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A look at SWEENEY TODD from the Theatre Crowd... Did he hate it?

Hey folks, Harry here... you know my love for SWEENEY TODD... well, here we have a look from the great white way and how did it go with the grease paint types? Well here is one for your perusal... Enjoy...

Harry, I thought this might be of interest to you. A stage geek's take on one of the most revered musicals in the canon. For those of us who work in the lower levels of musical theatre, it's been a good week. Our labor strike was just resolved, we're all back at work, and a few hundred of us got to see an interesting movie last night; Sweeney Todd. The screening was hosted by Stephen Sondheim. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were also in attendance. This being a New York theatre crowd, they applauded and stood for Sondheim, but remained seated for Burton and Depp. Sondheim gave a little welcoming speech and a small warning. What we were about to see, he told us, was not the stage musical we all knew by heart, but a movie. If we were to enjoy it, we needed to put the stage show out of our minds. I'm not sure that was entirely possible. In that room, anyway, which was packed with theatre community types. Burton and Depp didn't really say anything. They just waved. Later Burton hugged Sondheim and shouted out to us, "If you hate it, it's our (his and Depp's) fault!" Sondheim was right, It's not a film of the stage musical. It is an entirely new beast. And for this, I am thankful. Unlike the movies of RENT, DREAMGIRLS, THE PRODUCERS, PHANTOM, HAIRSPRAY and even CHICAGO, this is as much a director's film (and triumph) as it is a version of a beloved stage musical. It's a hushed, beautiful film for the most part. But when it roars, it's deafening. And chill-inducing. None of this is to suggest that it isn't true to its source. The "Ballads" are all gone, as is "Kiss Me." A few inner snips aside, that's about it. But Burton here has gone beyond a filmed stage musical. He's created a movie operetta of sorts. If you didn't know the piece, you might almost believe it had been written for the cinema. Depp is exquisite. Bonham-Carter will split the theatre crowd. Her acting is deliciously low-key, but her unsupported singing voice doesn't really match her speaking voice. That said, in the end, hers might be the most haunting performance in this movie. Rickman, Spall, Cohen, and everyone else are superb. The design is breathtaking. The cinematography is sumptuous. And the music! You think you liked the music before? Wait. Bravo, Mr. Tunick. I've been a Tim Burton fan since Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. But he's hurled himself to a new level with this one. And in the process, he's shown the way in making movie musicals. By grafting his distinctive visual style and storytelling technique to a bolt-solid musical, he has transformed both the art and the artist. This is a new Sweeney Todd. His best movie since Ed Wood, and the best movie musical since Little Shop Of Horrors. So go. See it. Leave behind your preconceptions, if that's possible. Enjoy it for the wonderful film it is. I'll be there opening day to see it again. Tophertilson
Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST

    it was awesome

    by palewook

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:31 a.m. CST


    by chewyou812

    Damn it, I knew I wouldn't be first. Probably not even 2nd at this point.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST

    I hope it's not a plant...

    by HootDad

    As a theater guy (I love ST and I saw the most recent Bway revival) I really hope this is good. I have strong reservations with non-singers doing stuff like this - especially when so much depends on the performances. Finger are crossed...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    That;s quite a relief

    by konar

    of course I'll wait until I see it myself, but as a theater geek I am glad to hear that the film was well-received by other theater people -- and that the man himself is happy enough with it to host a screening! I saw ST first in 1979 with the original cast and was obsessed with it. In fact, in college, I used to bring the LP to non-theater-type dorm rooms while we were partying, and convince the guys to take a break from Pink Floyd and put it on. I can't tell you the number of times people who normally would never have listened to a "musical" would sit, absolutely riveted, through the entire four sides. I'm sure the drugs helped, but still...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Good review

    by Turd Furgeson

    I believe it. A review from a tough, smart, critical person that is positive.... Another good movie from Burton...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:47 a.m. CST

    sounds great

    by harold_maude

    but i hate musicals and that snippet already on the net doesn't look great at all. hoping for the best.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:51 a.m. CST


    by brucecampbell


  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Wow! Another Burton film with Depp in it

    by Abominable Snowcone

    And Helena Bonham Carter. Depp's good, but I think Burton is really running the risk of "sameness" when he uses the same people over and over. I mean, his films look like Burton films even when the actors aren't the same. I think Depp and Bonham Carter starred together in Corpse Bride, and both were in Willy Wonka. And the preview I saw for Sweeney Todd made it look like Edward Scissorhands, but with singing.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Wow! An AICN review I read all the way through.

    by IAmMrMonkey!

