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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 17: Corpse Bride


Oct 17: Corpse Bride

"When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her."
Directed by: Tim Burton, Rated: PG, 77 minutes

Tim Burton is a tricky filmmaker. His stuff is very hit and miss, with his latest stuff being almost un-watchable. His love affair with Johnny Depp seems to be never-ending and even when Burton makes an animated movie, like Corpse Bride, he has to have his man-friend as the main character. While many consider Corpse Bride to be a success amid Burton's newer bombs, I find the film to be incredibly boring and horribly paced. Hell, it's only 77 minutes and it feels like it- rushed and messy. 

Stone-faced boredom.

Victor (Depp) is a shy man, doing whatever his over-bearing parents tell him to do. He's nervous about nearly everything and when he's set to marry Victoria (Emily Watson), a beautiful girl that is the daughter of wealthy parents, he freaks out and runs away. While in the woods, he gathers his thoughts and attempts to compose himself, if it's just enough to get through the ceremony. As he musters up the courage, he practices his vows and talks to the trees as though they were the people. He goes as far as placing the ring on what appears to be a tree branch. Unfortunately for Victor, it's the hand of a dead woman (Helena Bonham Carter), looking for her own groom and she rises from the dead assuming he's the one to save her. Victor's teleported to the underworld where he encounters all sorts of ghouls, ghosts, and skeletons, and even his dead dog. As he realizes he's surrounded by the dead, Victor must find a way back to the living as well as a way to detach himself from the vows he made to Emily. 

She can't believe how boring it is either. 

Corpse Bride looks amazing. The stop-motion animation is done brilliantly and the contrast in colors, from the living to the dead, is beautiful (death is apparently the more vibrant one). The film also features Danny Elfman's magical music as well as a handful of original songs. These moments come and go too quickly to enjoy and there's simply not enough of them squeezed into this small little film. It's a large part of why the short running time is more frustrating than anything. You can tell much of the movie is trying to emulate the success of A Nightmare Before Christmas, but none of the songs are as catchy nor are the characters as appealing. Besides the visuals, Corpse Bride fails as a film. It's incredibly boring and the entire thing feels way too rushed, as though Burton just wanted to get it made as soon as possible. It's a shame because stop-motion animation takes forever to make and you'd think that in the lengthy process, more substance would have been added to the story. 

Shot frame by frame, someone had to realize it lacked the "umph" and the "ha" to be something great. 

I can't say my dislike for this film is a direct result of my recent disappointment with Burton, but I do find it lacking quite a bit. It looks pretty and sounds nice, but the story is crap. Johnny Depp does really nothing in his role besides whimper, cower, and whine and Burton's wife, Helena, just does a decent job as Emily. Both actors are clearly in their roles because of they're both married to Burton and I would have liked to see people with more energy in the roles. Elfman's music is great as are the songs, but they feel more like jingles than full songs. Corpse Bride really misses the mark and could have been something great. Instead, it fails about 75% of the time and is just as forgettable as Burton's latest films, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. For your money, you'd have more fun carving punkins and overdosing on candy corn. 

The Good:
great visuals and wonderful animation that help create a colorful world of the undead
The Bad:
lackluster voice acting that accompanies a really boring story that never escalates to greatness
The Ugly:
even for a passion project, Burton leaves you questioning his talent, wondering if he was only good in the 80s and 90s (and in 2003 with Big Fish)

Overall: 6.0/10


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At October 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM , Blogger Dusty said...

10/10 for me. Only stop-motion film that's better is Mary and Max in my opinion.

At October 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It's too boring and short. I love the look but that's just it.

At October 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Ries said...

Now you understand the pain I suffered writing that Pick Six for Tim Burton. This might have been on the list, but I hadn't seen it yet.

At October 17, 2012 at 9:48 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Def. not on my list lol

At October 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

Sorry you didn't like it more, while it's not as good as Nightmare Before Christmas I did enjoy the movie.

At October 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah.. I just don't know. I remember liking it, never loving it but after re-watching it I just am really against it lol.

At October 19, 2012 at 6:21 AM , Blogger alienxphile said...

Tim Burton has been really hit and miss lately. Loved Sweeney Todd (9.5/10.0) and Frankenweenie (8.5/10.0) but I was disappointed in Dark Shadows (5.5/10.0) and Alice in Wonderland (4.5/10.0). As for Corpse Bride, I must admit that it does get a bit boring here and there (even for a 77 min. movie) but as a whole I found it enjoyable. (7.5/10.0)

At October 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Well look at that, a whole wrap-up of reviews lol. Sweeney Todd I'd give 7 something, Dark Shadows I skipped, Alice is 3, if that. Big Fish is where it's at. So is Ed Wood.


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