s skippy the bush kangaroo: saw - the musical!

skippy the bush kangaroo

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

saw - the musical!

the skippy's just got back from a sneak preview of tim burton's version of the stephen sondheim broadway hit sweeney todd - the demon barber of fleet street.

we think that any concern that the younger generation don't relate to musicals will be put to rest (pun intended) by this film. because we think that the same audience that loves to watch the splatter fest of rob zombie films will enjoy the gallons of blood flowing in this feel-good film of the holiday season.

tim burton does wonderful things with camera shots, angles and movement, which certainly helps in several of sondheim's more plodding musical soliloquies (listen to the dreary johanna sequence and tell us if you're not reminded of toto), and the art direction by dante ferretti is definitely as much a star as johnny depp or burton-squeeze helene bonham carter.

the london that ferretti creates onscreen is not necessarily historically accurate victorian london, but rather jeckyll-and-hyde jack-the-ripper haammer-horror classic london. and it works thrillingly well.

luckily for the integrity of art, depp, bonham carter and the other cast members (including alan rickman, timothy spall and borat) sing their own songs. luckily for us, they sing not only well, but with passion and great control. we were worried that depp would "talk sing" his way thru this tour-de-force role, but the man can belt it out!

which makes the free-flowing gallons of blood spurting out of the necks of sweeney's victims in the middle of the arias all the more disturbing. the musical convention of real life stopping while characters burst into song is completely turned on its head, which is both delightful and grotesque. while depp sings about his lost wife and his need for revenge in a stylist, stagey musical approach, the actors who play his victims very realistically shudder and gurgle as blood squirts out of their necks. the result is rather like watching michael myers doing a number from "singing in the rain" as he slaughters everyone in halloween.

[ed. note: points to sean on li for getting the clockwork orange reference!]

two thumbs up from the skippy's for sweeney todd.

unfortunately, they split on the bob dylan fantasia i'm not there. skippy thought the imaginative non-linear approach to the works of dylan was much like a dylan song...a series of metaphors evoking feelings and emotions from which each individual viewer could bring their own interpretation.

mrs. skippy, however, was unable to connect with it and found it too esoteric. still, they both loved kate blanchett's performance as the 60's rebel rocker. and, love it or hate it, there's a whole truckload of dylan's music by several cover artists and by dylan himself (at least we didn't have to listen to heath ledger sing), so you can't beat that.

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posted by skippy at 11:26 PM |


Thanks, Skippy! I've been excited about Sweeney Todd, and now I know I have to see it when it opens.

- karen from Evil mommy
commented by Anonymous spyderkl, 5:54 AM PST  
I haven't seen Sweeney Todd yet so no comments on that but in bringing up "Singing in the Rain" I am instantly reminded of "A Clockwork Orange" every single time.
commented by Anonymous sean on li, 10:33 AM PST  
exactly what i was trying to convey, sean!
commented by Blogger skippy, 11:55 AM PST  
Haven't yet seen any version of ST, it's always seemed such a weird concept. Your review my do the trick.

If I may return the favor, don't know if you've mentioned Hairspray, but I saw the movie twice on airplanes recently, and not only was it good enough to watch (and, especially, listen to) a second time, when I got home I got the DVD through Netflix and watched a third time, then went out and bought the CD. What a great collection of tunes, and a well-acted, good story as well.

How can you not love a musical which includes the lines:

"Good morning, Balt-i-more,
there's the flasher who lives next door"?

And, as far as I know, John Waters didn't even write that line. Although he is the flasher. :-)
John Depp did a credible job with the singing, but "belt it out?;" I don't think so. Not that it mattered to me. Mr. Carriou has about as much to fear vocally as Ms. LaPone pace Madonna. When it comes to conveying the tortured depravity of Sweeny's descent past madness into evil however, Mr. Depp has him beat hands down. I was a bit miffed when I heard that Mssrs Burton and Sondheim had cut the opening ballad from the movie, only to discover it rewritten as an overture. Casting Toby as a boy rather than a feeble minded young man was brilliant. "No one's gonna harm you" took on an unexpected darkness as I realized that this treble voiced choir boy was about as harmless as a sewer rat,
commented by Anonymous pluky, 1:55 PM PST  

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