The overrated Stephen Sondheim musical, has now become the overrated film musical, "SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET." Johnny Depp is quite good in the lead role of Benjamin Barker, a barber exiled from his home in London for over a decade, after a sleezy, lustful judge, smitten with Barker's wife, plots to take her away from Benjamin, and rapes her. In the process, Barker's life is broken, his daughter taken away and raised by the judge. Barker uses his anger and time away to plot revenge, reinventing himself as "SWEENEY TODD," he rents space for a barbershop above a pie shop, and plots his revenge, while sharpening his blade skills, on unsuspecting customers, all the while preparing to ultimately lure the judge in for revenge and resolution. These moments wherein Todd dispatches of clientele are sure to be disturbing to many, as was the case with this reviewer, and Burton's attempt at dark humor by creating an over-the-top atmosphere with the amount of blood utilized, trapdoors, etc., don't minimize the disgust of what's taking place, and fail to endear one to Todd's otherwise understandable rage. The plot has Todd and his pie-store owner cohort, using the bodies for their meat in the pies being sold below, and making the pie-store a huge success in the process. Again, why and how this became successful is truly a mystery and disheartening.
DREAMWORKS/PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this release. The image quality is mixed. While the contrast for this typically dark look, is excellent, there is a surprising amount of noise throughout. Halos, macroblocking and other problems pop up throughout. Colors, often restrained, are solid.
DREAMWORKS/PARAMOUNT has provided a terrific Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Being a musical, music is prominently displayed throughout almost every scene. While discrete effects aren't as focused on as the score, the score offers one of the most full environments one will experience on dvd for quite a while. The dynamic range is outstanding, and vocals are perfectly intelligible in every instance.
DREAMWORKS/PARAMOUNT has included a number of extras for the "2 disc special Collector's edition." A documentary, running about 25 minutes, offers some great behind-the-scenes interviews and more.
A press conference with the director and stars, is far more entertaining than one could've expected.
A segment on the prosthetics used for victims, is an unusual but engaging featurette among many more offered.