    Hey Harry, perhaps you should get more theatre people to write reviews on this site. Not only do they seem to be able to punctuate and spell properly but they also understand the concept of "reviewing a movie" rather than "relaying it scene by scene"!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    who gives a shit what "theatre" people think

    by Jugdish

    If I cared- I'd go and watch them "perform" for $100 a seat-

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:07 a.m. CST

    I thought No Country was just ok, kinda 'meh'

    by BMacSmith

    kinda great for awhile, and the "death" scene or lack thereof didn't bug me that much, but everything after that was just a long meaningless slog to the finish. It just went nowhere, which I guess was the point, but its certainly not entertaining...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Wow! I Wowed! and so did Snowcone!

    by IAmMrMonkey!

    That wasn't planned in any way. Unless Abominable Snowcone knew what I was writing. But I don't think he did.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    wait...i don't understand...

    by repligin

    did he like it? he didn't say if it was awesome. not to mention i have no fucking idea what kurt russels' reaction to it was. terrible review, just terrible.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    i am one of those who hate all things musical..

    by BMacSmith

    and i cant seem to stop myself. I've just never felt the urge to express myself through song. Heh I even thought South Park would have been better sans music. As far as Burton, I havent liked anything of his in a loooong time. damn, I'm quite the hater today! oh well, I'll try to be more positive next time.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST


    by repligin

    where was the lengthy preamble about how he got hold of the ticket through his disabled auntie's lover who has been a fan of ray harryhausen pics, and any way he just happened to be passing the old duke cinema when he was offered a secret screening, but now he doesn't usually do these sorts of things and figured it was just die hard 5, so he passed on the tickets to me, and ofcourse i was amazed to see tim burton cause i got my first erection to ed wood. notice only one full stop was used. thats how your right a damned AICN into you theatre dwelling cretin.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Team America 2

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Please tell me the South Park guys are gonna make TA2 someday soon. FUCK YEAH!!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:38 a.m. CST

    s'okay, bmac.

    by occula

    you don't have to like musicals. myself: i don't like babies. and everybody always gets so MAD, like i'm SUPPOSED to like babies. just like i'm sure people are always like 'what?! how can you not like musicals?! that's unamerican!!' and honestly most screen musicals are so over-the-top that i would believe somebody would hate them even more than stage musicals. you get too many people in there mucking stuff up and it just turns into lunacy.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    But it wasn't awesome!

    by JackPumpkinhead

    He never said it was awesome! What the hell? Does it mean the film is bad? Where's that Kurt Russell when you need him...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Seriously, though, I wonder if Ben Kingsley will be annoyed.

    by JackPumpkinhead

    After all, he has done the most recent movie Todd - even if it was a TV movie. And what a strange and filthy-looking movie it was, now that I recall it...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Plant phrases: "chill-inducing" & "sumptuous."

    by Lance Rock

    Oh yeah, and "deliciously low-key." P.S. Anyone who uses "Meh" to describe a movie should be barred from ever uttering another opinion on this site! Death to perpetuators of hackneyed clichés!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Sondheim tells audience to forget stage show?

    by newc0253

    that musta been weird.<p> like the ghost of Charles Dickens turning up before a tv adaptation of A Christmas Carol and saying, 'look, just forget about the book'.<p> well, okay, maybe not that weird. but still pretty strange.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    How do you quantify "most revered status?"

    by Diagnostic

    Does this qualify as a review? It was well written. The summary of this: Depp and Burton can't be the man cause that would mean that Sondheim is not the man. Oh, BTW all three are awesome. I have reservations about Carter's voice. <br>

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Burton Shmurton!


    The guys got a style...<P>But I don't like it! And the Depp/Bonham Carter thing is non good.<P>Musical movies make my skin crawl<P>Only things I kind of liked of Burtons were Ed Wood and The Planet of the Apes re-imajinationing mess was kind of interesting but both looked or felt fuck all like Tim Burton.<P>Batmanic, Marsbar Attack, Johnnie scissor hands, Charlie and the Chocbox were all shit! how does he keep doing it!?

