Friday, December 14, 2007

Too much gore?

No, I'm not talking about Al, although he has been in the news a lot lately. I'm talking "Sweeney Todd."

Along with "Assassins," which I'm not likely to have a chance to see anytime soon, "Sweeney Todd" is my favorite Stephen Sondheim score. I've seen the Broadway musical on dvd with an awesome, hilarious Angela Lansbury as the twisted piemaker Mrs. Lovett. This fall, I had a chance to see "Sweeney" on stage, when I took in the tour of director John Doyle's imaginative production.

I'm not a big Tim Burton or Johnny Depp fan. (I liked "Ed Wood" and "Edward Scissorhands," but the Burton/Depp collaboration on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was a little too dark, and Depp's Willy Wonka was a little too weird for my taste). Still, I'd be looking forward to the movie version of "Sweeney Todd." There's just one problem: I'm very squeamish when it comes to violence. If there's not too much blood and gore, and it's not to graphic, I'll be fine. I can always take my glasses off and cover my eyes for a minute.

But I've had my doubts about whether I could take a realistic silver-screen version of "Sweeney Todd." After viewing the movie's opening credits on, I'm beginning to think I'll have to wait a few months for it to come out on dvd.

Ok, I know what you're thinking: exactly what did I expect? After all, it's a story about a barber who slits the throats of his customers and a baker who uses some unsavory ingrediants in her meat pies.

Well, it's not exactly the blood and guts that attracted me in the first place. Like I said, I enjoy the score, the Victorian England setting and the humor. And I admit that Burton and Depp's version may be closer to the Grand Guignol tradition of macabre, grisly entertainment that Sondheim envisioned.

I guess I'll buy the soundtrack and wait a few months to see Johnny Depp as Sweeney and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. Until then, I have Angela Lansbury on dvd to keep me company.


SarahB said...

You know I've been counting down days until I can see this on the big screen! Sweeney is my favorite of the Sondheim book but it's not easy to choose! They are all incredible and all so different. As far as the movie goes, it will be enough for me just to hear that glorious score in surround sound, but I really am looking forward to the telling of the story in this medium. I know it will be gorey, but that's part of the charm. Ha! In the meantime, it's always good to have Angela for company, whether its Sweeney, Mame, or especially Prettybelle!!

Esther said...

Good point about hearing the score in surround sound! I don't know, maybe I'll see it in the theater. And I'm so glad I had a chance to see Sweeney on stage in Boston!