Corpse Bride

April 15, 2010

Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride

I’m trying to decide if it would be fair for me to call this one of my favorite Tim Burton films.  It is definitely one of his more memorable films with the stop motion animation that Burton uses so brilliantly.  It comes together with an engaging story and a pretty well thought out and displayed idea in this film.

The story is of a young man, Victor Von Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp), who has been put into an arranged marriage by his family, marrying him up into a higher level of society that his family likely belonged to before.  It isn’t that he doesn’t like his bride to be, Victoria Everglot (voiced by Emily Watson) but he has cold feet with the whole marriage thing and can’t get the vows right during the rehearsal of the ceremony.  He runs off into the woods to get his head on straight and practice the vows only to accidentally place the ring on the skeletal finger of the Corpse Bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter) and by the rules of the undead world he ends up marrying her.  He is then sucked from the world of the living into the world of the dead where he is serenaded and tries to escape back to the real world.  Things get even crazier as it is explained how the Corpse Bride ended up as a corpse and what is playing out at the same time in the real world.  Victor realizes that he can stay there and that he really doesn’t want to and with the help of many other undead they right the wrong that was committed against the Corpse Bride.

The voice talent in this film is very good.  It stars two regulars in Tim Burton films with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.  They give good performances as always.  The rest of the cast is very good from Emily Watson playing the non-corpse bride to be and Christopher Lee (Star Wars as Count Dooku and Saruman from Lord of the Rings) voices the pastor who is set to marry Victor and Victoria.  Danny Elfman, who is generally a composer, even gets into the act doing the voice for Bonejangles who introduces Depp’s character, Victor, to the afterlife with a rousing little number.

What makes this film really pop is Burton’s visual style that shows up in some many of his films.  He is simply a master when working with color and color schemes.  In this film he is really attacking how people lead these boring and drab lives.  This shows up in the world of the living everything borders on gray and any colors that there are end up being extremely muted.  The dead, without a care in the world, live in a much more vibrantly colored place.  The colors are much brighter and there is a full array of colors as compared to the few tones used in the real world.  The point that Burton is making with the coloration is that people end up being stuck in drab, boring, and colorless (how the film shows it) lives and it isn’t that being dead is so much more vibrant and exciting, but that they don’t have the same cares and worries, they can just enjoy what is going on around them and have fun.  And that is what is missing in real life the ability to enjoy and have fun.

Overall this is a really well put together film.  Burton, through all the films of his that I’ve seen, manages to put together the story in a visually entertaining way.  I know that some people don’t love his work as much simply because a lot of the films work with the same variety of visual styling, but he always works it in such a way that it matches the story.  This film works really well as an entertaining kids film, but it is shown as a “dark comedy” by IMDB for a reason, there are subtle jokes and twists to the story that Burton places in there to keep an older audience equally as interested in the film.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B+


One comment

  1. I thought it was quite good I’d agree with the overall grade of a B+, for me a majority of the music numbers felt lacking. not quite memorable, more annoying to me.

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