Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2-Disc Special Edition)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd
Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett
Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin
Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford
Sacha Baron Cohen as Signor Adolfo Pirelli
Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony Hope
Laura Michelle Kelly as Beggar Woman
Jayne Wisener as Johanna
Ed Sanders as Toby

Special Features:
Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd: A behind-the-scenes look at the collaboration of Tim Burton with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter featuring exclusive footage from rehearsals, recording session and more!
Sweeny Todd Press Conference, November 2007
Sweeney Is Alive: The Real History of the Demon Barber
Music Mayhem: Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd
Sweeney’s London
The Making of Sweeney Todd
Grand Guignol: A theatrical tradition
Designs for a Demon Barber
A Bloody Business
Moviefone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 116 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

“Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical thriller ‘Sweeney Todd.’ Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who ‘shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again.’ Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney’s amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge’s wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.”

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is rated R for graphic bloody violence.

Mini-Review:
I’m a big fan of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, so I was eager to see “Sweeney Todd.” In fact, when I missed a free press screening of this film at Christmas, I went out of my way to pay full price to see it in the theater. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away by it. I had several problems with it.

The first was that none of the songs were particularly memorable. I didn’t walk out of the theater humming any of them, and that’s usually my first indication of how good a musical is. When you see Chicago, “Cellblock Tango” is unforgettable. When you see Hairspray, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” sticks in your head till you wish you forgot it. Even “Enchanted” had the memorable “That’s How You Know.” “Sweeney Todd” lacks a catchy tune. A couple of the songs stand out, but it’s more because of what’s happening in the film than because of outstanding lyrics or music. “The Worst Pies in London” stands out because of the humor in Helena Bonham Carter’s performance. Same with “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” and Sacha Baron Cohen. Unfortunately, that’s not enough.

My other problem is with the overall story. It’s just depressing. It starts out dark, briefly turns comedic, and ends on a dark note. You’re either in the mood for that or you’re not. I wasn’t and I imagine many audiences wouldn’t be, either. I can live with a depressing ending if the rest of the film enthralls me, but the rest of the movie didn’t make me glad I ended up depressed at the end (if that makes sense).

All that said, Johnny Depp delivers yet another unique performance as Sweeney Todd. He’s unlike any other character that Depp has portrayed, and that’s why I love watching Depp on the big screen. You always get something different and he completely immerses himself in the character. Throw in the added challenge of singing in a musical and this ends up being one of his more memorable performances. The same goes for Helena Bonham Carter on every front. Mrs. Lovett is funny, bizarre, and unique. Carter and Depp are what make Sweeney Todd worth watching. They are supported by Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Signor Adolfo Pirelli (proving that he can do more than just Borat). If you also consider Tim Burton’s beautiful eye for directing, you have something still worth checking out.

I’d recommend “Sweeney Todd” to fans of Depp and Burton. Fans of the original “Sweeney Todd” play will also want to check it out. But people should be aware that this isn’t your typical musical before watching it. Not every musical has a happy ending, and this is one of them.

There’s a generous helping of bonus features on the DVD as you can see above. There’s a ton of “making of” featurettes covering the adaptation of the play for the big screen, the special effects, the sets, the music, and other goodness. There’s also a featurette on the real legend of Sweeney Todd. They discuss the origins of the character from the 1800′s and the debate on if he was based on a real serial killer. Overall, the bonus features pretty thoroughly cover every aspect of the making of the film that you could want to see.

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