Saturday, July 25, 2009
Oh, The Horror #30: The Corpse Bride
Directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton, The Corpse Bride is a fantastic stop-motion film filled with wit and eye-popping fun. The movie takes place in a Victorian era town where a young and shy young man named Victor, a fish merchant's son, is arranged to get married to Victoria, the daughter of soon to be penniless aristocrats. Both are worried of meeting each other in fear that they wouldn't like each other but hit it off rather well as compared to their parents respectively. During their wedding rehearsal, Victor stumbles upon his vows and accidentally sets Victoria's mother's dress on fire. He is threatened by the pastor to learn his vows, setting Victor off to run away into the woods to practice his vows. Suddenly, he recites it perfectly with a new sense of confidence and places the ring onto a stick resembling a hand, only for the hand to grab Victor's arm and reveals itself to be the hand of a corpse. Frightened, Victor attempts to run away to safety only to be followed in an extremely well down scene which would scare the hell outta me if I were in his shoes. The corpse takes Victor to the Town of the Dead where, well... every one's dead. And as compared to everyone living, they're happy. Here we learn the back-story of the Corpse Bride, named Emily, and of her "fate" to be set free when she finds her truly love, this being Victor. Thus introducing us to the problem of the film for our protagonist: Does he pick Victoria or does he stay with Emily, who unlike a real corpse is very clever, funny, free-spirited, and beautiful.
Voicing Victor is Burton's main man, Johnny Depp, who gives a wonderful performance as the clumsy protagonist in love with Victoria, voiced by Emily Watson. Helena Bonham Carter voices the titled character and we're rounded off by other cast favorites the likes of Albert Finney as Victoria's father, Michael Gough as Elder Gutknecht the elderly skeleton with knowledge of magic, and Christopher Lee as Pastor Galswells. For me, though, it's definitely Lee and Gough who steal the show. It's a ton of fun seeing old school horror alumnus voicing such hilarious characters, their voice being extremely recognizable that I have to have a smile on my face, especially when Gough recites the line, "Now, why go up there when people are dying to get down here? " which never fails to get a chuckle from me.
The animation is amazing. Every time I watch this movie I'm amazed at just how far stop-motion filming has come. I stated before back in my Coraline review that I tend to prefer stop-motion animation over plain old CGI film-making and it's because it seems to have this really raw and gritty feel to it. It feels a bit more real to me in a sense. The colors in this movie, although low-key, really help put you into the movie too. Especially when you get to the Land of the Dead. The Land of the Dead is vibrant and always has skeletons ready to have a blast singing a song as compared to the Land of the Living where everyone is slow and dull and the lighting is bland. It's extremely entertaining watching all the civilians of the Dead town getting excited and ready to throw a party over a new arrival. And speaking of song, who doesn't love Bonejangles song about how Emily came to be the Corpse Bride, The Remains of the Day? That specific song number is enough to watch the film. Danny does a great job with the raspy jazzy skeleton who loves a woman with meat on her bones. I have to say, though, besides that song, the other numbers aren't quite as memorable. Especially compared to the wonderfully memorable tunes of The Nightmare Before Christmas. When one starts watching this movie for the first time, they can't help but start comparing both films. I will say, though, try your best not to. When I first watched this movie, I couldn't get into it because it wasn't The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I watched it again, this time seeing it as it's own movie, I enjoyed it immensely.
From watching this film you could tell every one probably had a great time. And it helps as it's a really enjoyable film. I was able to talk my mom into watching this movie as she tends to disregard films of this nature and she caught herself really getting into it and finding a lot of scenes hilarious. It's in fact a fun family movie, although I have a feeling some parents, particular with strong Christian faith may not want their child seeing a film of this nature. Just my two cents with that. Only real complaint from me was that I felt it could have been a longer film. Would have enjoyed more fun, but hey. You get what you get, least it was entertaining.