Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton
Starring the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonhom Carter, Emily Watson, Richard E. Grant, Albert Finney, Joanna Lumley, and Christopher Lee.
OK, so one of my favourite films is The Nightmare Before Christmas. The soundtrack was the first CD I ever bought. The imagery, the songs, that film just haunted me. So, when I learned that Tim Burton was doing another stop-motion animated film that was thematically similar, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to see what he’d cook up next. More cool images, more twisted Danny Elfman songs…just more. And I saw the result today: The Corpse Bride.
Victor (Depp) and Victoria (Watson) are about to be wed. Things is, they’ve never met each other. Victor’s parents are lower-class but stinking rich with “new money.” Victoria’s parents are aristocratic, but broke. This isn’t so much a wedding but a business transaction, designed to elevate both families. Lucky for us, though, that with Victor and Victoria, it’s love at first sight. Victor, however, always stumbles over his vows and darn near burns down the church. The priest (an absolutely fantastic Lee) sends Victor out to practice his vows. Victor does so in a forest clearing, and he slips the ring onto a branch. But it’s not a branch. It’s a bony finger, belonging to the Corpse Bride (Carter). Now, wedded to this undead woman, Victor gets whisked off to the Land of the Dead, to be with the Corpse Bride forever. While Victor scrambles to return to “upstairs,” Victoria has to contend with the advances of the villainous Bittern Barkin. Will Victor be reunited with Victoria? Will the Corpse Bride ever find true love? Will everyone get married to the right person?
I just loved this film. Despite the morbid setting, this film actually follows a fairly routine romantic comedy/Disney animated formula. What makes it special are all the macabre touches that the setting brings. It’s just so full of dark humour that I was giddy. And again, the animation is amazing. The Corpse Bride has a certain beauty to her cold, dead face. The voice acting is wonderful, especially Lee as the priest and Michael Gough (Alfred in Tim Burton’s Batman) as the priest’s Land of the Dead counterpart. Sadly, though, the songs don’t quite click like they did in The Nightmare Before Christmas. This film didn’t haunt me like Nightmare, but it is just grand, dark, twisted fun.