Upfront disclosure: I am a Sondheimophile. I even went in with low expectations of this movie. The leads are NOT singers. I like Johnny Depp. But, I'm sorry. Sweeney needs to be a booming bass voice to give it that extra 'ummffth' of forboding and sinister darkness. I thought the movie was more of a caricature--too "Bride of Frankenstein"ish. Helena Bonnam Carter goes FLAT in most of her songs! You're recording this in a studio for fuck's sake! Re-record it and mix/splice it until it's on key through the whole song! I'm so pissed that I pre-ordered the soundtrack.
Antony is some androgenous 'pretty boy', hardly a rugged seaman. But he and Toby at least had good singing voices. I'm really surprised that SS sanctioned this. Really, Stephen?! I do want more of the general public to know your work, as I think you're highly under appreciated and under-rated. But this is not the best example of showcasing your genious. I was not expecting the play to be reproduced on the screen. It would not translate well. But I expected better/more from Tim Burton.
I had a discussion with my friend who is more of a musical snob than I. He liked the movie. He made the argument that it had to be made with big name actors who were not singers, rather than great singers who were not big hollywood names or not get made. My assessment is that it should not have been made then. I can't believe all of the reviewers who have gone orgasmic with their reviews.