Corpse Bride (2005)

February 7, 2007 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

Shy, yet charming Victor is arranged to marry the shy, yet charming Victoria. Clearly, Victor and Victoria are perfect for each other, but Victor’s nervousness leads him to fumble over his vows in the rehearsal. Embarrassed, Victor embarks on a stroll through a dark and quite clearly enchanted forest, to perfect his vows. And then woops, he accidentally weds a corpse.

If the world’s most beloved Nazi, Walt Disney were alive today, he would probably be happy to know that the art of animation which he helped to pioneer has finally escaped the label of ‘childish’ and has secured it’s mantle as a serious art form. Since animation escaped the boundaries of the two dimensional with 1995’s Toy Story, animated cinematic features have gone from strength to strength.

However, with the wave of the twenty-first century and all that, the focus has been mainly on furthering computer animation, with Pixar and Dreamworks constantly battling to create the most realistic looking hair follicles or the cutesy animal with the biggest range of facial expressions. An often overlooked and underused medium, stop-motion animation is a rare treat, particularly since the Aardman factory burned down.

Comparisons between Corpse Bride and 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas are unavoidable and plentiful. Shadowy, gothic Tim Burton atmosphere: Check. Contrasting bursts of extreme colour and magical environments: Check. Frequent spontaneous musical numbers: Check. Sumptuous stop-motion animation: Check. Santa getting kidnapped: Not this time. Twelve years on, Corpse Bride echoes all that we loved about Nightmare, but in most cases, just misses the mark, by comparison.

Corpse Bride certainly boasts some of the most impressive visuals seen in any animated flick, the dreary, gothic look of the human world gorgeously contrasting with the vibrant, jazzy surroundings of the afterlife. The art of stop-motion animation by definition is laborious and painstaking and the sheer devotion to detail and technical masterwork is awe-inspiring.

However, a movie cannot function on mere visuals alone and it is in the areas of plot, writing and musicality where Corpse Bride falters slightly. Despite the utter dedication and painstaking devotion required to make even a feature of 77 minutes such as this, a film is by definition, a story and not just visual art, and Vincent and Emily the Corpse’s respective plights, though quite engaging, still feel slightly clipped and under-developed.

Similarly, the sharp sense of humour often present in Burton flicks feels slightly stifled here, the brief incursions into comedy that there are being a bit too obvious for the adult audience. One of the most impressive things about The Nightmare Before Christmas was its catchy musical numbers, but besides one distinctly catchy number, Corpse Bride fails to emulate this properly, it’s frequent forays into singing and dancing feeling superfluous rather than complimentary. 

For fans of Tim Burton or The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride has plenty to offer, but for Johnny cum Cinema, there might not be enough bang for his proverbial buck.

Pictures: Top Right: The best looking corpse you’ll ever see, Bottom Left: Vincent instantly regretted volunteering at the anorexia clinic

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Entry filed under: Reviews.

Land of the Dead (2005) Mr. Brooks

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