Monday, January 28, 2008

bloody hell!!!

this will be a blog about sweeny todd, the macabre musical directed by goth master tim burton about a deranged barber and his blood lust, and concurrently his equally deranged accomplice and her desires of making the best meat pie.

sweeny todd, the demon barber of fleet street, tells the tale of benjamin barker, a respected barber in london. married to a beautiful lady and with a beautiful daughter, barker was probably the envy of many, one in particular was a corrupt judge named judge turpin. lusting after barker's wife, turpin has him framed and sent away on exile, leaving barker's family completely under his mercy. barker finally comes back from his sentence after 15 years, changed, damaged and bitter. he learns that his wife is dead and his daughter now a ward of the judge that took everything from him. mad and desperate to seek vengeance, barker, now calling himself sweeny todd, sets out to have the people who did him and his family wrong pay.

i have to be honest that i certainly did not expect that the film was going to be so violent. i knew that it was dark and melancholic, like all of burton's films. i also knew it was about a mad barber seeking revenge and was off on a killing spree, what else could the title mean? but despite knowing all of these things, i was truly caught off guard by how gory they did sweeny todd.

i'm pretty sure there's a lot of artistic value to the film and believe me when i say that i tried my best to find as much as i could. however, i seem to keep getting myself into situations where i hear myself say "o god, more blood!". all that goriness was just too distracting. how in the world could i concentrate when depp keeps slitting people's throats while in mid song!? and when watching a musical, you really need to listen to the song since that's the dialogue! needless to say, i often find myself wondering what the hell was happening in the movie... despite all the killing.

killing aside, i think the casting was done rather well. depp's portrayal of sweeny todd was excellent if i may say so myself. though i often found myself drifting into moments wherein i thought i was hearing jack sparrow with cruella de vil's hair singing, his interpretation of how a vengeance-drunk barber should be is very believable. it was rather interesting hearing depp sing. not broadway quality but ok enough i guess. i can't really complain now after watching moulin rouge and keeping mum about ewan and nicole's singing now, can i?

helena bohnam carter looks like she was part of the set. pasty white with a touch of looney, she perfectly blended in to the burton-scape, as i would call it. pushing aside the fact that she keeps getting these weird looney roles in her husband's film, mrs. lovitt's seemed to be tailor made for her. dark, depressed and sexy, i wouldn't mind getting myself served one of her pies, sans the cannibalism of course.

the score, well, the bits that i did get to remember were strangely reminiscent of the score of "into the woods". it had the same beat and well, the same feel. i didn't really notice this until i started humming it after watching the movie. i later discovered and not surprisingly so, that the composer was stephen sondheim, the same guy as for"into the woods". flavor for flavor, his signature was there.

there's nothing much to say about sweeny todd i'm afraid. i guess all appreciation i could have had got drowned away from the goriness and darkness of the film. though i sincerely wanted to enjoy myself while watching it as i love musicals, i can't help but feel that the makers overdid it in the production of the movie. even the actor's performances themselves almost did not survive against how much the production stole the limelight. it seemed they wanted to drive in the setting of a depressed england so much that they served you every emotion, thought and concept so overtly on a platter, robbing you the chance to savor the story on your own, at your own leisure. a joke my brother and i shared was that there was nothing else for us to dissect, the movie seemed to have been carved and picked clean. it was rather devoid of any other layer of interest besides what was being shown. probably the onlything that came close to interesting was something that happened far late into the movie, near the end. but, sad too say, it was too late to do the movie any good.

overall, i have to say i feel disappointed in the movie. despite having great performances, the story lacked the "stuff" to sustain it till the end.

after enduring a gore-fest like sweeny todd, my brother and i decided we needed to purge ourselves of all of that nonsensical bloodshed and treat ourselves to how gory should be done.... we had a marathon viewing of the 1st season of dexter at home.

my form of gory...

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