Review, Pages 2 (492 words)
The opening credits oozing onto our screens with amazing and gruesome effects are typical of Tim Burton. His colourful computer graphics are a brilliant start to such a dark musical.
Once a happily married barber, Benjamin Barker (Sweeney’s original name), is transported to Australia by an envious judge (Alan Rickman), who lusts after Sweeny’s wife. Fifteen years later a vengeful Benjamin Baker returns to London, he has taken on a new name Sweeney Todd a pale faced, deadly and manic killer with revenge in his mind.
After being reunited with his beloved barber’s blades “My friends”, he plots to murder the judge and slit his throat “the closest shave I ever gave”, and kill anyone else who gets in his way, with many bystanders too. Sweeney is callously indiscriminate as to whom his victims are, believing that they should die “they all deserve to die”. Those who lack his skills as a barber are brutally murdered and turned into pie fodder for his partner in crime the landlady Mrs Lovett.
Burton’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s adored musical is as much a visual affair as it is a musical. The general feel of Burton’s Sweeney Todd is typically dark, both in appearance and in mood. Tim Burton’s vision of eighteenth century London is murky, dark, dangerous and disgusting. Which is portrayed through graphically enhancing the back and fore ground, dark make-up and grubby clothes. The setting is superb and the one great device of the film.
Even though most of the film is sung there are a number of scripted lines that have some inventive qualities. The few lines that there are have succeeded in creating an eighteenth century style of language. The lyrics are not the best lyrics found in a musical however they do have some good comic value and emotional depth; they explain the plot well and are a credit to the musical.
The singing itself is not as well polished as something you would expect to see on stage. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s vocals are poor to say the least. They do have some qualities and add a rock and roll feel to the musical. The lack of great vocals is the biggest disappointment. Despite this the acting is outstanding Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen are beyond amazing and are the real delights of the musical. Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall are equally as brilliant however Cohen is the true surprise of the musical.
The acting, directing and the playwright are brilliant, the musical was only let down by the quality of the singing. As it is a musical it is unfortunate that the quality of the singing is appalling. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is an extremely modern musical with amazing visual effects and a brilliant storyline however due to its lack of the qualities a musical should posses it is one to miss.
Rating: two out of five.