Corpse Bride

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There are people that are dark and it’s disturbing to see. Then there are people like Tim Burton who have a style that works and we can’t wait to see what they do next. Burton has long relied on the acting talents of one Johnny Depp in such films as “Edward Scissorhands”, “Sleepy Hollow” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to name a few. All of these movies have very dark, eerie undertones to them and its part of what makes them so interesting and fun to watch. Burton has also dabbled in animation, most notably with his “Nightmare before Christmas”. Personally I’ve never been a big fan of this type of animation, but when you think about what it takes to literally make a movie like this – well, “mind boggling” is one of the first phrases that I think of. “Corpse Bride” combines both of Tim Burton’s worlds in that Johnny Depp is the voice behind Victor Van Dort. Ok, so you’ve got Burton in his “critically acclaimed” genre with his go to guy Johnny Depp. Now what?

Victor Van Dort (Depp) is set to be married, though not by his own choosing. It’s an arranged marriage and not one that he’s looking forward to. He’s dreading his fate yet accepts it as well. Then he meets Victoria (Emily Watson) and they hit it off. Suddenly this isn’t as bad as he thinks. But he can’t seem to get his vows right and wanders off into the woods for some practice. As fate would have it, he nails the vows and mistakenly enters into a marriage with a corpse bridge (Helena Bonham Carter). As he explores the world of the dead (he’s still alive, by the way) he realizes that things are a bit different after you pass on. But he’s dead set (pun completely intended) on getting back to the real world so that he can marry Victoria and get on with his life. Of course things aren’t that easy and as he starts to get to know the corpse bride, he develops feelings for her as well. What will Victor do?

“Corpse Bride” is a very intriguing, entertaining movie brought to life (again, pun intended) by Burton’s fertile imagination. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his long time collaborator, Danny Elfman. Elfman is responsible for some of the most enjoyable songs (and theme songs) from television and movies and “Corpse Bride” is certainly no exception. There are several musical numbers squeezed into these 77 minutes and Elfman’s fingerprint is on them all. I wasn’t expecting so many musical numbers, but they’re presented in a very clever manner. On the whole “Corpse Bride” is a rather enjoyable film presented in a very unique way. It’s not at all scary, so don’t let that deter you if you’re going to show the children. Undoubtedly the movie will find new life on DVD (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Video: How does it look?

“Corpse Bride” is shown in a very flat 1.77:1 aspect ratio as we might expect for this kind of movie (though if memory serves “James and the Giant Peach” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” were both 1.66:1) and for as muted as the color palette is the picture is flawless. Really, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way this image looked. Contrary to what we might think, the underworld of the dead is a very bright and colorful place with plenty of pinks, yellows and greens. The blue of the corpse bride (and the corresponding green of the maggot that keeps popping out of her socket) looks great. Suffice it to say that death never looked this good.

Audio: How does it sound?

For as good as the picture looks, the Dolby Digital EX soundtrack is nearly as good. As I mentioned before, there are plenty of musical numbers and a few jazzy ones at that (complete with a skeleton wearing shades ala Ray Charles). There are surround effects galore and all the channels keep buzzing away from opening credits to closing. Dialogue, English dialogue at that, sounds very clean. Mostly the front three channels do most of the work, but there is ambiance in most every scene. What a great soundtrack!

Supplements: What are the extras?

Warner has done right this time around giving the viewer what they want, information on the movie and how it was made as opposed to a bunch of fluffy featurettes. Granted some of these 8 featurettes are a bit of fluff, but they contain plenty of information. Included are “Inside the Two Worlds”, “Danny Elfman Interprets the Two Worlds”, “The Animators: The Breath of Life”, “Tim Burton: Dark vs. Light”, “Voices From the Underworld”, “Making Puppets Talk”, “The Voices Behind the Voice” and a music-only track is also included. For anyone interested in the more technical aspects of how a movie like this is made, these shed a lot of light on that aspect. While “Corpse Bride” may not be as widely accepted as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” give it time, this is one fun movie to watch and makes a great DVD.

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