Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ★★★★

Such a fun October watch!  Despite being a huge fan of the Sweeney Todd soundtrack ever since I was a little kid, I had never seen this movie! I knew the plot going into the movie and more than anything this watch was based on seeing the visuals.  Even with knowing the entire plot and being familiar with the music, I found myself having a really good time! I actually found myself liking it more than I was expecting!  My favorite song was definitely Johanna, the reprise version rather than the first song Johanna that appears in the musical.  I appreciate songs where we are able to see so many perspectives and mood changes.

The color grading was sometimes a little intense for my liking, but with it being a Tim Burton movie I was expecting it to be stylized.  I really enjoyed the few fantastical scenes we were able to see like in the song By The Sea.  That scene in particular was really fantastic and it reminded me of Chicago, particularly in how they were able to use the medium of film to enhance was occurs in the musical.  For movie musicals it is important to add something to the original source material.  Not changing it per say, but instead giving it a reason to have been turned into a film in the first place.  (Rather than turned into a recorded version of a live stage production).  

There were also a couple little Easter eggs for the original musical fans.  Notably, the prelude song from the stage musical was excluded from the movie; however, it’s music can be heard spread throughout the movie.  One line in particular occurs in the opening scene of the movie.  As Sweeney Todd stands looking out the window, the music swells behind him.  While no words are occurring in this scene the specific line of music that the audience hears is from the Prologue.  In the stage musical the line says “Swing your razor wide, Sweeney! Hold it to the skies!” As the audience hears the music hit a dramatic point, we see Sweeney hold his razor and aim it at the sky.  What may seem like a random moment to normal movie audiences, is actually an important reference that will please any theater fan.

Something that surprised me was that I actually didn’t mind Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd.  I was expecting to hate the “stunt” casting slightly more, but I actually feel he did a good job in the role.  I think I still prefer a more mad version of the character, but I have to give Johnny Depp credit where credit is due. Same with Helena Bonham Carter, I was expecting to dislike her performance but even with her auto tuned voice it didn’t bother me as much as I was expecting.  Her voice was very light and feathery but I think it worked in this adaptation of Sweeney Todd.

My main critique of this movie is that it was often difficult to understand the characters when they were talking.  The accents while characters were singing didn’t bother me too much; however, when characters were just speaking dialogue it become frustrating to hear them.  That is why I didn’t give this movie a 4.5.  If you were to watch this movie I would highly recommend adding subtitles to the bottom because it will improve the movie going experience.  Overall, Sweeney Todd is a fun, dark, and interesting tale that makes for a fun halloween watch.  I’d highly recommend it and it is one I can see myself watching over and over again.

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