A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 121 – The Corpse Bride

The Corpse Bride – June 29, 2010

So very many puns and songs and little hidden jokes (like the Harryhausen plaque on the piano Victor plays early on, and I’m pretty sure a little boy in the church is supposed to look like he’s right out of a Gorey cartoon). And so much gloom! Really, this is like the epitome of Tim Burton. It’s the Burtoniest Burton movie. Dancing skeletons, consumptive Victorian characters and a corpse in a tattered and cobwebby wedding dress. There is no mistaking this for anyone else’s baby.

It’s a sad tale of a jilted bride, killed by her fiance the night they meant to elope and stuck in the underworld until someone proposes to her. It’s the sad tale of a groom finding himself accidentally wed to a corpse and trapped in the underworld while he attempts to get back to the land of the living and his true fiancee. It’s the so very sad tale of two sets of parents wanting to marry off their children to exchange money for status. And it’s the sob-inducing tale of a grifter who gets what he deserves. Oh, wait. Strike that last bit. That’s not sad at all! And neither is the one before it, unless you’re using sad to mean not unheard of but not terribly romantic.

Anyhow, the lead players are Victor, the groom; Victoria, his intended fiancee; their parents, Victor’s being rich but with new money and Victoria’s being poor but with heaps of status; Emily, the titular corpse bride; and Barkis Bittern, a jackass. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I’m not giving much away to out him as a nasty fellow. The movie isn’t super subtle about the direction his character is going. I mean, look at his chin! He’s practically Robert Z’Dar.

So Victor’s supposed to marry Victoria, ends up accidentally sort of married to Emily, doesn’t want to be, tries to get back to the living world to find Victoria. Victoria’s parents try to marry her off to Bittern, Victor finds out, there’s a couple of rather incomplete weddings and some Hamlet allusions, and then they all live happily ever after. Except they don’t. There’s a lot of singing and eyes popping out and a worm with a Peter Lorre schtick going on, and like I said, it’s Burton for miles.

Stylistically, I cannot fault the movie one jot. It’s lovely to watch. The animation is beautiful and if you like Burton’s aesthetic then you’re in for a treat! The thing for me is that while I do enjoy Burton’s movies, I don’t think I enjoy them to the same level that I’m supposed to. They’re lovely and they’re fun, but I’m not going to go raving about how they’re better than sliced bread or anything. I don’t know, they just don’t bowl me over. I can appreciate the feel of this movie, and the voice acting (really, the voice acting – look at the cast! It’s fantastic!) and the amazing amount of work it must have taken, but I’m not rushing out for Corpse Bride bedsheets. I never was very good at the goth thing I suppose.

Now, I did enjoy the movie. It was a light little thing, which is odd to say since it’s got so much Burtony gloom going on, but really, it is. For the most part. It’s a fluffy little love story with plenty of singing and dancing, just with Burton’s trademark feel to it all. Making one of the main characters a corpse doesn’t make it not fluffy. Especially not when you have a little skeleton dog named Scraps. It lightens the mood, you know? Just about the only thing that brings it down for me is the ending.

I mean, sure, happy ever after for two of the three, but given that Emily was killed by her fiance, that leaves one of the two potential brides without a sympathetic groom, so unless this movie was going to go in a distinctly triangular-shaped direction, someone was going to end up alone, you know? I know the end is supposed to be all sweet and wistful and aww, it’s okay because look, butterflies! Except meh. I’m just not satisfied by it. Why not a bridal boutique in the underworld? Why not sing with the band in the tavern. Butterflies? Really? It’s a bizarre ending to the movie and I’m left feeling like I’m not sure what I just watched. Fun, yes, but then with some things that just don’t match up for me. A pity, but still, I’d watch it again. I’d probably just turn it off before the end.

June 29, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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