sweenytodd.jpgDreamWorks Home Entertainment
In shops on 1 April

If you have not already indulged in Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” then you should know that you are in for a visual feast that only this combination of talents can bring to the screen.  Johnny Depp, Stephen Sondheim’s masochistic score and a killer production design create a visceral and engaging film.  Adapting this exquisite musical (regardless of the creative team doing the interpretation) is a huge undertaking.  Sure, the material is so rich and juicy that it begs to be a moving picture, but the music that has become so loved by theatre crowds around the world, is so epic and sweeping that the screen almost confines it.  Perhaps the operatic tone needs to fill concert halls and theatres.  If you’ve never heard the New York Philharmonic’s 2000 recording of the show (starring George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald and Neil Patrick Harris), then you don’t quite know the power of the show and the story from which it is based.  For my money (and I didn’t even see the Philharmonic staging, but only have the CDs), there is no better telling out there.  The vocals of that cast paint more pictures and evoke more feelings of yearning and fear than any film could muster.  And yet, this is Tim Burton here.  Tim Burton is one of the world’s best – and coolest – directors.  It’s a remarkable film: dark and gory and funny and just as much fun as the penny dreadful that was the early source material for later adaptations.  When you see this Oscar-winning art direction, the amazing costumes from Colleen Atwood, you will be mesmerized.  On the two-disc edition, there’s also some great features on the transition from musical to film (featuring Sondheim), the history of this character in literature and plays, and the making of the film.  Just as tasty as a meat pie.