Sunday, October 02, 2005

Corpse Bride Review

Recently, Tim Burton released his second stop-motion feature, Corpse Bride. The film is once again an excellent piece of work for Burton, delivering quality, imagination, and a greater progression over his last stop-motion film.
For those of you who have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas in the mid-90's, you'll feel a strong sense of familiarity with Corpse Bride. The production/character design is very similar, as well as both feature's short length. Corpse Bride also has a musical element (once again featuring the amazing talents of Danny Elfman), though this was toned down from Nightmare Before Christmas which was almost nothing but.

Corpse Bride is set in a 19th century European village where Victor (Johnny Depp) is the son of a recently-turned-wealthy family, thrust into an arranged marriage with Victoria (Emily Watson) and her rich-but-fallen-on-hard-times snobby family. As the story progresses, Victor, who is both nervous and clumsy about the whole arrangement, accidentally marries a living corpse, the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham-Carter) and is dragged down into the Land of the Dead.

The Land of the Dead proves more "alive" than the real world, with active, colourful characters, and Victor is ultimately faced with staying with the Corpse Bride, whom he comes to care for, or to try and return to his real bride-to-be.

Though possessing several songs, the story of Corpse Bride is much more narrative based than The Nightmare Before Christmas, and though a fantastical situation, the characters and themes are much more developed and executed, thus making for a stronger, more engaging tale than its predecessor.

The story, though simple, is powerful in it's theme of right, wrong, and acceptance, and recalling another review I read when the film was first released, in the end you do indeed wish that Victor could end up with both Victoria and the Corpse Bride, as they're both such endearing characters who simply want to be loved.

Corpse Bride is indeed another cinematographical achievement for Burton, and with a running time of only 1h 15min (approx.), it is a film well worth experiencing for its imagination, skill, and shear fun. You won't be disappointed.

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