Thursday, September 29, 2005

Corpse Bride

Saturday I went to see Corpse Bride. I have always loved The Nightmare Before Christmas, so I was looking forward to Tim Burton's latest animated feature. I can't say I was disappointed.

Corpse Bride is a wonderful film. Its plot is inventive and original. I don't think I am revealing anything when I say that the plot centres on a young man, Victor Van Dort (voiced by Johnny Depp), who finds himself married to a corpse (played by Helena Bonham Carter). This unusual situation leads to some of the funniest scenes and funniest lines I have seen in any movie of late, animated or otherwise. Indeed, some of the best lines are uttered by the town crier (whose news always seems to be to the detriment of poor Victor's reputation).

The vocal performances are superb. Depp lends an air of melancholy to poor Victor, a young man who seems to have always found himself a victim of his circumstances. Helena Bonham Carter also does quite well as the Corpse Bride of the title, a poor dead soul desperately in search of love. Perhaps the best voice in the entire money is that of Enn Reitel, who not only voices the Maggot (yes, the movie does have a maggot as a character...), but also the Town Crier (who has many of the film's best lines). Corpse Bride literally has an all star cast, with voices provided by Joanna Lumley, Tracey Ullman, Albert Finney, Michael Gough, and even Christopher Lee (yes, that Christopher Lee).

The score by Danny Elfman is superb and I would dare say that some of the songs are even Oscar worthy. Particularly good are "Tears to Shed," the movie's token ballad, and "According to Plan," the film's opening number.

Among the movie's strongest points are its visuals. Corpse Bride does not look quite like any movie. It also has an original take on the world of the living versus the world of the dead. The world of the living is a glum one, coloured largely in greys, blacks, and whites. On the other hand, the world of the dead is full of colour and (no pun intended) life.

Corpse Bride is a must for any fan of animated movies, as well as anyone who enjoys black comedy. Indeed, I would say it is perfect viewing for Halloween this year.

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