Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

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Tim Burton's Corpse Bride --- With the voices of Johnny Depp and Emily Watson

Mar 9, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:the music of Danny Elfman

Cons:messed up story, dark in premise and appearance, too short to cover its bases

The Bottom Line: I don't think that the film is worth seeing, because it is too dark in premise, and it really misses out on creating emotion for its viewers.


The title alone is enough to scare people away from seeing the film, and I think part of Tim Burton's intended humor is lost on a theater-going crowd that wants to understand what they are getting into. My first viewing of a preview for his film Corpse Bride was not a very good one, and I left feeling slightly confused at what the movie was about. The second time I saw it, I was turned off from seeing it, and I only really ended up seeing it because I rented it through my Blockbuster unlimited pass. It seemed like it could be a "campy" movie that was geared towards becoming a cult classic, and I thought it was worth checking out, just to see if it had an interesting feel to it. Tim Burton's animation is a little "out-there" already, and having seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, I was a little prepared for what lay ahead of me anyways. The film however ended up losing me about 20 minutes into it, because it just lacked something to make it good. The lacking element could be different depending on who is doing the viewing, but for me I think it was the lack of sub-plots or sub-text to the main story.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride brings us the story of a man set up to be married by his parents to a woman whose parents have done basically the same thing. Neither has ever met before, and both sets of parents are under the assumption that their child is marrying into money. The goal of each set is to insure their family will have money in the very near future. Unfortunately neither is aware that one family works in a fish market, and the other is mere minutes from living on the streets themselves. So the pairing isn't really on the level no matter how you look at it, and the two kids are as nervous as can be. Johnny Depp voices the character of Victor Van Dort, and he is the one schedule to marry Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson's voice). Though they at first don't fall into the role of accepting children to this arrangement, when they do finally meet, you can tell that there is an attraction under the surface that could use a little more exploring. The marriage is scheduled for the next day though, and Victor heads out to the woods to figure out things in his own mind, and come to his own realizations. While there, is a twist of fate, and while practicing his vows, he accidentally asks another woman to marry him.

The twist of the story, is that this woman has actually died, and for all intents and purposes is a corpse. This is one of the things that makes the movie seem quite odd from the start, and where of course, the title of the film comes from. Helena Bonham Carter voices the Corpse Bride, who died in those woods waiting for the man she was going to marry. Victor happened to be the one to finally come across her, and a marriage between them occurs. As a Tim Burton film, everything is surrounded by a deep gloom and darkness is used in a lot of his animation. There are hidden periods of softness, but the story is really one that deals with death, and the relationship that can exist once someone has passed on. It is a little creepy to see a lot of the elements of the film, and there are certain sequences thrown in there simply for a "gross-out" factor. There are other times when unneeded musical numbers are performed by skeletons and spiders that do more to annoy an audience member than make then happy with the film. The plot of one man courting two women he has met on the same day for the first time is where the story stays, and even though there are a dozen supporting characters thrown at you, the movie doesn't offer a lot of thickness to the viewer.

The DVD version of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride came it at 73 minutes running time (76 with credits), and I was quite grateful that the film did end up being that short. Like I said earlier, about 20 minutes into the story, I had just about had enough of the film, because there weren't very many qualities holding my interest. Though I understand that Tim Burton was going for specific things with the way characters were used and drawn, I didn't like it at all. Instead of seeming real in the slightest, I couldn't find myself getting lost in the story. I have to at least believe that it could possibly happen for my interest to grow, and the way the characters were drawn further took me out of the film. In addition, there was not enough good dialogue to carry the story, and it ended up being just a few sequences which could be summed up as Victor getting married to Victoria, only to accidentally marry a corpse, and then the ramifications of those actions. The film is quite dark, not appropriate for a younger audience, and the theme could be way too macabre for a lot of audience members. The film was really missing its heart, though it tries to convince you otherwise, and it kept me from liking the film. I don't really recommend this one, and I have a hard time even thinking people will remember it 5 years from now. I did however like the score that Danny Elfman brought to the film, and I wouldn't mind hearing it in another film. Beyond that, my eyes won’t see this one again.











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