Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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Surprising, true to Sonheim, but a few bumps...
As a huge fan of the original Broadway production of this wonderful Sondheim masterpiece, I was very worried when I heard that Johnny Depp had been given the title role as the role of Sweeney Todd is the most demanding baritone role in all of musical theatre. However, I am very pleased to say that Depp not only can sing, but he can sing well, very well. He infuses his song with the motives and emotions of his character, which is actually very hard to do. Helena Bonham Carter, has a very hard job: she has to create a character that is true to what is in the script and that can stand apart from the original Mrs. Lovett, the incomprabale Angela Lansbury, and I must say, she does. Her Mrs. Lovett is more soft, more sultry, more frightened even. However, Helena does fail to deliver a show-stopping "The Worst Pies in London" - her voice doesn't suit the song at all and she is not a belter by any means - her voice is very breathy, very soft, very quiet, but also very easy to listen to because it flows like water. Her voice does fit the lullaby-esque "Wait" and "Not While I'm Around" very well, and her "By the Sea" is very sweet and full of hope. Like Depp, she portrays her feelings when she sings, but, she is going to face a large amount of criticism from the Broadway circle, but film-goers and Broadway fans who are open to different interpretations of a role will love her. I certainly loved her "Wait" and "By the Sea", but Angelea Lansbury will always have every actress beat when it comes to the character's zaniness and her versions of "The Worst Pies in London", "God That's Good", and "Wait" will always be the best. But, Helena is still very enjoyable. Now, there are parts of this recording that beat the Broadway version: the film's Anthony and Johanna are WONDERFUL and very believable and can sing very, very well, whereas their Broadway counterparts are sappy and annoying, especially Betsey Jolson in the filmed version of the original stage show (hello, she crosses her eyes during her cadenza in "Green Finch and Linnet Bird"). Jayne Wisener is the BEST Johanna I have yet heard, and the same goes for Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony. The film's Toby, Ed Sanders, is also superior to Broadway show's because HE IS ACTUALLY A CHILD, not a petite, short, 30 year-old man masquerading as one. Also, his "Not While I'm Around" is very effective because it is so believable and very sweet. The orchestrations in this version are also, for the most part, better than the stage version because there are more musicians and the sound is more big, brassy, and sweeping. But, this is no surprise since the orchestrations for the film were done by the same man who did them for the Broadway version, so, he just fine-tuned what he had already done. Now for the disappointing stuff: Johanna and Anthony's duet, the briskly-paced and youthful love ballad "Kiss Me" is gone, and it leaves a big hole because now Anthony and Johanna have no song in which to not only sing together, but we also miss a lot of character development. "God, That's Good" is a sad imitation of a great number from the stage version, and again, Helena can't beat Angela Lansbury at this one. Also, the song is far to short - I would them have rather cut it completely than butcher it the way they did. Also, the Beggar Woman doesn't sing as much in this, which I hated because she is a VERY important character. However, the good of this recording does out-weigh the bad, so, I do recommend it to both Burton/Johnny fans and to Sondheim fans, but only if they aren't overly critical of the changes made and the actors' interpretations of the roles. '
I have fallen in love with this, but don't mistake me, I also fell in love with the original Broadway. It's just sad to see how many of the Broadway fans of this are disappointed. I mean, seriously, how can you be disappointed? You would be far more upset if a movie was never made! You all can't have it both ways. Me, I prefer this over no movie at all. I have to say, even though some criticize the singing, I think it brings a brilliant spin to the characters. Depp doesn't need an angelic voice, and the force he has behind his voice makes the character far more fierce. As for Bonham-Carter, I loved her. The original Broadway Mrs. Lovett always aggrivated me. She was too jaunty and obnoxious. The new Mrs. Lovett is quite, mysterious, and extremely sympathetic. It's such a fresh and brilliant take on a classic formula. I for one, am in love.
Just came back from seeing the movie! Those who hate blood and gore...you might wanna pass by this movie. Really bloodly...yet comical. It's a dramatic, musical, comedic, horror film. And Johnny Depp just makes the role! *Gasp!* I didn't know Snape could sing!
Born: March 22, 1930 in New York, NY
Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s