Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

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Corpse Bride is Surprisingly Good!

Mar 23, 2006 (Updated Mar 25, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting plot concept, great puppetry and use of colors

Cons:Helena Bonham Carter, could be funnier

The Bottom Line: Give this a try for something completely different.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Corpse Bride tells the story of Victor Van Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp) and Victoria Everglot (voiced by Emily Watson). The couple is to be united in prearranged marriage, and hits it off surprisingly well. Unfortunately, while Victor is out in the woods practicing his vows he accidentally proposes marriage to the Corpse Bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter). She has been jilted at the alter in a big way, and just was waiting for her next groom to come along. Victor struggles to escape from his unlucky union while Victoria tries to avoid marrying the stuck up Barkis Bittern in Victor’s absence. There is much chaos among both the living and the dead as people plan weddings, cancel weddings, etc.

What I Liked
I was impressed with the creativity in this movie’s plot. Who does a movie about corpses? Corpse Bride didn’t remind me of any other film I’ve ever seen, which is a rare accomplishment. As a result I didn't think the film was trite or predictable. Two thirds of the way into the film my husband asked me what I thought was going to happen and I honestly didn’t know. This is partly because Burton manages to make all three of the leads likable and sympathetic. The film doesn’t pit the sweet woman against the evil one, but instead introduces two unique female leads. Victor is shy and a bit wimpy, but generally good-hearted and caring. I thought I would be put off by the whole corpse concept but somehow Burton made a somewhat bizarre idea seem normal and relatable.

The voice acting was very good. I loved Johnny Depp as Victor, partly because I forgot he was one playing the role. In a more minor role, Joanna Lumley is great as the evil Mrs. Everglot. Listen also for Deep Roy to make a voice appearance as the General.

If you are a fan of puppets like I am, you will get a huge kick out of this film. The characters are brought to life through stop action and very convincingly. The lead character puppets actually have mechanical faces, and are over two feet tall! A lot of work went into the creation of this film, and it shows. If you are watching on DVD be sure to check out the special feature on the creation of puppets. The use of color in the film is also well done. The “alive world” is done in dark shades and is very dreary, while the “dead world” is much more vibrant in color.

What I Didn’t Like
I didn’t find the songs in the film to be very memorable, with the possible exception of “According to Plan”. However, I do notice a lot of similarity to the soundtrack from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as I’m sitting here with the DVD’s main menu background music playing. It's not that the soundtrack was bad, I just thought it was not as distinct as the rest of the movie. Most of it was of the "I've heard that before but I'm not sure where..." variety.

On a similar subject, I thought Helena Bonham Carter as the Corpse Bride was the weak link in the film’s voice acting. Her voice really faded away during the song “Tears to Shed”, and I think her character should have showed even more spunk in her voice.

Additionally, I had hoped the film would be just a little funnier. It made me smile throughout, but not really laugh out loud. I'm a little surprised by this, because usually Tim Burton stuff is funny, even if a little out there.

Overall…
I don’t always “get” Tim Burton’s work, but I do appreciate the risks he takes. Corpse Bride worked for me. The plot was creative and I liked a lot of the film’s characters. Although there are corpses, this film would probably not be any scarier for children than any kids’ movie shown around Halloween. There was some room for improvement, but on the whole this is a pretty decent little film.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD

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