The movie did not disappoint.
Now I have never seen Sweeney Todd the whole way through, and I haven't even heard all the music to it. I was familiar with "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" from my days of voice lessons. I knew "Ballad of Sweeney Todd" because the BIG boys used it as their home coming theme the year before I went to college. "A Little Priest" plagued me for the first few months of San Francisco because a certain roommate of mine WOULD NOT STOP SINGING IT. What else I knew of the musical I learned from IMDB and Wikipedia. I was able to go into the movie without too much bias, I was not tainted by "ooooh, the broadway version is SO MUCH BETTER!" or anything like that. I went in with an open mind, even though I was a bit skeptical because sometimes I don't always enjoy Burton's movies (I wasn't a huge fan of Corpse Bride or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Burton did a wonderful job and the cast was fantastic. Depp and Carter, while not having the vocal training or technique of the broadway greats who have tackled the rolls before them, did a wonderful job of bringing their own style to the parts. Their voices complemented each other very well and I found their duets to be some of the best. In fact, I think all of the duets were my favorite parts of the movies. "A Little Priest" got applause at the end of the number, and I totally lost myself in "Pretty Women," performed by Depp and RIckman.
Sacha Baron Cohen did an absolute amazing job in his small role. I would not be surprised if we might see him in more serious roles down the line. He was actually the only "big name" actor that really embodied the role - meaning that while I knew I was watching Johnny Depp, Helena Bohmen Carter and Alan Rickman, I didn't even think to myself "Hey, that's Borat up there in a brilliant blue body suit which leaves little to the imagination..." I just found myself enjoying his song and his character.
The only thing I wasn't pleased with was the amount of blood and violence in this movie. I know - I KNOW! - I went to see a movie about a barber who kills people and a woman who bakes them into pies. Yes - there is bound to be blood shed. It's also mentioned, either in an interview or in an article, that Burton added the extra blood to really show Sweeney's cathartic movement through the movie. It did get to be a little too much, and watching the bodies actually HIT THE GROUND was almost too much for me to take. It was very realistic and made me uncomfortable. What, though, really works was that most of that scene fell in the duet of "Johanna," which is fast becoming my most favorite song ever. The juxtaposition of the longing and loving nature of the song with the murderous and cold quiet precision that Sweeney has while murdering his clients is amazing. Perhaps that's why I was so upset.
I'm not sure, but I'm fairly certain that they decided to cut out most of the character story between Anthony and Johanna, making it seem like an after thought or simply a means to an end, and that does give the movie a bit of a choppy feel to it. However, it is hard to condense a Sondheim musical into two hours of film. I did find myself wishing that Depp would stop it with the Jack Sparrow Voice but not enough for me to really hate him for it.
I was pleased with this movie, greatly pleased and happy that it was done. I love Sondheim's music and I felt it was showcased well in this movie. I am totally going to go see it again when it hits theaters real in a few weeks.