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Overall Rating
4.11

Awesome41.13%
Worth A Look: 37.1%
Just Average: 14.52%
Pretty Crappy: 6.45%
Sucks: 0.81%

12 reviews, 52 user ratings


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Corpse Bride
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Tim Burton leaves us with a very good-looking corpse"
4 stars

The title “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” contains what may be the most superfluous attribution in the world of entertainment since Johnny Cash used to open his concerts by announcing “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” Come on, who else would dare to not only give us a romantic fable about a marriage in which the bride and groom don’t even meet until long after death has already definitively parted them but to stage it as an elaborate experiment in stop-motion animation aimed squarely at family audiences? Also, what other filmmaker working today could take such a bizarre idea for a film and transform it into a cheerful delight is as funny, quirky and ghoulishly romantic as the title suggests?

The groom is Victor (Johnny Depp), a nervous young lad who, as the story begins, flees the rehearsal to his arranged marriage with the fair Victoria (Emily Watson) to practice his vows in the nearby deep, dark woods. The bride is Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), a lovely lass who was robbed and murdered long ago by her rotter fiancee and who accepts Victor’s inadvertent proposal (he placed the ring on what he thought was a branch but which turned out to be a skeletal figure) and whisks him away to the Underworld to live as man and wife. Understandably skittish at first–more so than usual–Victor begins to succumb to Emily’s considerable charms and decides to make an honest stiff out of her, leading to a trip for the couple (and all their Underworld friends) to the real world where secrets are uncovered, grave injustices are revenged and nearly everyone, living and dead, more or less get what they deserve.

Visually, the film is extraordinary–the Gothic-influenced stop-motion animation is done so fluidly and flawlessly that it makes “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Burton’s previous foray into the form, look like a ratty old “Gumby” episode by comparison. Dramatically, it isn’t quite as satisfying as “Nightmare.” The story moves so abruptly at times that it feels as if entire scenes were dropped at some point in the production process and the resulting holes where never adequately patched over: I would have loved to have seen more of Emily’s backstory and the fascinating machinations of the Underworld instead of the relative scraps that we actually get. Another problem is the insistence on larding the film with songs (courtesy of Danny Elfman) that feel as if they have been added simply because an animated film require them rather than because of any legitimate artistic reasoning. And even if they had felt like an organic part of the story, matters aren’t helped by the fact that they all sound like outtakes from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

However, these narrative problems are never quite serious enough to spoil the fun of “Corpse Bride”–partly because an unsteady storyline in a Tim Burton film is hardly a surprise these days and partly because so many other elements of the film work do work wonderfully. Depp and Carter are both perfect in their roles and the film also features virtuoso vocal turns from the likes of Albert Finney, Richard E. Grant and the invaluable Hammer Studios veterans Christopher Lee and Michael Gough. There are also a lot of laughs to be had as well–both big (Emily has a Peter Lorre-influenced maggot in her head that is always adding commentary to events) and small (check out the name on the piano Victor plays in an early scene)–and even a bit of moving sentiment towards the end that reveals that this “Corpse” has a beating heart inside after all.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12831&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/23/05 00:06:49
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/06/12 Mayfield Love this movie. Great for adults and children. 5 stars
5/06/11 brian Burton/Depp/Elfman triumph again! 5 stars
4/28/09 Stephen Fantastic movie, verry macarbe for a young odiance, but can be enjoyed by all 5 stars
2/13/09 lola after this movie i am in love with emily. 5 stars
1/11/09 Anonymous. such a sweet story :] 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT A QUIRKY ARTISTIC TRIUMPH 3 stars
1/04/08 Pamela White very cute in a dark way 4 stars
6/12/07 Dark Enchantress i loved it! 5 stars
5/12/07 ala burgeia i love it 5 stars
5/02/07 alkdjfh totally wicked awesome 5 stars
2/23/07 Clayton Excellent character development, emotional implications, accentuate soundtrack adds to mood 5 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega Small fry will enjoy it better than adults. 3 stars
1/27/07 mets1986 Just as good as Nightmare.... 5 stars
1/03/07 Alex Thorne didnt like NBC, and found this quite dull. doesnt live up to the hype 2 stars
11/17/06 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Brilliant movie, but boring soundtrack. Elfman needs to write stronger songs. 5 stars
10/08/06 isis coooooooooool!!!!!! 5 stars
8/16/06 Gemma Northcott I really like this film and i would watch it over and over. 5 stars
8/01/06 C. Davis Good, but I need another watch to catch what is so special 4 stars
7/17/06 David Cohen See Burton, you can still make a good movie if you try 5 stars
6/29/06 MP Bartley Grisly, spooky fun with with and heart. 4 stars
6/21/06 Joanie how scary 1 stars
5/27/06 AD I love this movie! Great job Tim Burton! 5 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer Don't compare to "nightmare" This movie stands firmly alone. Music wasn't great. 4 stars
3/11/06 C Vega good fairy tale movie but no way near as good as "nightmare" 4 stars
3/03/06 lilian best ever 5 stars
3/02/06 Doremimi Nice visually, but I was bored to DEATH! 3 stars
2/20/06 Annie G If you want to "Nightmare.." again, I'd recommend rewatching it instead. 3 stars
2/20/06 Jim Not sure what all the fuss was about 3 stars
2/04/06 HL Why even reference it to TNBC..This is incredible regardless of comparison! 5 stars
1/09/06 Jack Farnsworth Haven't seen it 5 stars
1/08/06 Quigley this movie was a work of directoral and visual genius. way to go, tim burton! oscars? 5 stars
12/23/05 Michele strange but cute 3 stars
12/22/05 Brian Johnson 2nd place to Nightmare, but still fun 4 stars
12/10/05 chris wonderful 5 stars
12/04/05 Hernan loved the music and character design 4 stars
11/07/05 malcolm drab colors were kinda boring. we've seen this style before. just a longcartoon. 3 stars
11/01/05 Jacqueline Ward-Isaac Brilliant film! Tim Burton lives up to The Nightmare Before Christmas! It was very amusing! 5 stars
10/26/05 Deadwiz Not as good as TNBC, but it will do... 4 stars
10/24/05 Adam The visuals are great, but the plot is predictable; the ending was lacking..felt unfinished 3 stars
10/21/05 Tina Totally enjoyed it - beautiful to watch and fun. 5 stars
10/15/05 Quigley why isn't anyone stating the obvious? this film is a visual, geniusly done masterpiece 5 stars
10/09/05 LOLO Outstanding and truly lovely film. Maybe not as good as NBC but has its own charm! 5 stars
10/04/05 Sam Really great, probably one to see again and again. But never as good as NmBC! 5 stars
10/04/05 drfardook Visually... its very good. Plot is ok, but the characters motivations fall flat. 3 stars
10/03/05 Meryl Stupid, half-finished, musically deficient dreck. What happened, Tim? What happened? 2 stars
10/02/05 Bee We've wanted to see this film since the previews came out, months ago. Today, on a 'dark a 5 stars
10/02/05 watson387 Excellent! 5 stars
9/29/05 E. Northam Burton charmingly revisits eerie themes, bizarre vistas & transgressive characters. 3 stars
9/26/05 KingNeutron Nicely animated, but the 2 major plot decisions don't make sense. 3 stars
9/23/05 Titus Glad I saw it, but once was plenty. Kinda forced and dry. Not Burton's best. 3 stars
9/15/05 mike b just saw a screening; not as much music as the nightmare before xmas flick, but very good! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Sep-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 31-Jan-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  17-Nov-2005




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