Corpse Bride (2005) is a stop-motion animated fantasy/musical/family film, which is somewhat similar in style to Henry Selick’s film The Nightmare Before Christmas, except on this one Tim Burton is a producer and a director.
Directed by Tim Burton (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988)) and Mike Johnson (The Devil Went Down to Georgia (1996 Short), The PJs (1999 TV)).
Written by John August (The Nines (2007), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)), Pamela Pettler (Monster House (2006), 9 (2009)) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Addams Family (1991)).
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse and others.
I guess since this is the first movie of his that I review, I should express my thoughts on Tim Burton. I used to really like him and not without a reason. I mean, he’s made some of my favourite films, like Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns, but then as I got older and got more familiar with his films, I sort of grew tired of his heavily stylised visuals. I think Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Alice In Wonderland are two lifeless, flawed and gimmicky movies, which shouldn’t exist. However, I still like most of his movies and I still look forward to seeing more from him.
This film has one thing going for it, that makes me enthusiastic right from the first frames. It’s stop-motion animation. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just find it beautiful and fascinating. Here again I got to enjoy this amazingly detailed eye candy. And there’s also something about it, that makes scary scenes really fucking creepy. Some of it has this eerie silent era horror feel.
There’s some nice touches sprinkled throughout the film. Like the brand plate on a piano saying “Harryhausen”. You know, as in reference to Ray Harryhausen, the great special effects artists, who is known for his work in stop-motion. Or in this other instance, we see a skeleton that looks like Ray Charles. There’s also a funny Gone With The Wind reference, you know the quote.
The skeleton dog is really cute, which if you think about it is kind of weird, so that’s an accomplishment, I guess.
The voice acting is pretty much perfect, but some of the characters were written for the actors, so I guess that helped. Of course there’s Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp again, which I think is something Tim Burton should stop doing. I really like them all, but it’s getting hard to take this seriously. Also Christopher Lee is in the cast, so that’s, of course, awesome.
I’m not the biggest fan of musicals, because they tend to slow down the narrative, but I found the musical numbers quite enjoyable and didn’t mind them at all.
It’s sort of classic plot, but nicely twisted and unpredictable. I really didn’t know how it will end, as I kept guessing if the dead will turn out to be evil or what. And surely enough, the ending surprised me. And afterwards I got that feeling, which reminded me, why I used really like Burton. I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s good and the same as what I got after watching Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.
Overall, a good, well-made, beautiful film and recommended for people of all ages. I liked it a lot.