Not So Christmas 2 – Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Review

In 2017 I wrote a series of unique December reviews of non Christmas movies that I personally feel are staples to watch every year around the holidays, last time we chose Chicken Run, Bridget Jones Diary and About a boy, last year I even discussed growing up with the Lord of the Rings movies so there are few exceptions to my Not So Christmas movies and I wanted to start this year off with one of my favourite movies of all time, the gory and gothic musical adaptation of Sweeny Todd from director Tim Burton.

The sad tale of Sweeny Todd is that of Barber Benjamin Barker who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he managed to escape his prison in Australia and sneak back to London under the name Sweeny Todd.

It was the malicious Judge Turpin who sent Barker to prison in order to get close with his wife Lucy, after she denied his advances he sexually assaults her which causes her to attempt suicide by poison which she fails and ends up going insane instead. Judge Turpin adopts Benjamin Barkers daughter and raises her as his own with the sick plan to marry her when shes old enough. This is one of the reasons that Sweeny Todd comes back to London to seek revenge.

Sweeny Todd has revenge as its main theme and the movie does not shy away from how evil Judge Turpin is, so that that viewer is rooting for Todd even though he himself becomes a mass serial killer and villain throughout the movie.

Apart from Johnny Depp who plays Todd, we have a lot of big names in the movie, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Sasha Baron Cohen as Senior Pirelli and Helena Boham Carter as Mrs Lovett and many more.

Helena as Mrs Lovett stands out because she really shows the pure evil side to the character that I feel a lot of the stage productions don’t do so well. She is a selfish person who convinces Todd to murder so she can make pies from human meat but not only that she has no heart and only cares for herself.

She loves Todd but he never feels that way back but she is so self centered that she doesn’t even notice this, she even lies to him and says that his wife is dead when she knows she isn’t and the worst thing she does in the movie that shows this pure lack of empathy is when the young boy she is using as free labour tells her about his worries of Todd and calls her mum, her response is to lock him in the pie house and get Todd to go down there and slit his throat.

I have a theory about the colours and lighting of this movie and it will be interesting to see if you agree.

I genuinely believe that in order to make the “protagonists” of the movie stand out brighter choices for clothes and the environments these characters inhabit were used so that we as an audience would be able to see what is considered Good over Bad, Sweeny Todd is a bad person no matter how sad his back story is but it is hard not to root for him since he is the main character, I’ve always noticed that everyone in this film bar the main protagonists use darker and grey tones, Jonathan still uses these but his dress colours do stand out a little bit more than the likes of Todd or Judge Turpin, Johanna’s dress colours are very positive and bursting off the screen and even her room is the most colourful area in the entire film apart from the flash backs.

Any flashbacks or day dreaming segments also use very bright and positive colours I feel this is again so that these stand out over the current events of the film, this is only time we ever see Mrs Lovett and Sweeny Todd in bright colours, we did see Benjamin Barker in bright colours before his imprisonment as this was before he got corrupted and the same can be said about his wife, she uses bright colours until she goes mad and joins the rest of the darker toned characters.

The music for the film is the same as the stage production, originally these songs were written by Stephen Sondheim who sadly passed away this year.

His music for Sweeny Todd is easily some of the best that has ever hit Broadway, it has a lot comedy in it but still manages to remain dark and twisted, all of the actors in this film sing very well in the movie and there isn’t any songs I really dislike but my favourites are “The Worst Pies in London” Pirelli’s miracle elixir” and ” Epiphany” but all of the songs are great and this is easily one of my top 5 musical soundtracks.

I don’t know why this movie reminds me of Christmas but for whatever reason it just seems like a holiday flick perhaps its all the blood, I mean red is a big colour of Christmas right?

In all seriousness Sweeny Todd is just a fantastic film, it has a great cast, one of the best soundtracks in musical theatre and is just bleeding that Tim Burton charm and visual style which myself and a lot of others cannot get enough of !

