My Sweeney Todd Movie Review!!! (Finally!)

Now time for my response to the film….oh wow this is going to be looong! Brace yourselves….:)

I was so pumped for Sweeney Todd that of course I went to the midnight premiere last Thursday, risking lack of sleep for my last day of school before break and the possibility of more absences (at least they are excused anyhow…) Did it all happen…? Of course haha and I even already had a cold eek! Luckily my mother was sweet enough to let me sleep in though for a bit and just in time to sing on my school TV show which was a lovely experience and so fun! Anyway she probably would never have let me go to this midnight showing if it wasn’t for my extreme enthusiasm in musical theatre and most importantly Johnny Depp, thank goodness she understands, bless her! Anyhoo…onto the movie review!!!


I have always been a lover of Steven Sondheim's music for Sweeney Todd, so the fact that they made a film out of it and most significantly with Johnny makes this film practically a dream come true! It stood out more than ever to me! The story of Sweeney Todd is such an intriguing tale, I always love the darker musicals and Johnny sang fantastically! He never lets me down and I am SO proud of him! I knew he could all along especially since he had an original background in music (playing guitar in a band.)


The tale and music of Sweeney Todd lingers with you forever, it is so unforgettable! Sondheim is the most brilliant composer out there; his eerie chords and intertwining melodies give me chills and never cease to leave me! Helena was certainly not the best singer but got her notes and rhythms correct at least and made a wonderful Mrs.Lovett (character wise) and was fabulous on screen, brilliant character interpretation! I was just wishing for more vocal variety from her, she was always so quiet (even though her character was said to be down-played on screen.) I am just used to a fierce belting Mrs.Lovett, especially during the part where she sings “I love you, I’d be twice the wife she was…” but whatever, not a huge issue. I of course know that singing is not her forte and this is certainly not a Broadway cast, I was just being biased with my musical theatre expectations and expressing them within my critique, but it is only natural since this film is indeed a musical.


Now onto Johnny…if I am biased on any opinions it would be him obviously, but you see I sincerely did think that his singing was superb and way out of the ordinary of the customary expectations people have for actors in that sense! He handled it so entirely well! He just grasped it to the fullest, took it as a challenge and once again gave a stellar performance. Some critics have been saying it was his best performance yet, I could believe it! I truly hope he wins an Oscar finally, he has already been nominated for two in his past (J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland and Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.) I truly do not believe he receives half as much appreciation and respect as he should get for his astounding ability, but he likes it that way which is remarkable. Most actors live for being praised, but he is just so extraordinarily humble. Anyway, back on topic the film which has been nominated for numerous Golden Globes I might add and has been rumored to be up for best picture, actor, director and plenty more I assume! I am not surprised with all the praise-worthy and positive reviews it has been getting!


As for Johnny’s character interpretation…WOW! He gets SO into his character! He has so much intense diversity as Sweeney even to the point where you begin to feel for him, almost as if you are him! It is astonishing how he does that, always so proud and impressed by what he can do and all his work! He becomes more of an inspiration to me each and every day….wow was I blown away, just how he handled his part is beyond words! Of course I already got the CD too and am listening to it non-stop! (At this very moment in fact… ironic eh!? It probably really shocked you all haha!)


Now onto the whole horror/Tim Burton gore which was an early concern for me for I do not do well with gore! I absolutely cannot handle horror movies and do everything I can to avoid them and never see them for the life of me for I know I am highly sensitive! Knowing that this was a musical though with incredible melodies and Johnny Depp starring in it, I knew I would be able to handle it and be okay! (My sister Becca told me right before the film began, you are no less of a Johnny Depp admirer if you close your eyes at the bloody scenes, which was comforting to hear I must admit) of course, I did not close my eyes, not for that reason though but because I was relieved to see that they kept it theatrical and stage like and it was quite comical actually! It literally made me and my fellow audience members laugh out loud, it was honestly funny! I am sure half of the laughs though were out of relief haha!

