(Review originally written at 27 October 2008)

First of all I love Tim Burton and the dark style he always manages to put in his movies but I feel that he somewhat overdid it this time, which perhaps is not as much Burton's fault but more the story's.

For me the main problem with this movie was its story and then particularly its characters. There just is no good character within this movie. All of the characters are evil in a way. Sweeney Todd is supposed to be the main 'hero' but he isn't much of a likable character, since he's a person who slices innocent people's throats. There isn't really a person to sympathize for within this movie. It's like you're watching all bad people, which in a way also somewhat makes this a depressing movie to watch. I know this certain darkness suits Tim Burton well and is part of his trademark style but I just feel he overdid it this time and it doesn't work out as well as it does in most of his other movies.

He perhaps also overdid things with the movie its visuals. The movie is so stylish and done mostly in gray and black & white tints that the movie looks fake at times, as if it came straight out of a computer. The fairytale like feeling and dark Gothic atmosphere Tim Burton is so well known for is mostly missing within this movie and perhaps Burton too much tried to make this movie like an old horror movie from the black & white era. Also some of the computer effects within this movie feel pointless, mostly because of the reason that they look like they come straight out of playstation game cut scene. It's pointless and it doesn't add anything to the movie. It instead only lets the movie look even more artificial and fake then it already does.

Nevertheless the movie turned out to be in a way also better than expected really. I mean a dark violent musical? Sounds like a real odd and bad thing on paper but it's a movie that works out surprisingly well and knows to combine it's violence, images and musical moments nicely, even though I wasn't that impressed by its musical moments and not a too big fan of the movie its visuals. The story did worked out well and surprisingly, despite of its earlier mentioned flaw of not really featuring any likable characters.

I must also say that out of all the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaborations, this is probably the least. Why? Because Johnny Depp doesn't really feel like Johnny Depp in this movie. Perhaps it's because of the style of the movie or all of the make-up he has to act underneath but there are only a handful of great Johnny Depp moments within the movie. It's as if most of the time he is restrained, which is probably also due to the fact that he has a lot of singing to do in this movie. Sacha Baron Cohen on the other hand was really great and perfectly cast. In a way he plays more of Johnny Depp type of role than Jonny Depp played within this movie. Cohen's role is quite small though but nevertheless memorable and entertaining. Alan Rickman is also fine and so is Tim Burton's girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter, who always perfectly fits into his movies and style in particular.

So, it's a movie that works out surprising well and I can also recommend it but this doesn't take away I had some problems with the movie its style and main characters.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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