Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Corpse Bride (2005) review


   This animated film from the mind of Tim Burton combines a gothic animation style with cartoonish emotions while still keeping the mood dark and creepy. Well-cast voice actors, precise and caricature-like animation, and a plotline thick enough to bring the story to life turn the film into a nice little journey into the gothic mind of Burton's fancy.

PLOT: Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), the son of a wealthy family with new money, is set to marry young and beautiful Victor Everglot (Emily Watson), the daughter of a once-rich family of old money. However, Victor is still inexperienced, and doesn't even know how to get his wedding vows right. After embarrassing himself at the wedding rehearsal, Victor wanders off into the woods to hang his head in shame, practicing his vows along the way. He finally gets them right with practice, putting the ring on what he believes to be a tree. However, his recitation of the vows and placement of the ring awake a spirit in a wedding dress known as the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter), who believes Victor has broken her curse and has actually proposed. Victor then proceeds to faint and awakes in the underworld, where many corpses are there to greet him and tell him the story of the Corpse Bride. Meanwhile, news gets out above ground that Victor's run away with a mystery woman and a suave Lord Barkus (Richard E. Grant) steps in to take Victoria away from Victor. Victor must find his way upstairs again and stop Barkus from stealing Victoria away, as well as escaping the "marriage" of he and the Corpse Bride. The plot is excellently written, with a story that will keep more than just the normal movie-goer lively. The execution also followed as pretty great, keeping the central gothic theme while enthusing a more cartoonish tone.

VOICES: The voice acting in this film is excellently done. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter played their parts very well as Victor and the Corpse Bride. I could feel the chemistry going on between their conversations, even if they didn't end up together in the end. Among the other performances, everyone did a very good job at adding a cartoonish personality to the characters we see. My favorites would be that of Richard E. Grant as Lord Barkus, Albert Finney as Finnis Everglot, Joanna Lumley as Maudeline Everglot, Tracey Ullman as Nell Van Dort, Paul Whitehouse as William Van Dort, Christopher Lee as Pastor Galswells, and Danny Elfman as Bonejangles. Each performance was done very nicely.

SCORE: The score and soundtrack of this film is very delicately done by Burton's favorite composer, Danny Elfman. Elfman composes a unique theme for the film that can grow memorable for ages, with a wonderful and gothic style. The songs throughout the film are also very well written, catchy, and cartoonish as well as everything else. They're just a lot of fun with a touch of morbidity thrown in.

ANIMATION: The animation in this work from Tim Burton is excellently done, showing the animated significance seen previously in Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. The style of caricature-like characters Burton crafts in here are both comical and unique to his way of doing things. The animation moves so smoothly as well, adding personality to the characters within.

MISC. THOUGHTS: This film succeeds in doing something tough to accomplish without evident ridicule: blend gothic and cartoonish themes together. As seen in cult classics of yesteryear like Little Shop of Horrors, the film's don't usually get very many mainstream fans. However, Burton succeeds to appeal to all audiences in this film's execution. With all of the stylized execution, involved storyline, and emotional weight, there's little bad to say about the film. The only problems I had were a build-up of minor continuity errors. For example, the Corpse Bride tripping over a branch and running around when earlier she was shown floating across the ground without a foot moving. All of the errors are minor, but they build up to show the film's imperfections.

   Burton did strike animated gold again with this gothic cartoon of a film, with an involved storyline, excellent voice acting, delicate Elfman score, stylized animation, and many other cinematic perks. Only the minor continuity errors can throw it off its axis of cult-to-mainstream classic.

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