The only part I was disturbed by when it comes to the death and such was in the final sequence when “someone” who is actually alive gets pushed into the fire and you can see them burning and screaming, now that really upset me because I think it is just about every persons largest fear. I think we can all imagine how horrible it would be to burn in a fire ALIVE, not like it isn’t disturbing enough to burn in a fire deceased and then be turned into a pie and consumed, but my gosh that was a bone-chillingly horrifying scene and not to mention thought!


It is such a dark, depressing musical, I actually cried at the end of it I got so into it. It just pulls you in and there are so many surprises within the final conclusion. I was upset with the fact that they did not explain the fate of Johanna and Anthony as usual, but the audience naturally could assume of course. The ending was so well done and completely expected from Burton, you just knew he wanted to end it on that depressing note, it was wonderfully done though. Actually, the first words that ran through my head right after the film was finished, was “beautiful” and “spectacular” (and my sister agreed.) I was extremely pleased with it, especially how quiet they had "him go," if you know what I mean. (Not wanting to spoil anything for those of you who have not seen it.) Also the fact that he knew what was coming and was almost silently asking for it, but only very slightly. If you noticed when he stopped his singing and imperceptibly looked back, you could tell he was quite prepared and letting it be since there was nothing more to live for anymore, wow. Those amazing intricate details and subtleties are what really make a brilliant film such as this one (and maybe for those of you have seen it did not notice this particular moment within the final sequence before but after seeing it a second time this small feature was much more apparent to me and that is what I love about seeing films over again, you always pick up on something new which makes the film much more fresh and remarkable…well most of the time at least.)


Also, I love how they kept the film very much a musical and the singing seemed to fit perfectly. By hearing this continuous Sondheim music circulating within each of the scenes background, it really set the audience up for the singing and seemed so natural and realistic. Twas perfection in my opinion.

The little boy’s voice who played Toby sounded lovely! It was so beautiful, sweet and pure and not to mention strong! All around just impressive for a boy his age, he is going to go places I am sure! He is a wonderful little actor in the making, I cannot wait to see more of him and where his career will go!


Burton was SO creative with his coloring, effects, backgrounds, and the whole set design & costumes were breathtaking, just perfect! He made you feel part of the world of Sweeney Todd during that time period in London and my goodness such fascinating camera angles as well! I greatly enjoyed the sudden variety in "By the Sea!" By having the rest of the film in a constant shadowy darkness, that scene stood out significantly, great effectiveness! Another favorite of mine was "Epiphany,” Johnny was so entertaining to watch during that scene, I cannot get over his extreme intensity! Johanna was a gorgeous song as always, just beautiful and haunting, gives me goose bumps!


Alan Rickman was the real creeper in this film, kept looking forward for him to finally die, same with Beadle. My that actor always does way too well at the creepy evil side kick characters, Harry Potter for example as Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew (getting to work alongside Snape once again as well as Helena Bonham Carter who played Bellatrix Lestrange...)


What makes this tale more remarkable is the fact that it was once What a magnificent musical and this film in my opinion was absolute perfection. The only other complaints are the fact that they took out “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” (huge part of the stage musical) also taking out some key words in the song "God that's Good," hence the title. I was utterly intrigued and captivated by this film in so many ways! It was beautiful and breathtaking! I was so entirely pleased and impressed with it, a new favorite of mine for sure and it was so much better than I ever could have imagined! It was the best film adaptation of a musical I have seen yet I believe, just fantastic! Incredibly done! BRAVO!


Comments? Cannot wait to hear what you all have to say!…(Those of you who have seen it or are thinking of seeing it/not too sure…let me know!) 

*Next Post: My lovely experience, recap and all around response to this years Christmas and of course life in Hawaii for a week! I leave tomorrow morning ahh! I am so thrilled! I better get packing though, I just keep procrastinating! I seriously can never stop writing, tis amazing though! :) So glad for all the inspiration lately!






zulayr said:

you know, i went to see the movie last night and i thought of you. man, that movie rocked! johnny depp was AMAZING, as well as every other character. what made me cringe a bit throughout the movie was sweeney and mrs. lovett's little had going on with the barber shop. verry graphic, but reeeeally eye catching! great movie!  :)

December 30, 2007 9:57 AM