The Corpse Bride

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A young man on the eve of his wedding is practicing his vows and puts the ring in an unwise place…and ends up married to the Corpse Bride.

Another of what will undoubtedly be a long string of Burton/Elfman collaborations with dead things as the main characters. Sigh.

Okay, let’s get out the flensing knives and get started:

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas was very very cool and a big hit…this is not nearly as cool and not going to be as big a hit.
  • NBC had cutting edge claymation that was just astonishing to behold…this has the same, but it’s no longer cutting edge, although it’s still pretty cool.
  • NBC had a ton of Danny Elfman songs and music…ditto this one, and that’s not necessarily a plus…
  • NBC had a lot of cool scary and undead creatures who were just so darn…LOVEABLE. This movie tries to do that, and just doesn’t manage it.

Okay, I can stop, you get it. Burton was obviously trying to reinvent the wheel, and the fabulous profits therefrom, and of course once you’ve done the miraculous, doing it again pretty much the same way just doesn’t have the same impact.

This story is supposedly a Russian folktale (read: no copyright) and is fine, as far as it goes. The claymation is excellent, of course, and Serious Honey Johnny Depp does one of the voices (a waste of a gorgeous face and acting talent, if you ask me).

But aside from good animation and a couple of funny lines/situations, there isn’t much here. The whole movie has one punch line, which is that he’s in love with one woman and accidentally married to another, and the only question is how this will be resolved satisfactorily.

And the whole ‘village of the dead’ thing just didn’t work. It not only left way too many questions, but so many things about it weren’t quite right or well thought out…it was kind of like visiting a stage set rather than a well-thought-out place (like Hallowe’en Town…to go back to NBC YET AGAIN, but it begs for the comparison.) Especially the slightly twee conceit of having the living world be shown in monochrome and the village of the dead in color. Beating us over the head with that one didn’t help anything, Mr. Burton, you know? don’t assume your moviegoers are stupid, and don’t claim it as an homage to Wizard of Oz, we don’t believe you.

And of course, as is our wont, Mr. Otter and I discussed this afterwards…and we both agreed that it would have been much better filmed with live action (especially with JOHNNY DEPP, woof!) with slightly oogie effects, rather than animation…but that’s just our opinion.

Anyway. The animation is good, and some of the special effects, but it’ll be just as good as a rental. And when you rent it, you can turn down the volume on those DAMN SOUNDALIKE ELFMAN SONGS!! This should be a bonus track on the DVD, the ‘no bad songs’ version…

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