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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
From: Paramount, Dreamworks
For: DVD
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Musical
Film Rating: Restricted*
  *additional content may not be rated
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical, this film has all the hallmarks of a Burton/Depp labor of love.
Posted May 13, 2008
First things first: Sweeney Todd isn't nearly as bloody as we were led to believe. Yes, plenty of throats are slit in this 19th century revenge tale, and crimson does indeed gush freely from out these wounds.

However, while the blood may be shocking in the context of a musical, it is, in the end, no worse than what one might see in a relatively tame slasher flick. Only the most squeamish of modern moviegoers need worry that it will be too much to bear.

That annoying misperception identified, let's move on.

Sweeney Todd is a highly stylized and thoroughly watchable movie based on a stage musical of the same name about a vengeful haircutter who seeks retribution for injustices done to himself and his family by luring those whom he perceives to be wicked into his barbershop-cum-bakery of horrors.

Of course, the film's fun isn't in its plot, which is predictable even if you aren't familiar with the now famous story, but rather in the manner in which the movie has been crafted.

Having worked together five times previously, director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp have developed a recognizable collaborative style. The same pasty make-up, dark humor, and over-the-top theatrics that are hallmarks of movies like Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are all at work here. Consequently, the audience's enjoyment of Sweeney Todd can be accurately gauged based on its reception of previous Burton/Depp projects.

The two-disc special edition DVD is packed to near bursting with special features. Some of the more interesting bits include a look at the original musical, a fascinating examination of the supposed (but not really real) demon barber of London, and a featurette that focuses on the not-insignificant joint creative force brought to bear by the trio of Burton, Depp, and co-star Helena Bonham Carter.
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Score:  4  (out of 5)