From The YouTube Music Video Archives: Sweeney Todd

I saw Tim Burton’s version of Sweeney Todd last week: no denying it’s a very good movie, well directed, well acted, well filmed, etc., etc. The trouble is that a good 20% of it was, for me at least, entirely unwatchable. The reason, as the friend with whom I saw it said, is that film is the most aggressive artistic medium ever invented. This will be true, I guess, until we get our holodecks, but after seeing this movie I think I can wait for that day. Sweeney Todd is the most violent movie I’ve ever seen. By far. I haven’t watched a whole lot of slasher flicks, but I can’t see how any of the Friday or Nightmare movies can top this. Okay, maybe those Saw movies are worse, or Hostel, but it’s clear to me that Burton directed this to be way, way over the top. Although he doesn’t deviate from the original Broadway production in any appreciable way, the meticulous attention he pays to getting every last drop of horror out of every last drop of blood spattered from slit necks and crushed skulls … Ugh. I’m exhausted by just describing it.

What works so well on the stage with music and choreograhy – not to emphasize the horror, but to mitigate it – was just too much in my face at the movies. And as much as I like Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter … try as they do, they just can’t sing like Angela Lansbury and whoever happened to be next to her. Good thing we have the original cast recording, with Len Cariou as Todd, and video from the London production with George Hearn.

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  1. I will probably avoid this. While I like Sweeney Todd — The kids and I have watched The Angela Landsbury version and have seen a concert version with Neil Patrick Harris as Sweeney, I have always found Tim Burton’s efforts to be much too dark for my taste. I can’t imagine this being close to watchable.


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