out of Five
Running time: 88
Beautifully animated comedy with strong character work and some great gags, though the plot is disappointingly underdeveloped.
After the disappointment of Madagascar
, 2005 is shaping up to be a very good year for animation. Hot on the heels of Howl’s Moving Castle
and the Wallace & Gromit
movie comes Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Corpse Bride looks fantastic and is packed with superb comic performances, though both the plot and the songs are a little weak.
Johnny Depp voices Victor Van Dort, a floppy-haired fishmonger’s son, whose nouveau riche parents (Tracy Ullman and Paul Whitehouse) contrive to marry him off to Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson), whose own parents (Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney) are penniless aristocrats in need of cash. Though they’ve never met, Victor and Victoria (their names a subtle movie
reference) turn out to be perfect for each other and fall in love.
However, after an attack of nerves at the wedding rehearsal, Victor takes a walk in the woods and, whilst practising his vows, accidentally marries the re-animated corpse of a murdered bride named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter).
The Bride then whisks Victor off to the all-singing, all-dancing Land of the Dead and refuses to give him up without a fight.
The stop-motion animation is breathtakingly beautiful and will delight fans of Burton and Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, who’ve been waiting almost 12 years for another animated feature.
The character design is superb. Victor is clearly modelled on Johnny Depp, which works well, whilst The Bride, with her wide eyes and full lips, is disturbingly sexy, even if bits of her are rotting away. In addition, both sets of parents are superbly rendered comic creations.
The voice cast are superb. Helena Bonham Carter (fresh from voicing a character in the Wallace & Gromit movie) is the stand out, but there’s strong comic support from the likes of Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Tracy Ullman, Richard E. Grant and new Burton favourite Christopher Lee as the intimidatingly stern priest. Special mention must also go to Enn Reitel, whose performance as the Peter Lorre maggot inside Emily’s eye comfortably steals the entire film.
Sadly, though it looks utterly fabulous and there are some wonderful scenes, Corpse Bride is let down by some unexciting songs (by Danny
Elfman) and an underdeveloped plot that builds to a disappointing climax.
There’s a lot to enjoy in Corpse Bride and it’s definitely worth seeing, though it’s ultimately not as good as it should have been.