Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I just realized that I completely forgot to talk about this movie. My husband and I had been looking forward to seeing this movie since we saw the first preview. Now neither of us are particularly big Johnny Depp fans but we are fairly big fans of Tim Burton. So on December 31, the three of us (my husband, my daughter and myself) went to the only movie theater in our area that was showing the film, purchased our tickets and snacks and had a wonderful time at the movies. There are probably a few of you out there that aren't familiar with Sweeney Todd. I shall give you a quick run-down of the plot. Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) was a successful barber on Fleet Street in London. He had a beautiful wife, Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly), and a cute baby daughter, Johanna. However, evil Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) coveted all that Barker had. So he had Barker arrested and sent to prison in Australia. Turpin then raped Lucy, causing her to commit suicide, and took Johanna as a ward. However, our story really starts when Barker comes back to London as Sweeney Todd, bent taking his revenge against the man who destroyed his life. Todd finds a friend in Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), his former landlord who currently sells the worst meat pies in London. The two find a way for Todd to take revenge against those who have wronged him while making Mrs. Lovett's pie business boom. Yes, Sweeney Todd kills the people and Mrs. Lovett bakes them into pies.

The original stageplay had Angela Lansbury (yes, that would be Mrs. Potts from Disney's Beauty and The Beast) as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou as Sweeney Todd. It really was a magical performance that made me realize just how talented Angela Lansbury is. It also made me sad to have been born too late to see her perform on stage in person. If you enjoy musical theater, I recommend that you add this to your collection. You won't regret it.

Anyway, back to the movie version. While the plot is rather dark, there is a bit of comedy underneath. I'm not sure that the comedy came through all that well with Burton's style. The darkness of London and Sweeney Todd's personality came through magnificently but Mrs. Lovett didn't come off nearly as daft as she is supposed to be. In my opinion, it really was Mrs. Lovett that orchestrated most of the evil plots in this version. As for the music, the singing wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. However, there wasn't a lot of movement while the songs were performed. Considering that the actors were lip-synching during the filming, it shouldn't have been too difficult to have them move a little bit more.

Overall, I did enjoy the movie. I'm probably going to buy the DVD when it comes out too. But it's not going to replace the Angela Lansbury version in my heart.