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    This review is "sumptuous."

    by 3 Bag Enema

    So, gay plants like the movie. PLANTY PLANT PLANT!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by bythehairofsanjaya

    A look at Sweeny Todd from the Alamo Draft House Crowd: The screening was hosted by Stephen Sondheim. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were also in attendance. This being an Alamo Draft House crowd, they applauded and stood when it was announced the nacho machine was fixed , but remained seated for SondheimBurton and Depp.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:32 a.m. CST

    It wasn't well-written, actually

    by Mister Man

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Helena Bonham Carter's...

    by VadersCrotchDoor

    giant expanse of a forehead. Is it in this movie? If so, what role? I found it amusing that while Rick Baker's masterful make-up could conceal Tim Roth's throbbing shnozz in Planet of the Apes, he could no nothing to de-emphasize Ms. Bonham Carter's billboard-like pate, only cover it with Davey Jones-like bangs.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Bonham-Carter has a beer...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ...and cheats on Burton...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Plays or Thee-ay-ter is okay and all...

    by BGDAWES

    ...I guess. <br> <br> Always thought it was kind of boring and lame, except for Mamemt's stuff and even that is better on the screen. <br> <br> Same with bug. <br> <br> Plus, anytime I think of people in theatre I always think of Waiting for Guffman, which I always thought was basically spot on to all of the theatre types I knew that were 'into theatre' in my bum-fuck hometown growing up. <br> <br> I'm sure it's different on broadway or whatever. <br> <br> ...just sayin'.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:07 p.m. CST

    People who are unable to distinguish...

    by J.B.M.A.

    ...between 'quotation' marks and "speech" marks shouldn't be allowed to criticize well written reviews. Morons.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Ben Kingsley just called...

    by Sledge Hammer

    He said "Shut up, cunt. You louse. You got some fuckin' neck ain't you. Remake? Fuck off, you're revolting. Look at Burton's hair, it's ragged, it's like raggedy-fucking-ann man, that hair . We could make a fucking string bag out of him. Like a bag of worms, fat bag of fucking worms, goth bastard. Looks like fucking Marilyn Manson, you know what I mean? Stage musical? You should be ashamed of yourself. Who do you think you are? King of the castle? Cock of the walk? What you think this is the wheel of fortune? You think you can make your dough and fuck off? Leave the table? Thanks Ben, see you Ben, off to sunny Spain now Ben, fuck off Ben. Lying in your pool like a fucking squid laughing at me, you think I'm gonna have that? You really think I'm gonna have that, ya ponce. All right, I'll make it easy for you. God knows you're fucking trying. Are you gonna do the remake? It's not a difficult question, are you gonna do the remake, yes or no? Well you've done it, haven't you? You've already fucking done it. "Based on a stage musical" my arse. quite frankly your attitude appalls me. It's not what you're saying. It's all this stuff you're not saying. Insinnuendos. Gonna remake a film I done, with that fancy pants Depp twat to boot, not this time, no fuck. Not this time. Not this fucking time. No. No no no no no no no no no! No! No no no no no no no no no no no no no! No! Not this fucking time! No fucking way! No fucking way, no fucking way, no fucking way! You've made me look a right cunt!"<p>He was still going, but I hung up at that point...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:09 p.m. CST

    What's with the obssessiveness for "Awesome"

    by WickedMonster

    I don't get it. Do you guys know what the true significance is for the word Awesome? My English professor once told me that she hated people used the word so offhandedly. Awesome describes something unthinkable, supreme, BIG. For believers, GOD, for non-believers, THE UNIVERSE. Now, that's AWESOME.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Interesting species of PLANT!

    by BGDAWES

    Aechmea fasciata theatreus - found commonly at movie premiers for films based on broadway plays.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:13 p.m. CST

    here is my review. it is a list of everything that happened.

