Corpse Bride (2005)
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Review Date: September 18, 2005
Director: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
Writer: John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler
Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
Johnny Depp as Victor
Helena Bonham Carter as Corpse Bride
Emily Watson as Victoria
We’re in a small 19th century European town and a shy, thin man is arranged to be married to be a shy, cute woman by their respective parents. The man, rendered bumbling by the anxiety of the situation, finds himself running off into the dark forest in order to settle down and practice his vows. Unfortunately for him, he slips the wedding ring onto an underground corpse finger that magically awakens and rejoices in her newfound love. What to do, what to do?
My positive review of this film has got to be one of the biggest no-brainers of the year, considering that I am a massive fan of this flick’s predecessor of sorts, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and all things dark and gothic. Ultimately, I don’t think there would have been much about this movie that could have made me dislike it, unless it “sold out”, was entirely unoriginal or didn’t bring that special “spark” to the proceedings, but thankfully for all involved (i.e. myself), this follow-up to one of my favorite holiday movies of all-time, is inspired enough on its own, to be recognized as a dark, funny, even quite romantic ride down the ghoulish mind and vision of one Tim Burton and his stylish droogs. Of course, if you didn’t enjoy NIGHTMARE and don’t particularly care for “stop-motion” movies featuring characters that break out into song every now and again (I usually don’t like that either, but in the circumstance of this little ditty, it worked wonders), I don’t think that this film is likely to turn you on either, although unlike the former flick, this one’s strengths aren’t entirely based on its catchy songs, quirky characters or utter originality (although all of those elements are still quite present and accounted for, here), but its focus on love, romance and the cute relationship buggers that go on between men and women. In other words, I can definitely see more of both sexes enjoying this film than the former. In terms of the actual production values, everything here is breathtakingly gorgeous, if dark, gothic, shadowy figures, towns and characters are what you consider to be beautiful.

The film also moves at a clip, with no time wasted on anything, with jokes popping up every now and again (although some of the more “literal” ones were a little too childish, in my opinion—“I’ll keep an eye on him”), at least 4 Danny Elfman tunes tossed in for effect (not as infectious as the ones in NIGHTMARE, but then again, they might be after several viewings), several key emotional moments striking a genuine chord, and ultimately, an entertaining story that doesn’t mind playing things sinister, while keeping things light at the same time. Yes, the film is filled with “dead people”, but this isn’t EVIL DEAD or LAND OF THE DEAD, people. It’s a fun flick that is sure to delight most adults that dig on this sort of thing, and likely even the kiddies, although I’m not sure it’s something the really younger ones should see at their age. Despite it always keeping a pretty peppy attitude, it does stray into the melancholic and serious from time to time, which isn’t likely to strike up many cross-promotions for Junior Whoppers at Burger King. The film also tosses a few homages in there for us film fans, but did disappoint me in at least one small aspect and that being its length. The entire movie lasted about 77 minutes from top to bottom, and many in the audience were surprised at how semi-bluntly it ended. That said, many films don’t know when to stop at a good thing, so I’m not gonna complain too much, as fairy tales doused in the macabre are rare in this town, and God knows that I’m one to douse myself in that sort of spookiness every now and again. All in all, I can’t wait to see it again, and hopefully next time, with a possible girl, bride or corpse by my side, instead of the usual nacho pack (then again, a nacho pack never slapped me in the face and told me to go f*ck myself). PS: Victoria…you’re a cutie-pie…call me!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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