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REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

October 22, 2014 3 comments
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetDirected by: Tim Burton
Produced by: Richard D. Zanuck, John Logan, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald
Written by: John Logan (screenplay)
Edited by: Chris Lebenzon
Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolksi
Music by: Stephen Sondheim
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Ed Sanders, Jayne Wisener, Jamie Campbell
Bower, Laura Michelle Kelly, Sacha Baron Cohen
Based on the stage musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler and characters created by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest
Year: 2007

 

I haven’t seen it myself, but, given its large fanbase, I’d say that it’s a surprise that it took nearly 30 years for Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 musical to see a film adaptation released. Of course, considering that most of those years were pretty lacking in any non-animated musicals, this would have definitely been a misguided notion. And even if musicals were not considered the box office poison they were considered to be throughout the 80s and 90s (again, provided that you were not animated), then no doubt the very nature of Sweeney Todd would be enough to hold it back. It’s a grim, macabre musical that dares to shock audiences with its rampant and bloody violence, songs with swear words in them, and even a dark sense of humor largely built around some sneaky cannibalism on the main characters’ part. This is some dark material, and any adaptation during that time would have no doubt led to the film bombing and further sullying the idea that musical films have their place in this world. Luckily, fortune smiled upon musical film fans, as not only did the early 2000s provide studios with an unexpected small boom in that very market, with Moulin Rouge! and Chicago gaining both popular and critical acclaim (not to mention money), but the 80s and 90s also saw the rise in popularity in the one director who could conceivably adapt the play for film faithfully and still not have it bomb based solely on name recognition alone. I’m talking, of course, about Tim Burton. Read more…

Fifteen Minute Freewrite #2… in 3D

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

So, Disney has just announced that they’re going to be releasing even more 3D conversions of classic films in the coming years, thanks in large part to the success of The Lion King in 3D the past few weeks. As of this writing, the film is still in the #3 spot at the box office, though for two weeks or more it held the top spot, and it’s likely to set the home market on fire again thanks to today’s Blu-Ray release.

What’s particularly astounding is that this is both good news for animated films of the 2D nature and also, possibly, a good sign for 3D films. While Sony has announced plans to charge audiences yet another premium for using the glasses starting in February, Disney has found another way to convert 3D film tickets into money by converting their older films. Re-releasing movies in theatres is hardly a new thing, especially for Disney, but charging a premium probably seems counterproductive. The Lion King would beg to differ.

Sony must be nuts if it thinks charging more for unproven films that are made in 3D. Disney’s re-releases of Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Monsters, Inc., and  Beauty and the Beast (already on Blu-Ray and about to be released in 3D on the home market, too!) have already proven to be classics that everyone loves, so it makes sense that Disney would follow the success of The Lion King with these four films.

Then again, the first two Toy Story films didn’t do so hot when re-released in 3D, and that was building up to the surefire hit Toy Story 3, which was simultaneously released in 3D and performed under expectations. That the first two films’ performances convinced Disney to hold off on re-releasing Beauty and the Beast in 3D around the same time just confuses me, though it’s plausible that the apparently poor translation into 3D that they did on those films has been updated using the newer conversion tech they used on The Lion King, and I’ve already heard good things about it at a test screening.

I write all this to say… I have no idea what’s going on. I do have to clock back in, however…

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