    by PrettyNursePoppy

    I honestly can't fathom those who are shouting "Plant!" merely because AICN finally receives its first submission from an articulate, informed, and succinct reviewer. Personally, I agonize over most of these "spy" reviews, because they try to out-Harry Harry by including the minutiae of their miserable day and relaying the plot scene-by-scene, without the application of any sort of critical faculties. Most of the reviewers here aren't anything of the sort; they're spoilers. They want to spoil the movie for everyone by recounting the entire plot to PROVE that they had the wherewithal and Hollywood clout to get randomly chosen to see a sneak preview of a film in Dubuque.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:14 p.m. CST

    WickedMonster, thanks for clearing that up

    by BobPalpatine

    Your definition of 'awesome' was AWESOME!!!!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Even under all that ape makeup

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Kim Hunter's sexiness as Zera came through, whereas the Burton / Bonham Carter version was mostly annoying. When I first saw the original "Apes" on late night TV as a child, I developed a crush on Hunter because of her performance--a freakin'chimp! No, I did not buff my bishop over it. I wasn't quite that old.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:36 p.m. CST

    I just saw Sweeney Todd 2...

    by PirateEmery was awesome!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by PirateEmery wasn't as good as the first one.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 12:52 p.m. CST

    I doubt it is better than Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    which I count as one of the best musicals ever and one of the 3 best films of this decade (Eternal Sunshine and The Fountain taking the other spots).

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:08 p.m. CST

    ohhh another Burton film

    by disfigurehead

    That means pale skin, dark shadows around the eyes and hair sticking up. Same thing just place a different name on the movie.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:14 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    South Park just wouldn't be South Park without "Uncle Fucka" or "Blame Canada"..and if this is indeed the best filmed musical since Little Shop Of Horrors, I may have to check it out.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    "Chicago wasn't a director's film?"....WTF?

    by Spandau Belly

    You might not like that movie but it felt like a movie, not just a filmed stage show.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:19 p.m. CST

    The anti-theater rhetoric says a lot.

    by Barry Egan

    I am kind of stunned by it actually. I am an avid film fan and I also love live theater. In my mind the go hand in hand with film being a technological extension of the theater. Our best actors usually have extensive theater training and will tell you stage acting is far more challenging than film or TV. Many of our best screenwriters and directors have theater backgrounds as well. When I first started reading this site I assumed most of the others on here were into the arts. The people who write the site are definitely into promoting more than just genre films. Over time I have come to realize the average person on here must be a totally disenfranchized teenager, and not even the cool smart ones.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST

    and yeah, Tim Burton movies have no soul

    by Spandau Belly

    There's all great on the atmosphere front, but never compelling stories and all the characters are one dimensional and rely too much on Johnny Depp's wackiness.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST

    "His best movie since Ed Wood"?

    by LoneGun

    I really do hope that's true because I haven't cared for a single movie of Burton's since ED WOOD. The best things about his films are usually the opening credit sequences; then it's all downhill from there. Don't get me wrong, I think the man is enormously talented and I'm rooting for him and everyone else involved in SWEENEY TODD. It's just that 90% of the time, I find that his films look better than they actually are. ED WOOD was a wonderful exception. I have a feeling that Burton will do wonders with a live-action musical. Looking forward to this one.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:31 p.m. CST

    I agree, Ed Wood is his best.

    by Barry Egan

    Interestingly, his best film is also the one without Danny Elfman. Sweeney is also minus Elfman. Maybe working with different artists brings the best out in Burton.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:42 p.m. CST


    by WickedMonster

    CLOVERFIELD...Are you kiddin? Well, you could be right. But that's like saying GODZILLA was awesome. I don't think you want to be in that category. ;)

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Thanks BobPalpatine

    by WickedMonster

    But I don't know if you were being genuine or sarcastic. Either way, you know as well as I do that I don't deserve that. I am a worm compared to the AWESOMENESS of Awe-inspiring phenomena. I could go on a string of self-deprecation but you know what I mean.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 1:58 p.m. CST

    I did have issues with my father who passed

    by skimn

    away from cancer, so Big Fish, got to me.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 2:03 p.m. CST

    I to think big fish

    by eric haislar

    is his best film in years.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Imagine it now: SINGING GOTHS!

    by DOGSOUP

    Whatever town you live in, the goths will see this on opening night. They will memorize the songs and put on mini productions in malls everywhere. Way to go Tim Burton!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Big Fish

    by Barry Egan

    I thought the real world stuff in Big Fish was much more effective than all the fantasy parts. With Burton I would have expected the opposite to be true.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 2:13 p.m. CST


    by Gunslinger1919

    You know...I want to like this movie...I want to love it...I'm a total Sweeney Geek. And I was loving this review until the writer said it was the best movie musical since LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. IMHFO (that's in my humble fucking opinion for the uninitiated) that movie, while it had its moments, was far from a decent movie musical adaptation, basically butchering the ending of the original musical, and, on top of that, killing the source materials true love of 50s horror/sci fi films. So, WTF???? --G

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    I always root for Burton's films...

    by DoctorWho?

