Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Corpse Bride

Tim Burton assembles the usual cast of characters, actors he’s worked with before several times (including his wife), and has produced another creepy film. Only this time it’s animated, has energetic if weird characters, and is, for the most part, worth watching.

Corpse Bride features the voices of Johnny Depp as our young, shy suitor, Victor, and Emily Watson as the equally shy Victoria whom he will marry only a day after meeting her, in a match arranged by their parents. But he keeps screwing up the vows. Going off to practice them, he unfortunately and unknowingly recites them to a woman who is dead. She accepts his offer, and, as any other enthusiastic bride, drags him into her world. This world happens to be underground.

Yes, it’s a strange movie but it’s got a lot of charm. The characters are definitely ghoulish but they have a terrific sense of rhythm. (Music is used sparingly but to great effect, lightening the heaviness of a rather ghoulish situation.) And our corpse bride is really sexy. Well, she’d be sexy if her right eye didn’t keep falling out. And there’s that wisecracking maggot that comes out of the socket from time to time. Oh, yes, and her wrist is severed and clanks off her arm at the worst times, an event which causes some anguish to the young groom. Still, he sees her charm. She has a personality, whereas his living bride-to-be is rather blank. She may have a personality – he doesn’t know enough about her at this point – but the sort-of-dead one is absolutely brimming with life.

In fact, the whole land beneath the surface has more life, more animation, and a lot more color than the land of the living. This is not lost on our young Victor. His parents seem the loving type, but are terribly misguided. And Victoria’s parents are already living a dead life, so absent of love and full of malice are they.

The Corpse Bride has a lot more going for it than Burton’s other Halloweenish try, The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was just plain boring and suffered from writer’s block. The animation is really marvelous in that these artists employ real puppets and backgrounds against a green screen, and move the puppets and their faces meticulously for full range of emotion.

But the Corpse Bride is not for everyone. It is much too intense and downright scary for young children. Or teenagers who are sensitive. Or adults who scare easily.

But if you can sit through a movie about creepy people and body parts who have more style than the living, go see it. Thumb's up.


Post a Comment

<< Home