Sunday, December 30, 2007


So Rene tricked me into going to see a movie today -- we went to Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I'd seen the trailer, and I thought it was a thriller. Oh, no. It's not, technically, a thriller. In the trailer, there's a small spot of singing -- Johnny Depp's character is basically crowing about how he's going to kill everyone. The rest of the trailer is cut to make the movie look like a thriller.

It's not a thriller. It's an Opera. Not a musical -- no, musical's are a show where every once in a while somebody breaks into song, and maybe dances. Sweeney Todd is an Opera -- the music is the show. The plot, story, and characters are all developed through music. In fact, I think the trailer contains the bulk of the actual dialogue of the movie -- all the rest of the exposition and dialogue is lyrics.

Now, I like a good musical. There's a musical in my list of all-time best movies (South Park, Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. What?) I hate opera. Opera sucks. I like thrillers. I love a grip-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller. But I don't like gore-fests. Bloody crap like Saw, or Texas Chainsaw Killer is a waste of time for me. I'm not opposed to gore or violence, as required to advance the plot, but if that's all there is, well don't bother.

I can describe tonights experience through set theory. The set of people who like opera, and the set of people who like gore-fests barely intersect. Neither of those sets intersect with me, at all. Needless to say, I thought this movie was bad, and not just because it was a gore-fest opera.

The cinematographer, in an attempt to make the movie dark, made the movie in that weird light that looks muddy. I suppose they use some sort of filter on the lens, and the effect may look good in a state-of-the-art Hollywood screening room on a great projector with new lamps, but at the multi-plex it just looks muddy. Also, the movie was adapted from the stage play. Set design and stage business that may have been great, even interesting, in the play have been left in the movie, without thought to the audiences reaction. Bad directing, very bad. Bad make-up, too. Helena Bonham-Carter looked like a freaking mime!

I'd so like to give this movie a 'Why Bother', but the mis-cast principles did a yeoman's job, plus there are some amusing, although operatic, dialouge sequences. I can't recommend the film unless you're into modern operas, and have a strong stomach. If so, you may enjoy the film. Otherwise, it's an awful drip.

Here's that misleading trailer. Can you tell it's an opera? I sure couldn't.

Barbers aren't like this on Whidbey Island.

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