    ...and I'm always dissapointed. And Depp is the most overated actor EVER. No range whatsoever.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Full scene on youtube in shit quality.......

    by Grandaddy

    Has anyone checked this out? Great death scene from Sweeney. <p>

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Willy Wonka was a piece of dog shit

    by Pipple

    I'm remaining cautiously optimistic.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 4:35 p.m. CST

    have AICN writers noticed...

    by smackfu well-received this review is for it's distinct lack of mention of anything related to ass-fucking and face-cumming?

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Did they cut "Johanna"?

    by Larry of Arabia

    That song was chill educing when it was sung by the three male principals. Same with "Not While I'm Around," which was even more evil when staged well. If they did cut them, did it at least make sense to cut them?

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 4:50 p.m. CST


    by Tourist

    ...I fucking love little shop of

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Not Standing Makes Sense to Me

    by Larry of Arabia

    Stand for Sondheim because before the performance because he made one of the best shows ever to grace the stage and has proven himself with this material. Respectfully applaud Depp and Burton for a great body of work but don't stand until they have done something with this material, or in this case after the movie if it is worthy. If they were showing Ed Wood you would stand and cheer them because that's proven. In a performance situation I would not cheer anyone just for showing up, which, at that point, was all the two did. Sondheim is, by the way, THE man in the theater world. Think of him as your favorite experimental inde director somehow slipping brilliant groundbreaking films into 3,000 theaters on the July 4th weekend and ending up with blockbuster cult hits. Sweeny Todd, West Side Story (yes that's him), Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Company, and Assassins. That's what he is to musical theater. (to push the analogy Andrew Lloyd Webber is Michael Bay.)

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Plant, huh?

    by Cugel79

    I had several friends who went to this screening. They were all just as floored as this review. So, you know. It's not a plant you pathetic wannabe bitter little shitfuckers. I guess sums it up.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 6:14 p.m. CST

    You movie geeks need to do some work on your Inner-Child

    by Scorecard

    ...Because it's a 100% guarantee that there's always a gay slur or complaint in any musical-movie review that appears on this site... What happened to you guys? Did your uncle touch you in the pants while you were watching Star-Wars with your sippy cup? Did you constantly find yourselves in awkward situations with your mates in sleep-over situations?... What on earth happened in your childhoods? Nosferatu Jones nailed it in his comment when he mentioned your "inner 12 year olds lashing out" - No kidding... This place is thick with Freud... It's unbelievable... And of course, a well-written review HAS to be a plant - You can't ever imagine a theatre critic actually being a better word-smith than a movie reviewer, right? That would just be gay, after all...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Soundtrack listing off Amazon

    by TotoroSan Looks like Johanna is still in there. Unless it's an instrumental arrangement. I hope not. I am a huge ST fan and really have high hopes for this.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:20 p.m. CST

    i love Ed Wood!

    by Prossor

    heck i'm a fan of Ed Wood himself! his masterpiece Plan 9 From Outer Space is one of the greatest experiences ever. my favorite 1959 film. eat it North by Northwest!!!!!

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:26 p.m. CST

    I wonder if people gave Kurowasa shit..

    by Alfred_Packer

    "That bastard is making ANOTHER movie with Toshiro Mifune??!! How dare he?"

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Jimmy Stewart's in ANOTHER Hitchcock film?

    by Alfred_Packer

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Fuck that Werner Herzog to for using Klaus Kinski over and over.

    by Alfred_Packer

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Auteur Theory - Screen Studies 101

    by Scorecard

    Look it up and get a clue...

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Edward Scissorhands 2: He's back and he's pissed (electric booga

    by Det. John Kimble

    Do plants grow well under stage lighting?

