Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Rated 3.0

Tim Burton’s latest is a phantasmagoria of a period piece staffed with an excellent cast and painted with one Dickens of a palatte. A merry tale of a vengeful barber who sets up shop over a willing accomplice’s meat-pie bakery and proceeds to slice through the throats of those who have done him wrong (and in his eyes, society itself has done him wrong)—this is wicked Grand Guignol stuff. Too bad about the singing part. Of course, it’s based on the popular Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name, so that’s pretty much part and parcel of the project. But as the lyrics of the piece were used to fill in the environment of a sparse stage, here Burton and his crew do such a wonderful job of illustrating the grungy Fleet Street of Victorian London, so the songs seem redundant and superfluous. It doesn’t help matters any that the music is unremarkable and bland. Half a great movie, half droning sing-song.