TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Helena Bonham Carter
What's it about
A nervous young man named Victor Van Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp) is nervous about his arranged marriage to Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) and when practicing his vows, manages to accidentally commit to marrying the corpse of a bride (Helena Bonham Carter)!
Is it good movie?
This movie is a tough one to review really, because Iím so torn. Itís impossible not to recognize and attempt to appreciate all the incredible amount of labor and love that was put into this project, but at the same time, itís hard to praise a movie that barely registers a blip on the radar. Tim Burton is a genius, and one of my favorite directors. Whether one likes him or not, it must be admitted that the guy is an original, and in a way, the Corpse Bride is no different. The idea of a sheepish man who has been roped into marrying a in the Ďworld of the deadí is quite neat, in theory. The animation is incredible, and is almost completely hand-animated via stop motion miniatures. The voice actors are all spot on, especially Helena Bonham Carter, and our hero Johnny Depp. Thereís certainly plenty to look at.
Hereís the problem- when you set a standard as high as Tim Burton did with Nightmare Before Christmas , you leave audiences wanting more. While this movie is pretty, dark, and full of spooky songs and quirky characters, it feels like itís been done before, and better at that- because it has. This movie feels like it should have been made before Nightmare was, as it seems so simple (Burton later admits the basic story was fleshed out in only a few minutes). The whole project just seems like such a generic Burton idea (if there is such a thing)- spooky songs, pale characters, and death. The movie isnít bad, it just doesnít have anything particularly special to offer, especially if the viewer has seen the filmís predecessor. Everything is simply Ďthereí, and nothing jumps out as spectacular, which is so odd considering the vast amount of work that went into creating it. The Ďdeadí characters are really neat and unique, like the little worm, and the bride herself, but unfortunately, the whole picture just doesnít seem very innovative, and the characters barely have time to develop themselves, because the movieís so short, at only 78 minutes (although one could argue the same for Nightmare ).
Video / Audio
The Video is presented in a crisp and appropriately gloomy widescreen 1:85 presentation; it really shows off the hard labor the animators put into this baby.
The audio mix, on the other hand is somewhat lacking for a film that focuses almost as much on its audio, as it does on its video. The Corpse Bride is presented in 5.1, but seems to fall flat and isn't quite even for a movie that deserves better treatment.
The extras here are rather short, but give you what you expect- only a taste, leaving you wanting more.
Inside the worlds - This little featurette basically describes the difference between the two worlds, that of the living, and that of the dead. The dead world is very colorful, and the living world is much darker, ironically. Informative, but brief at only 4 minutes.
Danny Elfman Interprets the Two Worlds - This one explains itself, Timís favorite composer, Danny Elfman speaks for 5 minutes or so about how he scored the film.
The Breath of Life - This is a great part of the DVD that shows how incredibly time consuming and painstaking the Corpse Bride was. It too is just over 6 minutes, but its so intriguing to see how everything comes together.
Tim Burton: Dark vs Light - Burton expands upon his earlier ideas of the concept of Dark vs Light within the movie, and basically goes off on a mini Burton tangent. The guyís awesome. Still a short segment though only 3 minutes or so.
Voices from the Underworld - Another five minute featurette about the various voice actors who participate in this flick. Great voice cast!
The Voices Behind the Voice - This is a split screen featurette of actual actors reading their words into the microphone while the actual animation is shown on the other side, typical stuff.
The disc is rounded out by Pre-Production shots , the Trailer, and a surprisingly awesome Music Only Track .
Hey.. no commentary track ? Bummer.
If Nightmare didnít exist, this movie would be rated much higher, but as it stands, I just canít in good conscience give it a great rating because it doesnít live up to the previous movie. Itís not a bad film, the animation is quite good, the cast is strong and nearly anyone can find something to enjoy in it. The problem lies in the fact that it wonít break any ground, and unfortunately probably wonít stick with you after you rent it. Even the DVD is lacking, only about a half hour of typical extras, even if they are engaging for the first run through, they too are too short to be substantial. If youíre a big Burton fan, youíre going to dig it, but if your interest is only passing, make this one a second or third choice.