come in. ;)

Here's one. 'Ot outta th'oven.
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[User Picture]From: devereux1880
2007-12-24 01:37 am (UTC)

I question thee

If I hate musicals on reflex will I hate this?

I'm interested in the story and the acting performances but musicals make me twitch, I can take Rocky Horror but even that after a while I feel like crawling into a corner and crying.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-24 03:49 am (UTC)

Re: I question thee

Mmm. Hard to say, honestly. Musicals are like my favorite thing on Earth and Sweeney's my favorite.

I'd say it's 60% singing.. and a lot of musical underscoring when there's not singing. Lots of humour though, and blood.. so maybe that would temper it for you?
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[User Picture]From: marguerlucy
2007-12-24 03:10 am (UTC)
ok here are my thoughts:

- I would have enjoyed helena's performance if she had more vocal variety. I think if she did, we would have found even more humor in her performance, but because she was stuck in just singing the lyrics straight, we lost a lot.

- all of the humor in her songs, in fact, came from Johnny Depp, which is the key difference in the two of them. Depp was as brooding as brooding can be, but he singing was very expressive, and he was able to turn it on a dime and delivery those hilariously dead-pan reactions in her two songs (my favorite part of the movie might have been By the Sea).

- Burton is REALLY good at working with music. I didn't miss the chorus because I realized that the chorus is a theatrical element for storytelling, and in movie-making that element is the visuals. And he managed to enhance the orchestrations with his visuals, which was awesome (like that busy shot between "no place like london" and "worst pies).

- it ended way too fast. I was ok w/Depp's cold reaction to lucy - I feel like after killing as many people as he did, that type of reaction was actually warranted. If he hadn't been killed so fast, we may have seen more. And on that note.... while it was really awesome for most of the movie to actually have a 12 year old as Toby, it didn't pay off so well at the end. But I did cry during "Not While I'm around."

- the part that actually gave me the most visceral reaction in the movie was when we see the peephole for the first time. I almost crawled under my seat i was so horrified.

- how hilarious is it that Burton managed to find the Musical Theatre Christina Ricci for his Johanna?

- Sacha Baron Cohen = a god with a guinea pig in his pants

- Initially, I found the approach to "A Little Priest" cute...but then i realized it took away from the wit of the lyrics.

ok that's all for now. Despite all those thoughts, i really loved it.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-24 04:03 am (UTC)
I was hoping you'd comment. ;)

- Agreed completely. If she had the singing talent she really could have given some life to her character and the lyrics.

- By the Sea rocked!!! Johnny was fantastic.

- Don't you think they could have done the reprise of Attend The Tale during the credits? I missed the closure. And it was really weird for me during Pirelli's Musical Elixir to have the crowd so quiet. I'm glad they cut the tooth pulling though.

- I didn't mind Johnny's reaction either and I LOVED the last shot. Wow. How epic was that? And I actually loved young Toby. It added that whole new level of pain to the end that I enjoyed. Especially with Toby talking about all the terrible things that happened to him in the work house and then Sweeney kills the woman he's come to love as his Mama.. I thought it was perfect. And I loved the little family unit with Toby present during By The Sea. That ROCKED!!

- Oh I LOVED the peephole!!! I'm glad they kept that. I wish they would have shown Alan at least stroking himself since they cut out his Johanna which I missed. I always skip the song on the soundtrack but it's so uncomfortable and interesting when staged. The most visceral part for me was in Foggs asylum. Holy Lord!! How vile. Having them seperated by hair color!! Like "I feel like giving a red head a sweetie to suck on this morning." *shudder* I also loved that Johanna didn't shoot him, because it left her still as so innocent, and I adored that his "children" were able to kill the fucker. -- i was also very glad they didn't make Lucy's rape too graphic. I don't think I could have handled it.

- She totally was Christina Ricci'sh wasn't she? I really liked her. Her Green Finch was entirely too breathy but she was beautiful and her acting was good. I really did like her. I wish they hadn't cut Kiss Me and her section during the Johanna quartet. I wonder if the vocals were a little too challenging for her after hearing her Green Finch.

