Friday, October 05, 2007

Attend the Trailer of Sweeney Todd

A few minutes past midnight - - his timing, perfect as always - - Lance left a comment on my post from yesterday announcing that the trailer for Tim Burton's film version of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece, SWEENEY TODD, has been released.

Lance and I have been friends for so long because we both freely and boldly express our opinions - - a distinctly un-Southern personality trait. Luckily, we agree on most things. God help the world if we disagreed on everything. I'm sure two gay Southern bitches screaming at each other would make haven't Hasselbeck and O'Donnell look like Donnie and Marie.

So, when Lance says...

"When are they actually going to film one of (Sondheim's) musicals as is and not fuck it up?"

...any sensible musical theatre lover would remember the 2 hours of their life they wasted watching Elizabeth Taylor as Desiree in the movie version of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC and think to themselves...

"Fool me once, shame on me.

"Fool me twice and I have to sit through Lucille Ball in MAME again.

"THAT AIN'T HAPPENIN'!!"




Even so, the clip is below. I don't know if I'm not crazy about it because I know the material so well, which makes the trailer seem a little absurd...

...like a trailer for ROMEO AND JULIET with that announcer-guy's deep, gargle-with-gravel baritone telling the audience, "Two households, both alike in dignity," in the same way he always says, "In a world..."...

Or if I'm just not crazy about how much of this trailer is spoken. For a "musical," WAY too much of this trailer is spoken for my taste.

You see, SWEENEY TODD is about 99 & 44/100% words and music. There are roughly forty-seven spoken words that make up the libretto and since this trailer clocks in at just under two and half minutes, I'm pretty sure we get all (or most) of Sweeney's libretto in one big Sweeney "Mega Mix."

It doesn't bode well.

But I should stop stacking the deck against something I haven't seen in it's entirety. (Ugh, how Republican of me). Here's the trailer. What do you think?



One last thing: Releasing SWEENEY TODD on Christmas Day is either bizarre or brilliant.

The producers consciously chose to open this film musical about revenge, murder, throat-slashing barbers and human flesh-filled meat pies on a day that most of the people in this country devote to "peace on earth and goodwill toward men."

I know SWEENEY is simply following the "Open on Christmas Day" path of DREAMGIRLS, but still - - Santa Claus meets Mrs. Lovett? Or worse...

I can just hear the producers talking now...

"If we open on 12/25, what do we open against that week?

"Whose birthday? Jesus? THE Jesus? !? Damn!

"We can't open against Him. Unless...

"Do you think people even REMEMBER that December 25th is the Son of God's birthday?

What's Jesus' Q Score these days?"

25 comments:

David said...

The studio is trying to pass it off as white!

Brigitte said...

Thank you. I saw this last night too and thought the same thing. I really really want to like this. It's Tim Burton and Sondheim for crying out loud. But it seems like they are going out of their way to not market this as a movie musical.
Ever seen the broadcast of Evening Primrose? Wolf.

Valyna said...

OMG! I had no idea a movie version was being made! And by Burton?!?! I'm so excited :) I love everything Burton has done - especially when Johnny Depp is involved *swoooooon

What a great present for Christmas :) :)

Blockade Boy said...

I'm still wary, but I actually feel a little better about this film after seeing the trailer. It seems like they're preserving a lot of dialog from the play, at least, and it's still a good story even without any songs (God forbid). And of course, it looks gorgeous. I presume -- nay, hope -- those jarringly beautiful, sunny "By the Sea" scenes were all in Mrs. Lovett's barmy brain during that second-act number and not some godawful happy ending cooked up by Tim "nostalgia-ruiner" Burton and the studio.

Michael said...

Hmmmm.....well, at least they had the good sense to cast Alan Rickman. The man plays a villain brilliantly. We shall see......

Eric said...

it looks really good...and i am guessing they are trying to make is as appealing to the slasher movie crowd as they can...ya know?

Stephen Rader said...

David - And severely UNDERplaying the fact that it's a MUSICAL!! Oy...

Brigitte - I actually own a bootleg videotape of EVENING PRIMROSE. How much acid does one have to drop before that television event / musical starts making sense? :)

Valyna - Yeah, the roster looks quite good, but this trailer ain't doin' it for me. Hopefully, it's just the marketing and not the movie.

Blockade Boy - If the film version of Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD concludes with a surprise, happy ending, I will beat Tim Burton so hard, he will need drugs to kill the pain!

Michael - Yeah, but on the other hand, you have Sacha Baron Cohen playing Pirelli, which sounds like a nice choice but rumor has it, he's not singing it and the Pirelli stuff is now spoken, not sung. Which sucks big, gigantic donkey balls.

Eric - Yeah, but just like when they tried to sell SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION as a wacky Will Smith comedy (see the original vhs box cover for proof), that kind of "trick 'em into the theatre" stuff doesn't sit well with me. Besides, will slasher film buffs really enjoy a huge Sondheim musical if they were anticipating FREDDY VS. JASON? :)

Aaron said...

Excrement. I can smell it already. (Maybe it's just because I'm WAAAAYYYY over Johnny "America-sucks-I'm-gonna-go-live-in-France-because-I-can-and-you're-stuck-here-watching-my-movies" Depp these days.)

