Directed by: Tim Burton & Mike
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham
Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse,
Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, Richard E. Grant
Released by: Warner Bros.
Short: When the shy son of a wealthy fish
merchant and the daughter of a penniless aristocrat
are betrothed, a lovable dead bride intervenes
in the couple’s wedding plans!
Death Do Us Part
Animated Love (and Death) Story
happens when we die? According to Tim Burton's latest
stop-motion animation endeavor, we party! "Downstairs,"
(as the afterlife is called) in "Corpse Bride"
is a colorful jazz joint and a homey congregation of dancing
skeletons, garish ghosts and friendly French severed heads—definitely
preferable to the dreary Victorian world above.
Victor (Johnny Depp), the shy son of a wealthy fish merchant
is betrothed to Victoria (Emily Watson), the equally shy
daughter of a penniless aristocrat. The two fall in love,
but the idea of marriage terrifies Victor to death—literally.
While practicing his wedding vows in the nearby forest,
he finds himself saying them to the wrong girl!
(Helena Bonham Carter) is a lovely, albeit partly decaying,
dead bride whose true love had jilted her on their wedding
night, when she was killed. Since that "murder most
foul," she's waited patiently to be made a bride
once again. Finding herself with Victor's ring on her
finger, she’s convinced he is her rightful husband
and takes him to "live" in the colorful land
of the dead. Meanwhile, Victoria tries desperately to
help her beloved escape his Corpse Bride, but she is forced
to marry the sinister Baron Barkis (Richard E. Grant).
The stop-motion animation is at times combined with CGI
technology, resulting in a smoother, cleaner look than
the earlier "Nightmare Before Christmas." Danny
Elfman, who has worked with Burton on many films before,
wrote the score. In "Nightmare," the music kept
us entirely within the confines of Halloween Land, but
this time songs are often tributes to real musicians,
reminding us so much of songs we already know that it
detracts from the fantasy experience. The neon-infused
jazz number performed by the scatting skeleton Bonejangles
(voiced by Elfman himself) is fun to watch, but feels
out of place in this comically morbid world.
doesn't feel out of place is Johnny Depp's voice, which
lends a loveable vulnerability to Victor. Emily's huge
innocent eyes coupled with Helena Bonham Carter's sultry
voice make her character so likable that we almost cheer
for her to get the guy. The rest of the cast is just as
enjoyable, with Christopher Lee as the ominous Pastor
Galswells and Richard E. Grant as the slimy Barkis being
Bride” is a must-see for the visuals and the undeniably
cute story, but overall pales in comparison to Burton’s
other stop-motion animation film, the unforgettable “Nightmare