Stop-motion animation. Victorian England setting. Pre-Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton. A title like The Corpse Bride. This movie is all set up for me to love it. This animated musical was directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson and features voice acting by Burton favorites Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. The plot is about a young man named Victor who is under a lot of pressure to marry a girl. Victor does really like Victoria, but their parents are putting a lot of pressure on them, and he’s already a nervous guy. He gets cold feet and runs out, only to accidentally put a ring on a dead bride’s bony finger. Victor has to try to escape her to get back to Victoria. However, he tries not to hurt the corpse bride’s feelings too much because she, Emily, is a lovely soul.
The movie was a critical and commercial success. It was even nominated for an Academy Award. When Burton is on top of his game, his movies hit all the right notes: creepy (but not scary) imagery, bittersweet emotion, silly songs, animation skill. Burton was able to use a new a new stop-motion technique to change the characters’ facial expressions–puppet heads that moved via small gears and keys. I’m always amazed by stop-motion animation. The scenes in the world of the dead are especially mesmerizing as Burton wants to show us all the ways he can make animated piles of bones and decaying flesh move and dance. We sure have a blast watching it too.
While the story is pretty sophisticated for kids (marriage, commitment, and pressure), they will love this movie for its songs, visual treats, and sweet main characters.
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