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - I would love to be pleasantly surprised on December 25th, I really would. Maybe it's just the trailer and not the movie as a whole.

Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt... who knows...

Eric said...

who knows what the marketing execs think...they are so far off the mark most of the time anyway...stupid fucks

Stephen Rader said...

Eric - Can you imagine the meetings those marketing morons have about these high-end films!?! Now, THAT'S the premise for a sitcom!!!

Master Aaron said...

I'm very busy having sex; I won't be there. (Jealousy will make you ugly, don't start.) Sex trumps Spoken-Pirelli any time of the night or day. For that matter, one of those strange Chicago hot-dogs...who decided to dump all of that on some squished-together mystery-meat anyway?...would be preferable to Spoken-Pirelli. Poor Alan Rickman. I was so hoping he would have a big career, since we share a physical resemblance. But I guess he couldn't get hired at Dollywood, and he had to take whatever villain-role was available. Life can be brutal, nes pa?

Dana said...

Alan Rickman auditioned for Dollywood?

Master Aaron said...

Oh goodness no, Dana. Well, at least, I don't THINK he did. It's ME that's going to Dollywood. My ex- and I once went on a "three-hour-cruise"-tour of Alice in Wonderland with The Prince Street Players...and while we were on tour, whenever we would hear that a friend got cast in, oh anything, the opening of an A&P, or someone was in a movie, or got a commercial, we would smile wanly, nod knowingly, and whisper, "I guess they had to take whatever they could get when they didn't get cast in Alice in Wonderland."

Perhaps you had to be there. But a Bus & Truck Tour is like a public enema, and do what you have to do to get through it!

Bob said...

I've been a fan of Sweeney since I can remember, and I fucking LOVE this trailer. So pppbbpbbppbbbttt!

Stephen Rader said...

Master Aaron - This is how internet rumors get started. Alan Rickman auditioned for the role of "Hillbilly Thrill Ride Operator" at Dollywood and they turned him down because they didn't like his fan kicks. This will be fact on Wikipedia in days!!!!!

Dana - If my tone drips with sarcasm, Master Aaron's BATHES in it. And that is why is now and forever will be my idol!!!

Bob - You liked it? You REALLY liked it? (Yes, I'm doing Sally Field. I'm gonna say "goddamn" next)

I don't like the style at all. And of all the songs to use in the trailer, they focus on EPIPHANY?!?

And in EPIPHANY, poor Johnny Depp is walking up to people on the street who apparently can't hear him screaming at them to get in his chair so he can cut their throats.

In the theatre, Sweeney is singing those phrases to audience members. I guess that doesn't translate to film. But if it doesn't, do something else with it. And if you can't fix it, then for God's sake don't feature it in the trailer!!! Geez...

We're going to have to have cocktails and debate this, Bob. I can feel it. :)

Kristie said...

I had no idea they were making this into a movie. Small world I was just hunting around ticketmaster to see if anything exciting was coming to town and it said Sweeney Todd at the Fox Theater May of 2008. I would go see the production in a heartbeat but not sure about the movie. I am a huge Tim Burton fan but I think he may have missed his mark with this one, we'll see.

Stephen Rader said...

Kristie - Yep, we'll see. Hell, I thought he screwed up BATMAN when I watched the first 5 minutes of that and I ended up loving it. Maybe I'll end up loving this. Maybe...

Lance Noe said...

I love getting quoted!

AND i love that it has spurned so much debate.

Just wait to into the woods starts filming next year. OH YES! IT IS HAPPENING!

Don't get me started on the cast of that!

Palm Springs Savant said...

so MANY thoughts were flooding my brain as I watched that preview...not even sure where to begin. It certainly raises my curiosity...

RAD Homo said...

Exciting!! Plus JD usualy does a splendid job my bet is thats its a winner!

Stephen Rader said...

Lance - INTO THE WOODS is going into production?!?!? Dear Lord... Dare I even google search it to find out more?

Rick & Rad Homo - We shall see. We definitely shall see...

Dana said...

Lance - I don't believe you; you're making that up.

Web said...

Hey Stephen,

While this trailer made me downgrade my perspective on the film from "cautiously optimistic" to "apprehensive," one thing I did grok is Burton's approach to "Epiphany." (Although who knows — it's really just my gut guess, gleaned from those few seconds of footage.) I'd already wondered about how that song will play in the cinema, as Sweeney breaking the fourth wall at the multiplex isn't nearly so sensible or frightening, but here's the hit I got from the footage:

Sweeney's so enthralled in his fever dream of vengeance, he starts hallucinating about running through the streets of London, threatening folks and slicing throats — and then the song ends and he's just still upstairs in his spare little barber shop, and Nellie says, "That's all very well, but what are we going to do about the Eye-TAL-yan?!" That would be both powerful and funny.

Meanwhile, it doesn't sound to me like Depp's doing much with the role vocally. Can't we dub Len Cariou?

(Just kidding. Mostly.)

Stephen Rader said...

Web - Your idea for EPIPHANY would be interesting and funny - - and I doubt that's the way it will play when the film opens, which sucks!!

And I'm ALL for dubbing Len Cariou over Johnny Depp! Bring that ON!