I know Turff gave us until Jan. 12 to see Sweeney Todd, but since Jeff has started butchering it (har!) in other comments, I thought I’d go ahead and post for all of us to pile on.
Nearly all the reviews of which I am aware have hailed it as a masterpiece. Eh, not so much. Mostly effective, and the music is superb. But directorially, I think Burton is repeating himself. I was not surprised or impressed by any of it. (Pleased and entertained quite a bit, actually, but not impressed.)
Ms. Bonham Carter in particular is spectacularly miscast. Mr. Depp is, as Jeff has said otherwheres, simply repeating his Edward Scissorhands/Jack Sparrow shtick, although it is adequate to the task. Ms. Bonham Carter, on the other hand, I just wanted to smack. I wanted to yell, “Cut!” and ask her, “Sweetie, can you give me some decision-making during this song? I mean, Ed’s only ten, so I can cut him some slack, but Helena, you’re putting me to sleep! Johnny’s doing the catatonic thing, let’s you and I figure out something else, OK?”
I find the decision to leave out the chorus altogether not as offensive as leaving out the humor. Yes, Sondheim’s music will bear the weight of a tragedy, but the original piece is a satirical commentary on human passions, both emotional, physical, and economic. I really missed the counterpoint between Sweeney Todd’s monomania and Mrs. Lovett’s greed.
The Grand Guignol blood was a good choice. At least it provided some color. (I found the limited palette forced and uninteresting.)
All in all, a good movie, barring Helena Bonham Carter, but not quite the masterpiece the professionals are raving about.