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Corpse Bride (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

TIM Burton first experimented with stop-motion animation with his twisted musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas, way back in 1993.

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 fashion.

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


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