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Owlboy (2016) Review

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Owlboy is an independent game created by D-Pad Studios, the game began development back in 2007 however it would not see a release until November of 2016 a full nine years later.

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You play the game as an owl called Otus who lives on an island in the sky, the islands of the earth have all floated into the atmosphere due to the unfortunate result of an event explained later on in the game, one day the floating islands are attacked by Pirates who are looking for three mysterious relics, its up to Otus and some friends he meets on his adventure to find the relics and stop the pirates from causing havoc.

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Owlboy is a 2D platformer at heart but it has a lot of different elements which help to make the game stand out amongst others of its kind, the main methods of attack are spider webs, fire and guns, Otus can only use these attacks by carrying his allies in his claws while flying, the gun weapon is best used for defeating enemies, the fire is handy for destroying plant life and the shotgun attack which comes with it is great for destroying tough barricades, finally the web attack is great for taking out flying enemies and it can also grapple onto some surfaces and items. Along side these attacks Otus can fly and spin into enemies to deal small amounts of damage.

Puzzles are also a large part of the game, the majority involve having to find switches to open doors or having to get from one area to another in a given amount of time, my favourite puzzle was when you had to squeeze the water out of clouds in order to bring items to the surface.

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The Visuals are really great in this game, the graphics look gorgeous they have a basic 2d look and they remind me some what of the super nintendo however the visuals here are much better which is to be expected, the animations are smooth and the entire game plays with no lag or frame rate issues.

Owlboys Soundtrack is fantastic it was created by a gentleman called Jonathan Geer who has a very impressive history of creating soundtracks for smaller gaming projects, Owlboy isn’t one of my favourite soundtracks of all time but I would say its worth purchasing instead of just listening to it over youtube

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Owlboy is an amazing game however I do have one issue, as much fun as the game is its very short, I beat the game in around 9 hours which didnt impress me considering it costs around 20 pounds if it was just a little longer this wouldn’t have bothered me so much.

Even though it is a little bit short Owl Boy is one of the best indie games I have ever played and it is well worth the money regardless of its length, it has a great plot,beautiful graphics, a really nice soundtrack, lovable characters and even a little bit of replay value with collecting coins and buying everything in the shop, its a fantastic experience and I hope for a sequel in the near future 9.8/10

I hope you enjoyed this review Of Owl Boy for the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

Assassins Creed (2007) PS3/360/PC Review

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The Assassins Creed games have come along way since its debut in 2007, over the past eight years several games have been released which have mostly had a very good reception minus one or two entries but its the original game that doesn’t get quite as much love and today we are going to talk about why that is.

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The plot is that a bartender called Desmond Miles has been made a prisoner to a top secret industry called Abstergo, he is being monitored by two scientists who force him to lie down inside of a machine called the Animus, the Animus allows Desmond to relive the memories of his ancestors each game follows the adventures of a different Assassin from Desmond’s past and in this games case that Assassin is Altair.

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Altair’s time takes place in the year 1191 during the third crusade, Altair is a member of a group of assassins called the creed, the creed assassinates dictators, templar’s, murders, rapists and genuinely bad people in order to try and keep peace and safety within the land, during a mission to find the apple of Eden Altair breaks the creeds code by killing an innocent person and trying to assassinate a target with brutality over stealth, Altair’s mistakes causes the death of one the other assassins and it appears that they lose the apple of Eden as well, his master is told of the creeds failure and he punishes Altair by stripping him of his rank and by confiscating all of his weapons, he tells Altair that if he wants to restore his status within the creed he will have to assassinate nine templar’s who are notorious for their evil deeds, Altair leaves to find information on all of his targets preparing for their assassinations.