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Saw a screening in LA

    by bunkyboo

    Musical arrangements-beautiful Depp's singing- passable, but transposed for his untrained tenor voice. I'm sure Sondheim thought that his performance would make up for his lack of vocal ability Carter's singing- the worst of the lot, but she played the role adequately, if not a bit too cool. Borat- perfect for the role, also somewhat lacking in vocal ability. Rickman- very good, but not sleazy enough or old enough. I might be to used to earlier performances of this character Toby- OK, but not sympathetic. Cold eyed, distant, especially during 'Not While I'm Around'. It pulled me out of the film. Spall- perfect. Bower- Pretty good, not great. He has his moments. Again, not a strong voice, and his role needs one. Wisener- A wide eyed orphan from those cheap paintings, but a strong soprano voice and great breasts. Kelly- Really strong vocal performance. Made the most of a fairly small role. She is an up-and-commer. THE FILM- Mostly a grand, worthy reimagining of Sondheim's musical, but VERY graphic during the slashing scenes. The final scene was brutal and indulgantly bloody. A nihilistic bent that brought me down. The omission of Toby's final mental collapse and the ballad Prologue and Epilogue was flawed; they helped reinforce our view of the finale as a cautionary tale rather than a pointless bloodbath.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:04 p.m. CST


    by bunkyboo

    Yes, it is still in there, with all its reprises. No strong tenor to bolster the melody, however. Oh well, you can't have everything.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Did I mention that...

    by bunkyboo

    ... the ending is depressing? The ending is D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-N-G. Needs the ghosts of the victims as our Greek chorus, closing the tale.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Cheers Bunkyboo

    by Scorecard

    Thats good feedback with the individual breakdown of performances... The transposed Todd for Depps voice? I didn't know that... I have to admit, his delivery of the line "At last, my right hand is complete again" seems so lack-luster and disappointing to how I've always heard it and directed it in the past... Im looking forward to it hitting the screens here in Oz.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:32 p.m. CST


    by ironic_name


  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:43 p.m. CST

    The stage Sweeney was a baritone

    by bunkyboo

    which gave the character balls when he angrily sunk deeper into psychosis. A deep, growling voice enhanced the creepiness. Arguably the most challenging baritone role of modern musical history, for range, accuracy and endurance.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Well-written review indeed

    by kidicarus

    Why must everyone else write in this stream of consciousness type writing that contains baffling grammatical errors and nerdy penis references? This review was brief, to the point, and comprehensible. Good job guy. Now show Harry and the other guys how to author a readable review for once.

  • Dec. 3, 2007, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Indeed, not

    by Mister Man

  • Dec. 4, 2007, 12:10 a.m. CST

    Saw it last week...

    by trojanwilliams

    Had exactly the same response. I turned to a friend I saw it with and said exactly the same thing this reviewer said: "This is Burton's best film since Ed Wood" The cinematography is gorgeous. The costumes designed by Colleen Atwood are amazing and the score and pacing are perfect. The only concern I have about the film is the hige level of gore and blood throughout. I had no problem with it - it is after all a film about a serial killer barber - but it will turn off a lot of the general public. But I don't think that's one of Burton's main concerns.

  • Dec. 4, 2007, 12:23 a.m. CST

    People Still Go to the Theatre?

    by robzass

    I thought that went extinct years ago with the likes of 8 tracks and vhs.

  • Dec. 4, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Where is Beetlejuice 2??

    by GibsonUSA

    I am out of college now and it STILL isnt out!!!!

  • Dec. 5, 2007, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Very relieved and heartened by this review.

    by AnnoyYou

    I've already had arguments with other musical comedy geeks over Burton's decision to delete the opening ballad, and I'm glad my position has been supported by this reviewer: A film version does not need a static opening song (look what that did to the deadly film version of "Rent"). The other fear I had was that everyone would complain about Depp and Bonham-Carter's voices -- of course a movie version would not need the stentorian/broad comic Broadway voices of a George Hearn or an Angela Lansbury. From what I've heard on several clips of the film Depp does an amazing job (Sondheim's songs are terribly hard to sing) and Bonham-Carter sounds fine. Now I'm really looking forward to this movie.