Let me count the ways...
1) Johnny Depp. Anyone who even remotely knows me, knows I will watch Mr. Depp frolic in pig shit - it doesn't matter what he is in, I will certainly watch it. From his bloody bed-sucking demise in his first movie 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' to his eccentric role as our favorite scissor-wielding orphan in 'Edward Scissorhands to skittish Icabod Crane in 'Sleepy Hollow' to Captain Jack himself - he has always picked off-beat, unusal roles. Usually on the darker side (i.e. 'From Hell', 'The Ninth Gate' and among others, this title role) he makes the part his own, and has shown he is one of the best actors of this generation. And that's not to mention he's not too hard on the eyes, either!
2) The barber chair. Not to give too much away - but I think you've seen on the commercials and trailers this brilliant contraption that disposes of the corpses after ole Sweeney has given them the closest shave imaginable.
3) Meat pies. Now, I'm no vegetarian, but these meat pies make me want to run for cover somewhere close to PETA headquarters.
4) Burton. Always imagining the dark side of life - his bleak, atmospheric sets and morbid fascinations with somber stories is something I've grown accustomed to expecting from one of the masters of telling a macabre tale.
5) Music. What would a musical be without it? Duh. Just a silly script. And who knew Johnny Depp could actually sing that well?
Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics have always been what is the driving force in the story. I actually much prefer the movie's soundtrack to any of the Broadway versions, which are -in my opinion- way over the top.
6) Set design, costumes and art direction. Whoever was in charge of these tasks should have won the Oscar (maybe they did but I don't feel like looking up those stats right now....). The bleak, dark, dripping with atmosphere London in this film is superior to most other dreck that passes in movies these days. You can just feel the Jack The Ripperish ambience of the streets. I love this kind of mood that Tim Burton is so famous for. Well done.
All in all, a fine turn by all involved. Depp and the movie itself won Golden Globes, and it's no wonder.
Poor Sweeney - he's lost his wife and daughter to the evil and scheming Judge Turpin. He was locked away for 15 years, in which time his wife was left for dead and his daughter was locked away in a room, hidden from the world for the Judge's own ulterior motives. But Sweeney's got a plan of his own, and he'll have a bloody good time bringing his agenda to fruition.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett has come upon hard times making her meat pies, noticing that her competition is using morsels of a feline nature in her recipes...
Wouldn't it be something if.....
Naaahhh... I won't spoil it for ya.
Suffice it to say when these two schemers put their heads together, they really take the cake. Or should I say pie?