Corpse Bride (2005)

(USA Wide Release Date: September 23, 2005)


Not for all Tastes, but Tasty nonetheless!Not for all Tastes, but Tasty nonetheless!Not for all Tastes, but Tasty nonetheless!Not for all Tastes, but Tasty nonetheless!

Young Zombies in Love!


J.C. Mašek III... The Blue-skinned Critic!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!



It's amazing to see Stop Motion animation today, especially when so much can be done cheaper and slicker in your average computer. Let's face it, directing one of these is no easy prospect, and with 24 frames in a single second of film, I can imagine myself going a little Rambo on my little clay figures at about the nine millionth frame or so. That makes Corpse Bride all that much more of a triumph for directors Tim Burton and Mike Johnson.

She's actually quite lovely, admit it!


The movements and overall feel of Corpse Bride are fantastic, and are most certainly up their with their big siblings, The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. It's also filled to the Brim rim with stories of murder, betrayal, the walking dead, skeletons, people dying, one character actually planning a suicide, and a goodly numero of dismemberments. I can hear you forming the words "Well, Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!" as I type this, but seriously, this is supposed to be for kids. I loved it, and my daughter loved it, but seeing as how she's fifteen now, I'm not surprised. Were this ten years ago, I might think twice. As edgy and borderline scary as both Nightmare and Giant Peach were at times, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride lives up to its name with a new level of "oh my!" moments that are excellent for Goth Teenagers and long-time fan adults but for the little ones it might just be a ... well, nightmare.

Don't get me wrong though, Corpse Bride isn't to be missed, especially if you were a fan of Burton's other Claymation Wonders, and it truly does live up to Burton Canon! Fans, and I am one, will be pleased! In the dismal, dreary Victorian era, two dismal dreary Victorian young people named Victor and Victoria are betrothed to be wed in a dismal, dreary Victorian wedding, at the behest and arrangement of their mutually upwardly mobile, dismal, dreary, Victorian parents. The good news is that Victor (the always fantastic voice of Johnny Depp) takes a shine to Victoria (Emily Watson), and is determined to make their wedding less dismal and dreary, even if it's no less... Victorian. The bad news is that Victor is still a complete Klutz and can't even make it through the rehearsal without messing up completely, like Joey Tribiani doing Hamlet! But when Victor flees to the woods to practice his vows, he practices his ring right on to a tree branch which turns out to be the petrified arm of the Corpse Bride herself! With Victor suddenly married to a dead woman, scandal fast breaks out in the little Victorian town, and a chain of events unfolds almost as bizarre as the underworld that Victor finds himself in.

It's about this time exactly that Corpse Bride becomes an unquestionable delight. From singing parties (they're skeleTONS of fun) to the strange plight of Victor and Victoria attempting to deal with this new paradigm, it's hard to watch this film without smiling. It's Corpse Bride Emily herself that steals her own show, as brought to us by the voice of Helena Bonham Carter and one heck of a design and animation team. I know it sounds strange to say, but for all the freakiness inherent in a name like "Corpse Bride", the character herself is strangely beautiful, blue skin, holes in the cheeks and all! Without such a well designed and diverse puppet, along with such a talented actress behind her, I doubt such a film could have worked.

However, even in its short 75 minute run time, there are some moments in which the film simply doesn't work. Thankfully, this isn't terribly often, but in moments of predictability and repetition (which is commonplace here) it's clear that this isn't absolute perfection. Further, it's a valid question to ask just what Tim Burton and company were trying to get across here. The world of the living is depicted as so drab it's almost black and white, with its denizens (featuring a veritable "who's who" of Tim Burton Alumni, from Tracey Ullman and Paul Whitehouse to Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney to Michael Gough and Christopher Lee) literally pale to the colorful and fun denizens of the world of the dead (From Deep Roy to Danny Elfman, now literally having a "Dead Man's Party"). The underworld certainly looks like more fun to me, especially if you get all your dead pets back, like old Victor does. I just hope that George A. Romero was wrong, and we don't have a future with the dead walking the Earth. If he was right, then our youth will be ill prepared with this as their video training manual.

But I digress! When Corpse Bride gets it right, it really works, and can be surprisingly beautiful and amazingly touching, right up to the artistic final scene that, and I mean this, is a real keeper. It's no surprise that in a Love Triangle story, someone's bound to get their heart hurt, but in this way, our little movie proves that it is still a kids movie after all, and offers up a satisfying, yet non-threatening ending for the kiddos to applaud to.

If you're a fan of Tim Burton, and especially a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, then Corpse Bride is for you! If not, maybe you should look elsewhere. Either way, if taking the littler children to witness this fine, if flawed, film, give it two thoughts to make darned sure they're prepared. It's most certainly all in good fun, and there's not a trace of mean spirited spirits in the whole parade, but walking dead, beautiful women with tooth-revealing holes in their faces, eyeballs, eyeballs rolling down main street, and singing, dancing skeletons without their spoons, may, or may not, be a might disturbing for lil' Jason and Ashley. Four Stars out of Five for the not-quite-perfect, but still very well done and entertaining Corpse Bride. I loved it, and smiled ear to ear the whole time, but I must admit, I did lock my door that night just in case all four of my grandparents came to pick me up and give me a big bear hug. Not that I personally would mind, but now that I'm a morbidly obese adult, that could do a wonder on one's spine, now couldn't it? See you and your chiropractor in the next reel!

Watch where you put that Ring, Boy-o!
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Hey, man, that wasn't your Ring Finger!


Corpse Bride (2005) Reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is solely responsible for his views and for his respect of the fact that his own wife has a healthy living glow about her!
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I'm attracted to a dead woman!
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