After enchanting audiences with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” way back in 1993, Tim Burton brings us another stop-motion animated gothic spectacle. Corpse Bride (perhaps unsurprisingly) stars Johnny Depp alongside Burton’s wife Helena Bonham Carter, with a host of other top class actors, including Christopher Lee, Emily Watson, Richard E Grant and Joanna Lumley; all of whom bring their voice talents to this instant animated classic.
Corpse Bride was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature film, however was beaten by Wallace and Gromit’s: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. A decision that I personally strongly disagree with, for the record.
When shy groom Victor (Johnny Depp) practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming that he has married her. Victor is thus whisked away into the underworld, an alternate world which his new bride calls home. Now that he’s wed to Emily – the titular Corpse Bride – his real bride waits bereft in the land of the living, pining for his return. Whilst I joke about Burton’s frequent overuse of Helena Bonham Carter, she was truly a fine choice here.
Despite the underworld being a lot more colourful than his strict upbringing, Victor realises that there is nothing in this world – or the next – that can keep him away from his one true love.
Corpse Bride is a great albeit unconventional love story, and once again director Tim Burton has brought a wonderful vision of his to the big screen. I particularly appreciate the fact he hasn’t been lured into the world of CGI, and has instead opted for traditional stop-motion animation. This decision is a great contribution to the film’s aesthetic and makes a great job of setting Corpse Bride apart from the competition.
Danny Elfman’s haunting score once again provides many a spine tingling moment, and I found myself feeling genuinely moved during a few scenes. I may have also learned to play Victor’s Solo on piano immediately after my first viewing, so clearly I couldn’t possible say enough good about it. For this reason, even if you don’t intend to watch Corpse Bride, I highly recommend checking out the official soundtrack / score.
Johnny Depp has proven to be a regular in Tim Burton’s films, but with his versatility in acting and clear voice work for animation, we can certainly see why. I really enjoyed this film and despite having a personal preference for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride is very enjoyable and certainly tickles the funny bone throughout.