Tim Burton, the man who has brought us movies ranging from “Edward Scissorhands” to “Batman” to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has created something refreshingly new, but with the familiar dark and moody appeal that is characteristic of his films. That something is “Corpse Bride.” The story mainly revolves around the film’s protagonist, Victor VanDort. Victor is shy and nervous by nature, which brings him into some trouble. Victor’s parents have arranged for him to marry Victoria, the daughter of an aristocratic but secretly penniless family, the Everglotts. Victoria’s life is under the constant control of her parents, but despite her parents’ motives of marrying her off out of financial desperation, she hopes to marry out of love. After their first meeting, Victor and Victoria find they are surprisingly alike in many ways, and things seem to be going quite well. However, during the wedding rehearsal, poor Victor simply cannot get things right, especially his vows. After a stern reprimanding, Victor flees to the woods, where he practices the wedding vows. In a final attempt, Victor slips the wedding ring onto a branch poking out of the ground, and says the vows perfectly. The branch, though, is in fact the finger of Emily, the corpse bride. It turns out that a few years ago, Emily was a brideto- be, but was tragically killed before she was wed. Basically, she thinks that she and Victor are now husband and wife, much to her extreme joy and Victor’s dismay. After awhile, though, Victor finds that he enjoys Emily’s company, and doesn’t find her such a horror. Needless to say, the rest of the film is about the confusion which ensues. While there are laughs throughout the movie, the story becomes tense as the wedding day draws near and Victor must decide which woman he truly loves. I admit that I was cautiously optimistic about the film, but I need not have feared. The only complaint I would have is that the film is unusually brief, only about an hour and fifteen minutes in length.
Even this turns out to be more of a good thing than bad, though, because an hour and fifteen minutes is about all the film needs to tell the story. Any longer, and it would only be killing time, and wasting mine. I’ll warn you that there are a few corny jokes and puns, but not enough to become unbearable. All the voice actors did wonderfully, and I was extremely pleased and surprised by Johnny Depp’s performance as Victor VanDort. He continues to amaze me by expertly accomplishing a variety of roles and convincing the audience that the character is speaking and not “Johnny Depp doing so-and-so”. In this regard, he has continued said trend.
“Corpse Bride” is a good movie because it does not rely solely on wowing audiences with good animation (in this case, still-shot) or through only a few entertaining moments which we see in the commercials anyway, but with a finely knit story. It keeps the audience interested, and the core thread of emotional tension makes the audience feel connected. In this way, a wide range of people with different tastes can enjoy it.
A friend of mine who watched the movie with me commented afterwards that it was a great “goth flick”. It’s true enough that the film’s dark atmosphere could cause it to be deemed as such, but I think that it goes beyond the label, and can stand on its own two feet as a tragic love story which many people can appreciate.