Friday, November 9, 2007

WC: Sweeney, Sweeney, Sweeeeeeeeeeny!

Okay, I'm doing the movie version of judging a book by its cover--I've decided that I'm going to like the movie of Sweeney Todd based on the stills.

Part of it is the lighting, which seems just right. and the attic room is creepy all by itself. Johnny Depp seems to me to have the right calibration of creepiness, pain, and sadness on his face. And I love the Bride of Frankenstein gray streak in his hair.

But what wins me over is something ineffable, that whole-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts that can happen when things fall in place the right way. Yes, it's a still, not the movie, and it may not correctly represent the actual film. Yes, I'd be better off with lower expectations. But I'm daring to be excited!

There was an earlier Sweeney whose still raised my expectations. I remember thinking when I saw this photo that if Brian Stokes-Mitchell and Christine Baranski were true to it, I was about to see a great Sweeney. And it was indeed great--in fact, it ties with the original for first place among my favorites.

The wonder of great plays/musicals is how many interpretations they can bear. The first Sweeney, with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury, was the funniest I've seen, with the ratio of humor/darkness evolving over the course of the show so subtly that you almost didn't know what hit you.

The Stokes-Baranski Sweeney was perhaps the most human I've seen. He was a damaged, heart-broken man, and she truly loved him, treating him like any boyfriend with a weird hobby.

The Tim Burton-Johnny Depp Sweeney will no doubt be bloody, taking full advantage of all the color and texture that a movie can offer. I imagine it might lose some of emotional depth even as it gains in visual depth.

I just hope it's good. No, I hope it's great!

1 comment:

The Write Bunch said...

HC: ...and I'll be sitting right next to you at the theater! I can't wait. I hope it's "great", but I'll be perfectly happy with "good."