Another deliciously gothic outing from Tim Burton, Corpse Bride has all the looks but unfortunately none of the smarts of a great animated movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas didn’t grab me, I must admit, so maybe if you liked his earlier stop motion feature then you’ll be impressed with this one.
The cast seem to be a list of Burton regulars, check it out – Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Helena Bonham Carter (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes), Albert Finney (Big Fish), Christopher Lee (Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Michael Gough (Sleepy Hollow). I wouldn’t be surprised if the voices were actually recorded during one of his previous shoots.
The story is good insofar as it isn’t a remake of another fairytale (or at least one with which I’m familiar), but the script itself is fairly poor. Yes, it is a kids’ movie, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have top-notch dialogue – Pixar has been showing us this for years, and more recently Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a great example.
Danny Elfman’s songs are a major letdown in the film. The musical numbers are completely forgettable, and one wonders if maybe Elfman needs to take a break to get his creative vibe back. To make matters worse one song had almost indecipherable lyrics – I had no idea what these jolly skeletons were singing.
Visually, Corpse Bride is stunning, and takes animation to new levels. This isn’t classic stop motion, rather a very polished cousin of the more primitive style we’re used to. It also features a fair amount of CGI to assist with the more elaborate effects, something the Wallace & Gromit movie did sparingly. I loved the fact that the world of the living was drab and grey, whereas the land of the dead was bright and colourful – it often reminded me of the old Lucasarts game ‘Grim Fandango’.
Corpse Bride is all style and very little substance. Disappointing.Rating: