I had the pleasure of seeing Sweeney Todd in a theater near me this afternoon. I can certainly recommend it to any fan of the musical, although I doubt any such people would need a recommendation to persuade them.
While most reviews I’ve read commented heavily on the lead characters’ light or “wimpy” singing voices, I’m not sure I would consider their singing to be quite as notable a fact as they. No, Depp and Carter are not opera singers. And yes, each of them had perhaps one moment in the movie where I wasn’t impressed with how they sang. But overall, I loved not just the leads’ casting, but all other actors. Singing, acting, whatever the case, everybody seemed to fit the part nicely. And above all others, Johnny Depp, despite not quite looking like a Sweeny Todd, really acted the part in such a way that I felt for this mentally unstable serial killer. That’s quite a feat.
The one thing that stopped this from being a superb experience for me was the ending. I’ll try not to go in to any real detail here for fear of spoiling it for those yet to see it, but you may still wish to skip this part if you’re unfamiliar with the story and don’t want any information.
Sweeny Todd does not have a happy ending. I knew this from the double CD of the original Broadway cast, as well as from seeing a college stage production. I was prepared for that, and wasn’t disappointed by the movie remaining faithful to this aspect. But in the movie, the chorus is cut entirely, which means both the intro and final songs are cut too. Instead of leaving us with a song, or a shot of the characters who did get a somewhat happy ending, or even a pan of the gritty London skyline, we’re instead abruptly sent from the dismal location of our protagonist’s doom to the rolling credits. I don’t mind an unhappy ending, but I felt the movie ended far too abruptly. It just felt unnatural, and didn’t do the movie or the story justice.
I still loved the movie. Like most musicals, the songs and score give this film a significantly higher replay value than it’s non-musical peers, and am anxious to see it again