Friday, January 04, 2008

outside the movie theatre

Critic 1: "Sweeney Todd" is the movie of the year. It was a musical, AND it was bloody.

Critic 2: I don't know. I thought it was kind of hollow. I mean, the acting was good and the visuals were interesting, but haven't we heard the whole "revenge destroys the avenger" story a million times before?

Critic 1: But it was a MUSICAL, and it was BLOODY. It was a BLOODY MUSICAL.

Critic 2: Yeah i get that. That's pretty novel. But isn't this just another case of style over substance? A pretty film with a novel idea that doesn't go anywhere we haven't been before; "Sweeney Todd" is going to fool a lot of people into thinking it's "groundbreakingly original" but it's really just another gory revenge fantasy.

Critic 1: I think you're missing the point. You see, this was a MUSICAL, but instead of New York bohemians trying to get by or giant anthropomorphic cats dealing with their problems, you had JOHNNY DEPP CUTTING PEOPLE'S THROATS. It was GROUNDBREAKINGLY ORIGINAL.

Critic 2: I'm not convinced. I think people want to like this movie because of Burton's and Depp's (not to mention Bonham-Carter's, Rickman's and Cohen's) prior works, and it DOES have some redeeming qualities, but all in all it's just a gratuitously bloody, plodding, muddled mess of a film, Hollywood trying to stretch into Shakespeare, a blockbuster masquerading as an indie film, gross-out shock-tactics splashed onto a stylized, dreary palette. It's the film version of Kanye West's "Stronger;" compelling personalities involved, technical proficiency and a strong gimmick, but when it comes to the MEAT, there's nothing new, nothing thought-provoking and nothing really even all that interesting. Great water-cooler conversation; boring art.

Critic 1: What does that mean?

Critic 2: You know, it's easy to TALK about this film: it's a gory musical, it's Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter together again, it's got Borat and Snape in it, etc. But just because it's got a bunch of bullet points that make it easy for movie critics to write about, it doesn't mean it's worth a damn as a story, or as a film.

Critic 1: But dude, it was a MUSICAL, and it was GORY! And "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was so cool! And BORAT WAS IN IT!

Critic 2: Let's go see AVPR.

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