Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” is loosely based on a Russian folktale where a soon to be groom unknowingly cites his marital vows to what seems to him like a wooden stick that looks like a hand reaching out of the ground. The wooden hand comes to life and a terrified Victor (Johnny Depp) finds himself in the clutches of a cursed corpse bride.
At the very beginning of the movie you already realize that you are in for a meticulously composed piece of art. From the sweeping of the broom to the wagging of the tail to the cutting of the fish everything moves in the rhythm of the clockwork opening theme composed by Danny Elfman. The musical score is not quite as memorable as in “Nightmare before Christmas” and more generic, yet it does have its grand moments, e.g. the “Corpse Bride” song.
The stop motion is flawless and there is no room for superfluous gestures, movements or interactions. Everything has meaning. The voices are all fantastic and if you know the TV series “Absolutely Fabulous” then you might have recognized the voice of Maudeline Everglot (Joanna Lumley) and of course Bonejangles, spoken by the man himself: Danny Elfman.
So what about the story? The good folks over at The Tim Burton Collective have dug up the original folk tale on which this movie is based on. There is not much to the story and as with Bonejangles own words, it’s “A tragic tale of romance, passion, and a murder most foul!”
Needless to say, movies like this do have happy endings. “Corpse Bride” is not a complex character piece. However, it is a Tim Burton movie and that is what you get. It may resemble “Nightmare before Christmas” here and there but that does not deter from the fact that it does a marvelous job at bringing these characters to life or death, rather.
“Corpse Bride” offers good voice acting, wonderful sets and characters and superb stop motion, good musical score with a bit of a generic tendency, albeit a thin story but still full of witty and funny dialogue and is definitely more of a treat than a trick and highly recommendable for the whole family (rated PG).