January 6th, 2008
|12:28 am - Imminently practical and yet appropriate, as always|
First thing Hoppie said to me, how could they cut so much and yet still have a movie the same length as the film?
There wasn't a ton of additions. There was a conversation with the Judge and Antony that wasn't in the play. There was a scene in Old Bailey which may have been added, but it didn't make a whole lot of sense; why was the Beadle so happy about sentencing the kid the death? Edit2: The scene in Old Bailey was the same, but the conversation afterwards that made no sense was new material.</b> There had to have been more to that story, right?
Edit: The more I think about it, the more I think of. There was some inserted dialogue between Todd and Mrs. Lovett in her reprisal of "The Barber and his Wife" After she says Benjamin Barker I thought he immediately responded "Todd now! Sweeney Todd." and then asked after Lucy and Johanna. I've gone back into my post and bolded some more changes.
They left in "By the Sea" which was funny and imaginative and appropriate, but I still don't like the song.
They cut: part of Antony's opening song, all of the Sweeney Todd interludes, and the opening Sweeney Todd song, the initial meeting with Lucy, all of Lucy's prostitute innuendos, the song Antony sings to Johanna, the pulling a tooth part of contest with Pirelli, half of Toby's Pirelli's song, Johanna and Antony's joint duet with Beadle and the Judge (Ladies in their Sensibilities/Kiss Me), some of "A Little Priest," (I'll have Rear Admiral/With or without his privates; Potter/Hotter/That isn't fiddle player, it's a picalo player/How can you tell?/It's piping hot!/Beadle isn't bad till you smell it and notice how well it's been greased. Stick to priest.), the duet between the Beadle and Mrs. Lovett (But if two bells ring in the tower of Brae, ding, dong, ding, dong, then lovers must play) and other things.
The worst cut in my opinion was the thing I was most looking forward to, the Judge's song. ("Johanna"). I was really looking forward to that because I expected it to be extremely hot. It was not. Mostly because it wasn't there. Since it was already R rated, there was no reason not to have the Judge's scene. That's what I think. I'll have to imagine it. Bah.
The other things I didn't like: Johanna didn't kill Fogg, I thought that added to her character. Although it was obvious they weren't concerned about her character. She was just there to have yellow hair and be decorative.
I hated the ending too. In the play, when Mrs. Lovett teaches Toby how to grind the meat, you have to grind it three times through (hoppie thinks twice) to get the texture right. And so in the end when Toby comes back, his hair white from fright and kills Mr. Todd, he returns to the meat grinder and grinds the meat through to get the texture right. And that's where the police, Antony and Johanna find him when they enter the bakehouse and witness the scene of carnage. I'm annoyed that we don't get to see that Antony found Johanna and mourned his friend Todd, whom he didn't know and didn't understand, but still respected and admired.
Sasha Baron Cohen was magnificent as Pirelli. Timothy Spall was brilliant as the Beadle Bamford. His voice wasn't stellar, but of anyone in the cast, he's most able to support a poor singing voice. Actually, it sorta works for the character; particuarly if he does sing the duet with Mrs. Lovett. Imagine it. He thinks he sings well, she knows, like the audience he sings like crap, it gives her some range and something to share with the audience behind his back though quiet emoting, which isn't out of the question because it's what she's doing during that song anyway. Johnny Depp was indifferent as Todd. He was fabulous in two or three scenes, okay in most, and dreadful in a few, for the overall indifferent rating. Johanna was lovely and her voice was beautiful, but underused. There was very little tension between Lucy and Mrs. Lovett (nothing more than the usual "Throw the old woman out!"), very little of the glaring until "Beware of her, with no pity in her heart" at the end. Mrs. Lovett's voice was a little too sweet for Mrs. Lovett. More wispy than bold. Helena Bonham Carter looked the part and acts well, but her voice was a little too shy and it seemed like she couldn't handle some of the notes of the original. Antony was too pretty for my taste, but he sang well and was engaging. Toby was fabulous. The Judge was...fine, I guess. Not outstanding. Not truly creepy, as I like, but fine. More like the way he playsSnape than what I'd expect of Judge Turpin, but he has played Snape more, so it makes sense, I guess.
They also cut the wig maker's song. Honestly, you tell a guy you're a wig maker, you'd better bring more to the table than "yellow hair." And they showed Todd's letter rather than having him sing it. I guess since they cut the chorus, they wouldn't be able to support Todd's letter song.
The other weird things that might be related to lack of choir are the elimination of "God, that's good!" from the song, "God, That's Good!" In the play, the patrons are singing "God, that's good!" with increasingly joyful abandon and there's customer chatter and request for more pies. I thought that might have been responsible for "City on Fire" being missing during Johanna and Antony's escape.
Related to that, some of Antony and Todd's dialogue at the beginning was cut as well. I feel like I should hunt up my Sweeney Todd to compare my memories against, but in the absence of that, I'm sure there's a bit where Antony responds to Todd's thanks by saying No good Christian would have seen him there in the water and passed him up.
And Todd responds bitterly that there's many a good Christian that would do just that and not lose a moment's sleep over it. And then I believe he launches his "The Barber and his Wife" and I remember thinking, did they cut that because they're downplaying religion? Or they just felt the line didn't add anything. And that line of thinking probably would have gone nowhere if they hadn't omitted the chorus from "God, That's Good".
Anyway, it was okay. Sweeney Todd is another of those things that's good even when it's bad.
Sorry this post is so long. Sweeney Todd is actually my favourite play, which is why I strongly considered not going to see the movie.
Current Mood: disappointed
This may be sacrilegious, but I've never really like Alan Rickman as Snape. I love him in most of his other movies, but he's never been quite ugly or creepy or angry enough to match my personal vision of Snape. Tim Roth would have been a lot closer.
It wasn't a value judgement on how he played Snape, it was a qualitative evaluation. I didn't like the way Roger Moore played either The Saint or James Bond, but there's little doubt he played them the same way. 8-)
It's impressive to see Wormtail go from the sniveling Toady to the sadistic Beadle; still simpering a bit to the judge, but completely evil to everyone else.