In Tim Burton's CORPSE BRIDE, a merry "tale of passion, romance, and murder most foul," Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) is the vibrant titular heroine. Deceased but under goofy circumstances engaged to the shy and living Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), she finds herself in a rare melancholic mood (Which fits her blue, decomposing disposition) after discovering her fiance is still hung up on his actual bride to be Victoria (Emily Watson). Emily receives some cheering up from a pair of underworld friends, a black widow spider (Jane Harrocks of "Little Voice" fame) and maggot (Enn Reitel) that dwells within her head. "What does she have that you haven't got?" the black widow croons. "How about a pulse?" Emily contests. "Overrated by a mile!" the maggot replies.
In the delectable, goth romance fantasy CORPSE BRIDE, Tim Burton once again returns to the realm of stop motion animation (After "The Nightmare Before Christmas") for a devilishly enchanting clash between the living and the dead. It should come as no surprise that the film, written by John August, Caroline Thompson and Pamela Pettler and directed by Burton and "Nightmare" animator Mike Johnson, favors the latter. The living are indeed overshadowed by the departed in this sweet, visually miraculous, freewheeling grotesquerie that is a splendid return to form for Burton after a disappointing run in big budget remakes ("Planet of the Apes" and this summer's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") that threatened to overshadow his preferred taste in the mischievously eclectic.
The wonderfully antiquated stop motion animation is perfectly suited to the glum, colorless Victorian proceedings. Victor is the son of fish shop parents (Voiced by Tracy Ullman and Paul Whitehouse) who have arranged his marriage with Victoria, the daughter of the snobbish, upper class and broke Everglot family (Hilariously voiced by Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney). The union should insure social positioning for the Van Dorts and money...
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