Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

 


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I love Tim Burton. He has the best imagination and is one of the most creative, and talented directors working today. Rarely does he disappoint and the Corpse Bride is no exception. Corpse Bride tells the story of Victor Van Dort (voice of Johnny Depp) a reluctant groom whose newly rich parents are searching for the one thing money can’t buy – respectability. To reach their goal they’re marrying their son off to Victoria Everglot, (voice of Emily Watson) a properly bred, well titled young lady whose old, highly respectable family is flat broke. Through a series of events and no fault of his own, Victor finds himself married to the Corpse Bride (voice of Helena Bonham-Carter), a pretty young woman who died under mysterious circumstances on the eve of her elopement.

Shot using stop motion animation, a painstakingly slow process that involves moving models in miniscule increments as you move from frame to frame, Corpse Bride is a refreshing break from the now all too common CGI. Not only are the images fun but the cast of characters from the bodiless bartender at the local hole in the wall in the land of the dead to the miniature pirate, are a source of great entertainment and good laughs throughout the movie. Actually in many ways they steal the show making the main characters seem a little dull and underwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, dull and underwhelming are relative in this movie. Johnny Depp’s Victor Van Dort is an awkward, gangly, shy young man. His ineptness is humorous and endearing and you really hope things work out for him considering the set of parents he was given. Victoria Everglot is also shy and sweet and has parents that would make Cinderella’s family look like saints. Their interactions are charming and engaging and to few for my liking. It would have been nice to see more of them together as the try to wade through the waters of an arranged marriage neither is quite ready for.

What doesn’t work with Corpse Bride is that the story never quite gets off the ground. In many ways it felt like it was over before it began. Just when there is some real action brewing, we’re already headed for the climax and the denouement is soon there after. An extra half hour of film time wouldn’t have hurt. Also, you can point the villain out as soon as he is introduced. I know in animated films the good guys are supposed to look good and the bad guys bad but a little more subtle would have been nice. Not only was the villain predictable but the ending was as well. The movie left little in a way of a surprise ending, even in an animated movie it is nice to be a little surprised.

But those are minor complaints in a movie that was fun, imaginative and quite entertaining. Corpse Bride is good for the whole family, although it might be a little scary for kids younger than nine. So take the family and enjoy.

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