Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the movie musical starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton, arrives on DVD today (Tuesday). Personally, I thought the movie was a disaster – the music is terrible, the story boring (amazing, considering the movie is about a serial killer who slices people’s necks and then has his “girlfriend” turn the bodies into meat pies to serve to unsuspecting patrons) and the acting overrated, but apparently I am in the minority. A lot of people loved Sweeney Todd for a reason I cannot fathom… usually, when I hate a movie and others love it, I at least can identify the reason; with this one, the only thing that comes to mind is that people are so consumed by the fact that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are teaming up once again that they have convinced themselves it must be good.
Anyway, regardless of how good (or bad) Sweeney Todd is, I have to say the DVD is excellent. I have the two-disc Special Collector’s Edition, and it is jam-packed full of behind-the-scenes featurettes, documentaries and more that give you all kinds of insights into the film. It basically looks like the DVD staff went out and found every random thing they could find about Sweeney Todd, the movie or otherwise, and shoved them onto the discs… and the result is surprisingly good.
While there are plenty more features than this, the memorable ones that stand out are:
- Sweeney Todd movie press release, with Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and the rest. Basically, the cast and crew take questions from the press and answer them in an insightful but often funny way. I realized that I had never before actually heard Burton speak. Some of Helena Bonham Carter’s comments about having to sleep with the director (and then about Depp not having slept with anyone, ever) to get her role are quite entertaining.
- Â The truth about Sweeney Todd, an examination of the facts and fictions that are built into the character. I was surprised to see that the character has actually been around for centuries in some form or another, and that there is actually debate as to whether the man really lived or not. It seems clear to me that there is no real Sweeney Todd, and instead his character is a result of many different real-life and legendary people that have cropped up over the years.
Okay, that’s only two, but there are a slew of special features, all of which are useful in their own way. Not are overwhelmingly long, but have just the right running length to be useful without being boring.
I still think the music in the film sucks, though. I like musicals, but I clearly don’t like musicals where the characters sing sentences.
Read my Sweeney Todd movie review here.