‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street’ Blu-ray Review
‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street’ is a Broadway musical from the 80’s turned to a film. In 2006, there was a TV made movie released which wasn’t as successful. In 2007, Tim Burton who has had a long interest in the Broadway play brought the musical to the silver screen. ‘Sweeney Todd’ would make $52 million dollars at the box office with $34 million dollars in DVD sales. The money brought in between the musical, theatrical release, and DVD sales have made this a very successful act. ‘Sweeney Todd’ is a rather enjoyable film and on Bluray it brings the film to life.
Director Tim Burton brings the Broadway musical to life on the silver screen with his use of dark visual style that he has become well know for over the years. Burton has such an imagination that his film work translates very well. Johnny Depp has been Burton’s choice for use as lead in many of his films over the years. The Depp/Burton combo has translated very well from their animated and live action work.
The story of ‘Sweeney Todd’ is an interesting one and revolves around the return of Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) to London. Barker was a very successful barber in London 15 years ago. Things went sour for Barker when the crooked Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) places Barker in a prison and takes his wife as his own. This would lead to Barker escaping from prison and finding his way back to London under his new alias, Sweeney Todd. Todd’s return to London is to get revenge on Turpin for the crimes he has committed on him and his family. When Todd arrives to London, he finds out that his home is no longer his and that someone else lives there. He meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) who specializes in meat pies, but things aren’t going so well for her either as she is struggling to make it.
Things get interesting as they both decide to work together and that Todd would carve up their evil doer’s and Lovett would cook the remains in her meat pies easily disposing the body parts. Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies become the talk of the town. Then they run into a problem once Todd’s identity is discovered by another barber Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen). This now opens the door for others to know Sweeney’s identity; we also meet his daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener).
The set pieces for Sweeney Todd are fantastic and Burton does some very neat things with making this a very gritty looking London. While there is CGI in the film, it doesn’t detract from the film in anyway as there is a good mixture and not done overwhelming way. This approach brings the world of ‘Sweeney Todd’ come to life.
The acting in ‘Sweeney Todd’ is fantastic with such a talented cast and Depp does a fantastic job with his singing as the lead vocalist. Johnny Depp proves yet again as to why he is such a good actor. He really takes roles as his own and gets himself totally into the role. I wasn’t too sure how the film would turn out with the cast that was selected to play the role and also partake in the signing parts, they really pulled it off very well.
The print is presented in 1080p VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 aspect ratio. DreamWorks and Paramount engineers have done a phenomenal job with the picture quality. The print is clean and pristine throughout, except for a few of the darker scenes which were lacking some pop. There is some subtle grain throughout the print, but you have to be looking hard to notice the grain. One scene at the beginning with the ship coming through the mist has grain that is noticeable. Details are very good throughout the entire film and as an example with the scenes when Todd carves his victims look at the throats that are slashed and the blood.
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track. While the rears don’t always get a lot of use throughout the film, they prove useful once the film’s score kicks in and anytime there are sound effects. What is rather impressive is the use of the center channel where all the dialogue comes through. All of the dialogue and signing pieces come through so clean that it is amazing with what can be done on the audio front.
The amount of special features on this ‘Sweeney Todd’ Blu-ray release is very amazing considering that there are many releases that don’t even receive half of what Paramount/DreamWorks have offered here. All the extras are offered in 1080p High Definition, which is also something that I wish more studios would follow. The two documentaries are the most interesting pieces of the special features, but also Sweeney Todd is Alive is also another great feature that I recommend.
- 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 sessions, and more.
- Sweeney Todd Press Conference: Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, and Richard Zanuck.
- Musical Mayhem: Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd
- Sweeney Todd is Alive: The Real History of the Demon Barber
- 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
- The Razor;s Refrain
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
I highly recommend ‘Sweeney Todd’ on Blu-ray as this is the ultimate edition of the film with superb video and audio quality. The film is gruesome and dark which may not fair to some as this may not be to their liking. While I am not a huge fan of musicals, ‘Sweeney Todd’ was very enjoyable.
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