Corpse Bride (2005) Review: Beautiful but Lacking
“There’s been a grave misunderstanding.”
Synopsis: When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.
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As with all Tim Burton movies, The Corpse Bride is a dark piece (in this case, both literally and figuratively). Though there are some wicked jokes and a bit of slapstick for the younger viewers, both the subject matter and the plot itself are fairly grim. It’s presented in a careful manner, but the themes of death and betrayal are prominent.
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter star, of course, but they’re joined by a number of other actors you may recognize, including a horror titan: Christopher Lee. Everyone does an excellent job of making their (largely unpleasant) characters perfectly detestable, which is the point.
The stop motion style is beautiful, as always, and quite captivating to watch. As with the other, similar Tim Burton films, I find that I enjoy the visuals much more than the story. Most of the overworld stuff in The Corpse Bride is fairly dull comparatively, but the underworld sections are more than lively enough to keep things going.
As for music, I do enjoy Danny Elfman, but prefer him as a background music composer to a choral music composer. The background music for The Corpse Bride was excellent, but most of the sung pieces fell a bit flat to me. They weren’t particularly catchy, and the actors focused more on doing interesting voices than singing well, exactly, which made the songs a little hard to follow at times.
Generally, there are a lot of good points about The Corpse Bride, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. While beautiful, it was fairly slow and not much of interest happened until the very last scene. I liked the sly jokes sprinkled throughout, and I loved the maggot character (Enn Reitel), but for the rest, I wouldn’t miss it if I never saw the movie again. If you love Tim Burton, it’s an excellent example of his style – just somewhat lacking in the plot and pacing department for the rest of us.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C-
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