Home   •  Print this Page   •  
Sweeney Todd

And nobody else could play a better barbaric butcher than the maniacal Johnny Depp. He doesn't even have to stretch his vocal cords or our disbelief. Predating stardom, Depp had his own band.

While you may flinch, wince, cringe and close your eyes at the bloodshed, keep an open mind on the plot - a Shakespearian maze of vindictive revenge, confused identities and tangled intrigue.

Sweeney Todd

The razor-happy hairdresser of Eighteenth Century London, sets up shop above baker and mistress of Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Shop. A confirmed carnivore, cannibal and accomplice, Mrs. Lovett (Helen Bonham Carter) is smitten with the seductive Depp.

Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin - catalyst of the psychopathic mayhem - framed and incarcerated Sweeney, raped his wife, abducted his then infant daughter, and now plans matrimony with his comely hostage. Sweeney, fresh from the brig, is bloody mad and madly bloody.

Some folks will not be amused by a crooning cut-throat. If you can't stomach a thrill with a trill, a violent vibrato or so much homicidal syncopation, perhaps Phantom of the Opera is a better arioso for you.

But if you love the Depp - as the Academy nominators did - get the DVD. The Academy awarded it the Oscar for Best Achievement in Art Direction and nominated it for Best Achievement in Costume Design. Tim Burton, meanwhile, has consummated his stature as the Best Eccentric Director in Hollywood.

Sweeney Todd

Special Features

On a Disc One segment called "Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd," the three reminisce, mostly about singing Stephen Sondheim. The revered Broadway music man wrote and composed the 1979 Tony Award winning hit and closely monitored the 2007 cine production.

Sweeney Todd

Disc Two opens with the cast, this time en-masse, for a pre-recorded press conference.

Further segments explore myth versus reality of the 18th century Fleet Street serial killer, as well as the scary life of London's underbelly. Another segue into history looks at the French tradition of horror theater called "Grand Guignol."

The Sondheim-live segment will disappoint theater buffs looking for clips of the Broadway musical. What fun to see an Angela Lansbury singing performance next to one by Carter -- or was the omission merciful and deliberate?

For those folks who could actually watch Depp execute a slice of life, the how-we-did-it segments reveal the technical accoutrement for shooting blood and chuting bodies. Then make-up artists, effects and costume designers revel in their own clever contributions to the bloodstained bloodbath.

Seventeen year veteran collaborators, Depp and Burton talk about their creative lives as Hollywood dissidents. And the Features close down with a couple of galleries: concept art, pics from the film, and shots of the filmmaking.

All very satisfying, but still sadly absent is more about the staged Sweeney Todd heritage. The trailer is included but the running film commentary is absent - though not missed. It could easily be redundant with the already full cornucopia of info.

Sweeney Todd

And the Oscar Goes to…

With the fine Collector's Editions of DVDs - like Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Elizabeth - The Golden Age and Phantom of the Opera - a new category for the Academy Awards would be welcomed. (I confess, I'm a loco Bonus junkie).The 2008 released DVDs of 2007 movies would compete in next year's award ceremony (2009). Good for everybody: we, the audience, would love the competing elaborations and the movie makers would love the renewed enthusiasm and sales. Even the nominees would be winners. It's a win-win-win proposition. Why not?

Sweeney Todd

Studio: Dreamworks

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jayne Wisener, Jamie Campbell Bower

Length: 116 minutes

Rated: R

Aspect ratio: 1:85:1

  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

English SDH, French, Spanish

Purchase Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition)

Bookmark:   del.icio.us     Reddit     Google

Free NewsAlert