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Through out the game you will be swapping between playing as Altair and Desmond Miles, when playing as Desmond you will walk around the Abstergo  building in which he is being kept prisoner and here you will slowly learn more about the Animus and why Desmond is so important to the company, playing as Altair is where it’s at though as this is where you get the best game play experience, as Altair it’s your job to take out nine assassination targets, you will need to travel between three major cities Acre, Damascus and Jerusalem, in these cities you will get a chance to experience a lot of the free running aspects of the game, the assassins have been trained to run really fast and are able to climb almost anything, they are essentially like monkeys.

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Climbing buildings is not only really cool but its also extremely useful, you may often find your self having to climb buildings if you are being chased by a lot of guards or if you are in need of unlocking a view point, a view point will help you find secret missions that you can complete while you are hunting for your main assassination targets, these missions can be anything from eves dropping, pick pocketing, assassinating archers or templar’s, beating up a prophet to gain information etc.

Fighting

Even though the object of the game is to be sneaky and to get on with your business without drawing attention to yourself their is bound to be time when you make a small mistake that could cost you your life and in these situations you may decide that instead of running from the guards to hide in a bale of hay or on a rooftop you will instead fight your honor and like any professional Altair is prepared for this situation, through out the game you will be awarded an arsenal of weapons  appropriate to the time period, Altair can fight his enemies in a traditional sword fighting style which he can use to successfully kill the guards with sword attacks and combo moves, he can use throwing knives to take out enemies from a distance, he can forget using weapons completely in the case that he’s the mood for a fist fight but by far the best weapon in the entire game is the hidden blade, the hidden blade is a small knife that is hidden underneath Altair sleeve and as he bends his wrist back the blade will erect from its hiding place, this is the best weapon for assassinations and my personal opinion is that you should only ever use it when the guards are not aware of your presence.

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The visuals of Assassins Creed are absolutely outstanding for a game that came out in 2007, the amount of detail that the game designers put into the game with effects such as shadows, light and clothes blowing in the wind, all of these things were mind blowing at the time and they really help give the game a more realistic feel, even the smaller details are quite impressive, a lot of people praise the game for its use of background characters, when you are walking around the cities the people around you are very intelligent, they will have have conversations together, they will shop at stalls and they will even notice you and may comment on your actions for example if you are running through the street with no reason the peasants will talk to each other about that and will try to figure out why you acting so strangely, another great detail is the use of beggars, drunks and crazy people, you will often find beggars getting up in your face asking you for money and far too often will you get punched by the local drunks and village idiots, these are a great edition to the game although I feel that they could have been implemented better and maybe not of been used as much as they were, I found them to be an issue during a lot of my stealth missions, I would often be following someone and then a drunk would punch me causing me bump into my target making them realize who I am and causing me to fail, also when I was trying to assassinate templar’s and guards sometimes beggars would get in the way of hidden blade causing me to kill them and the problem with this is that not only does it make a wanted murderer but I also lose health because I killed an innocent.

There really isn’t a lot of music in this game or at least there isn’t that many tracks that I thoroughly enjoyed or even remember, I don’t find this to be an issue because I don’t believe that music is even needed in a game like this, it was still fun and the lack of constant musical tracks only helped make the game feel more real and that’s something that I really love about Assassins Creed.

The game controls fairly well, the button combinations are easy to learn although if you play on a PC like I did you may want to change some of the controls to fit your playing style, the only time ever had a problem with the controls was when I was running from guards and trying to climb ladders, I cant tell you the amount of times I told Altair to climb a ladder and he instead ran into a wall causing me to get caught and a lot of the time killed but apart from this small issue the game controls almost perfectly.

The original Assassins Creed was a revolutionary game that would pave the way not only for more games in the series but it went to inspire other game series as well such as the new tomb raider remakes which are fantastic games, although it is revolutionary I don’t think many people would disagree when I say that it has aged a bit and compared to what the series is now its not quite as good as some of it’s sequels but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good game because it is, it’s just not as interesting as some of the other Assassins Creed games but its still legendary and it will always be one of the most revolutionary games in history. 6.9/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Assassins Creed 2007

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