Sweeney Todd

  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jan 13, 2008 10:10 PM GMT
    I don't see a topic for this already -- who here has seen Sweeney Todd? It is a musical, so it seems appropriate for the "All Things Gay" category.

    I just got back from it after a friend recommended it, and I absolutely loved it. There are a number of musicals I cannot stand (Grease ranks among the top) but I do, at heart, like a good musical, especially the darker ones. My parents brought me to Les Mis at the Wang center when I was a kid, and then I read the unabridged book at age 9 or something absurd like that. God knows I probably only understood a tenth of it, but I soldiered on through it.

    I was hanging out with an opera singer last night, and then today went to see a musical. When it rains it pours. I was singing all the way home from the theater.

    Johnny Depp has a really surprisingly good voice. Helena Bonham Carter is no slouch either. And even Sascha Baron Cohen turned in a good dramatic performance (not that I think he's untalented, just I've never seen him do anything besides Borat, Ali G, and Bruno) although his was still a pretty comical character.

    I highly recommend it. Hopefully the Alamo here will do a sing-a-long for it at some point. I've never gone to any of those before but I probably would, for this one
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:22 PM GMT
    I love the original musical. I found the movie version to be pretty good for the non-Sondheim enthusiast. Thankfully Danny Elfman didn't work on the score. He is marvelous, but he couldn't do a better job than the man who wrote it.

    Tim Burton really needs to expand his visual repertoire though.
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    Jan 14, 2008 3:11 AM GMT
    I definitely want to see the movie, because I saw the broadway show with alan cumming, cindy lauper and ana gasteyer a couple years ago. it was uneven at best, and the critics were merciless, but the performances were great.
    oddly enough, alan's husand is an acquaintance of mine, but we saw the show on account of another friend with broadway connections.
    I think it's great that hollywood took a chance on a "art" piece.
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    Jan 14, 2008 3:33 AM GMT
    I love how for the first ten minutes all I could hear in the theatre was..."oh what the hell are they singing? excuse me pardon me excuse me" as the teenagers left.
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    Jan 14, 2008 7:39 AM GMT
    My god, I loved this movie. Anytime Tim Burton and Jonnie Depp get together they make GOLD! Also is anyone ever say the TV mini-series "Merlin" you might recognize that the Meat Pie lady in Sweeney Todd was Morgana in Merlin. She is a great actress IMO and STILL can't remember her name ><. *sigh*
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    Jan 14, 2008 9:12 PM GMT
    I agree, the movie was pretty good. I am not usually a musical fan but I do like Tim Burton and Johnny Depp together very much.

    I thought it was done very well. I kinda liked the level of gore. I found it to be very Tarantino like.
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    Jan 14, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    I saw it a few weeks prior and "enjoyed" it...Burton did a good (if unsurprising) job with the material. Helena Carter is (thank God for the film) a fine actress and easily sidesteps her vocal limitations with her character work...Depp, IMHO, is decent if entirely out of his depth in the role (at least musically). I never really connected with him in this role and felt like he was "signifying" rather than actually being (compared with Cariou in the role who is amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing). Sondheim's music/orchestrations sound amazing though and Hollywood did a good job beefing it up. Now a question for anybody...

    Is it me or has Hollywood as of yet been unable to do a real/reel musical like they used to? Seems like they can't seem to capture that magic supra/super-realism anymore.
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    Jan 14, 2008 9:36 PM GMT
    Jackal69 saidIs it me or has Hollywood as of yet been unable to do a real/reel musical like they used to? Seems like they can't seem to capture that magic supra/super-realism anymore.


    But they don't WRITE them anymore, either. Ever since the British invasion, the Rogers & Hart, Rogers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe -style musicals have vanished. There were the very few Sondheim "intimate" musicals like "A Little Night Music", or set pieces like "Sunday in the Park with George" - but they are hardly the kind of heroic quasi-morality tales like "South Pacific" or "Lost in the Stars" or even "Carousel".

    The closest I can think of offhand is "Cabaret", with source material that goes back to the 30's. (Thank you, Chris, wherever you are.)

    The source material seems to be all-important:
    My Fair Lady from Pygmalion from Pygmalion & Galatea
    South Pacific from Tales of the South Pacific
    Lost in the Stars from Cry, the Beloved Country
    Cabaret from I am a Camera from The Berlin Stories

    It's just not the same as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - not that I don't admire the author.
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    Jan 14, 2008 10:00 PM GMT
    I saw the movie and liked it a lot. It wasn't anywhere near the original Broadway production with Cariou, Lansbury, Garber et al (which is in my book, the best musical I've seen in my life so far.)

    I like what Burton did visually. I thought that Depp did a fine job of making it his own under Burton vision. Helena B.C. was great in regards to acting. Her singing was constantly going flat and it drove me crazy though it didn't ruin the movie. The kid who played Toby and Sacha Baron Cohen were excellent. Alan Rickman was more understated than I would have expected but worth seeing. I liked the old style Grand Guignol approach of theatrical paint-like blood.

    The most annoying thing to me about the movie was the elimination of the chorus. I loved the greek chorus approach that was used in the play. Other than that I think they did a fine job with changing Jonathan Tunick's orchestrations for the film. From that standpoint it worked.

    I agree with Joey on the state of movie musicals. Sweeney Todd is typical of Sondhiem. His musicals are very much written for the stage and therefore don't or wouldn't translate to the stage well. If you look at classic musicals of the ilk that Joey mentions, they are basic stories or morality plays with a straightforward plot with songs 'hung' on the script. These translate to film well (see Hairspray) because you can make it BIG without ruining the script or for that matter the intent. Many contemporary musicals tend to be more abstract or surreal in a way that requires the stage and a live audience. This isn't new but it's far more prevalent than it used to be.