it's no secret that when it comes to Sondheim I'm daft. nor that I consider "Sweeney Todd" to be his masterpiece. since Harold Prince's monumental original staging I've seen some 5 or 6 productions including the chilling performance of Brian Stokes Mitchell at Kennedy Center & real life husband & wife George Ball & Amanda McBroom on the west coast. I always find something new in the work.
when I heard it was to become a film I had a Mylanta moment. Broadway rarely survives the transition to cinema. & this is a complex & difficult piece. directors & cast members were in flux. finally that amazing team of Tim Burton -- who I consider an important filmmaker -- & Johnny Depp -- easily the best film actor of his generation -- were in place. but still they were going to muck abt with a classic.
my initial viewing of the motion picture gave me mixd feelings abt almost every aspect. let's start with the cast. picking nonsingers was a risk that doesn't work. Depp has some powerful moments. he acts the part well. but having heard so many wonderful singers in the role it's difficult to fully embrace his Sweeney. the part was written for a baritone. Depp sings it as a tenor. this is a major flaw. the original range supports the gravity of the character. when Depp's voice slides off in those glorious arias the performance stumbles.
what can I say abt Helena Bonham Carter. we all have people whose physicality repulses us. I don't like looking at her. that monobrow & pinch of a face. I'd have trouble casting her in anything. maybe one of Oz's flying monkeys. at one time Imedela Staunton was set to play Mrs. Lovett & I was so looking forward to that. but Burton chose his mistress instead & I was immediately disappointd. however I must say that when she actd HBC was better than I was expecting. that sd her inability to vocalize destroys what cd've been a major performance.
I cd write much more but I'm still digesting. it wasn't a horrid experience at all. it was better than many directors cd've pulld off but it wasn't as good as it deserves to be.