- I was a little dissapointed in Sacha actually. :( I wish that he had come in as IRISH when he reveals himself. I love that change from the Italian to the Irish, it's always hysterical during the stage show.

- Agreed. Priest really dissapointed me. That's my favorite piece in the show and it was so blase.

Excited to hear more of your thoughts! :)
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[User Picture]From: puckhiggins
2007-12-24 03:46 am (UTC)
I want one of the dresses too! They were cool!
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-24 04:09 am (UTC)
They really were. They were fantastic. I saw a little behind the scenes featurette with the costumer that disturbed me though. She said that the costumes were based between the 1820's to 1850's And they looked more solidly 1860's-70's to me. I thought it was strange a costumer would say that. lol. Especially an academy award winning costumer at that!
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-26 11:40 pm (UTC)


I wish she hadn't been quite so breathy. She kind of slipped on some of the singing in Green Finch but when he was on, her voice was beautiful. Someone mentioned that she may have been directed that way, to sing like her voice was caged, and if so, I'm cool with it. What a beautiful girl!
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[User Picture]From: lokasenna
2007-12-27 05:51 am (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about Sweeny Todd. That I am content that I got my money's worth--- no questions. Lots of black humor, which I personally love. Helena Bonham-Carter--- hot! She made my inner-part-time-goth swoon. Sacha Baron Cohen didn't have nearly enough screen time to even really warrant plugging him as one of the starring actors. Which was a damn shame.

The scene that had me laughing the most was the music score with the accompanying beach scene. But on the other hand, the music almost started to drive me to distraction at certain points.

I think what I had the most mixed feelings about was the ending. I know I've been conditioned enough by Hollywood, that I should come to expect a "good ending" or "happy ending". And to that end, that part of me was completely dissatisfied when it could have been somewhat easy--- I mean, at least, what about the sailor and Barker's daughter? Did they even make it out of London?

And then the other part of me, says that that is completely irrelevant. This movie couldn't have a happy ending. It ended completely appropriately, and on the only note that it could end.

Ultimately, it almost had what I call the "Hit-by-a-bus-ending". Where basically, as you're heading towards the climax of the film, and building up, suddenly the main protagonist (or antagonist) of the story is randomly hit by a bus, and then the credits come up. Wait a minute, wtf? That's it? All of this build up, and then he's hit by a bus, and suddenly, none of it fucking matters because the dude got hit by a bus and he's dead, and we've got credits? WTF?!!

It wasn't quite nearly as bad as that, and it did happen after the climax... I think I was just largely discontent by the somewhat lacking resolving action that should (theoretically) one would think, come after the climax.

Ultimately, it's hard to be too judgemental, because I haven't seen the musical, so I don't know how true to the musical the ending of the movie is.

But to the films credit--- the scenery, the atmosphere, the costumes... everything. Damn near perfect, and it filled my blackened little heart with joy.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-12-27 05:56 am (UTC)
I can help you with how it happens in the musical! ;)

In the musical, not only do Johanna and Anthony show up with the police, you see Toby goes a little crazy and shows the police officers how Mrs. Lovett taught him how to process the meat, with the scattered bodies all around them.. and then everyone gets up and sings the reprise of "Attend The Tale of Sweeney Todd" which is how the show originally opens, and it's perfect. It needs that epilogue I think, and it sorely missed it in the film.

Really I think it missed the chorus all around. The show requires it.

I agree that By The Sea was hysterical.

Did you watch any of the links above? There's some great stuff. :) There's two dvd versions of the musical out, one from the PBS recording with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury from the original run and then a concert version with Patti Lupone and George Hearn ( Featuring Neil Patrick Haris, aka Doogie Howser as Tobias, and he's fantastic. :) ) I recommend them both.

I also recommend seeing the show live if you ever get the opportunity at any theatre near you. It's brilliant, and the film, though better then I expected, did not do it justice.
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