Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
TIM Burton first experimented with stop-motion animation with
his twisted musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas, way back
It's taken some 12 years for him to deliver another feature length
movie but Corpse Bride finds the director back in his element,
exploring some typically macabre themes in dark but heartfelt
Johnny Depp voices Victor, a mild-mannered Victorian gentleman
who accidentally marries a corpse bride (Helena Bonham-Carter)
instead of his intended, Victoria (Emily Watson).
As he desperately tries to find a way back to the land of the
living, Victor uncovers the sad past of his new-found wife and
even begins to fall in love with her, finding himself hopelessly
torn between two women.
But as those alive cannot marry the dead, Victor is forced to
make some pretty desperate decisions, while Victoria attempts
to fend off the unwanted affections of another suitor (Richard
E Grant's Barkis Bittern), who is viewed as a suitably rich replacement
by her cash-strapped parents.
The ensuing mayhem unfolds in suitably
brisk fashion (76 minutes) and includes music and songs from another
of Burton's favourite collaborators, Danny Elfman.
Yet so much of The Corpse Bride's charm lies in its cosy familiarity
which recalls many of the director's greatest achievements.
The look of the film, especially, is reminiscent of his Batman
films, as well as Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow, while
the presence of Depp, Carter and Christopher Lee adds to the feel
that Burton is having a ball.
Who else could find family friendly warmth in a tale of murder
and necrophilia? Let alone endearing humanity in a rotting bride
whose eye keeps popping out, or a bunch of skeletons with a penchant
for song and dance?
Fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas are sure to embrace this
return to stop-motion, while it's good to find a film that isn't
trying to compete with the look of Pixar in the animation field.
This has a look and a class all of its own that deserves plenty
of attention - so audiences should have little trouble in saying
'I do' to its charms.
Related story: Read
our Tim Burton interview
Helena Bonham Carter interview