Well, since it is Halloween, it stands to reason that I should review some film that looks like it is Halloween-related in some way. I probably could have selected any horror movie, and I could have also chosen The Nightmare Before Christmas from Tim Burton, but I decided to do a less-remembered film known as Corpse Bride.
This film showed up on Netflix, and I had remembered that I seen this one. Normally, films that can barely be remembered are worse than just plain bad films. Corpse Bride received mostly favorable reviews, and it is actually quite creative. I’m not really certain what to make of it, honestly.
The issue with animated films is the scripts have to be very polished before they are approved. The reason is obvious: there is little room for ad-lib in the world of animation, and this is especially true of claymation. The issue is that I think Corpse Bride had some good ideas, but the script could have used a few more drafts.
One of the things that I do remember about the film is that it uses Tim Burton’s black-and-white and yet still somehow in color world. Burton’s Batman Returns is a good example of this, as the only colors that were visible were the actor’s faces. Animation gives the director even more control over the color palette, and everything in this Victorian world is gray.
Even though the film is PG rated, I’m not certain if it is really for kids. In fact, it has an element of maturity to it that is welcome for a claymation film, but it doesn’t use any sex or violence. It starts out with a noveau-riche family who want to marry their son Victor to poor family’s Victoria. Normally, films that start with an arranged marriage have a character who wants out of it because he or she wants to love someone else.
The film makes you think that this is going to happen in Corpse Bride. Victor has a wedding rehearsal, and can’t get his vows right. For some reason the priest, played very creepily by the late great Christopher Lee, doesn’t seem to like Victor’s delivery. Victor then rehearses his vows complete with ring, and he put it on what he believes is a branch. As it turns out, the branch is a skeletal hand, and the vows are enough to inspire some magic. This enables the Corpse Bride to rise up as an undead bride, so she can marry Victor.
Victor then ends up in the land of the dead, and what makes it very odd is this afterlife is very colorful and lively compared to his normally drag Victorian world. This was one thing that I remember most about the film, because it felt like nothing that I expected. Then there are several other plot twists that come up, including that I won’t spoil about Victor, who seemingly does something out of character.
Corpse Bride is one of those films where there is some magical spell, and it is all about breaking it. Personally, I like stories like this, and there usually are some loopholes that show up so everything works out. I will have to say that the very ending shot is good, but it is rather vague.
This is one film that I will recommend, but here is one thing that I will have to say. I hadn’t seen the film after several years, and I had forgotten it was a musical. Seriously, I didn’t remember one song from this. I consider any musical that doesn’t at least leave one catchy tune in your head a failure, and perhaps it just should have left out the songs.