It came as quite a surprise to my wife, but I couldn’t hide from the truth. I had never seen the Corpse Bride, that was until a few days ago. She convinced this was a great movie with beautiful animation and great characters. I had been convinced all this time that this animated movie wouldn’t be for me since it is a Tim Burton production with his two favourite people, Johnny Deep and Helen Bonham-Carter.
As a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, I figured I’d be able to enjoy and appreciate the animation and the nod to the land of the dead. I liked how down to earth all the characters were and how true they stayed to the time period they were created in. Victor (Deep) is a clumsy guy who is about to marry Victoria (Emily Watson). After a long walk in the woods, he stumbles into the afterworld and meets the Corpse Bride (Carter), who is now engaged.
They seem like a great pair, except he’s alive and she’s dead. Victoria is forced into an engagement with the eventual bad guy, which leaves Victor to ponder his current situation. His heart is torn between two wonderful people, with one being a realistic option and the other not so much so. I thought Burton did a great job showcasing both sides equally.
In the afterlife, Victor would have a wonderful life, while if he stayed alive, his marriage could end up as a failure. Pressure is a major theme of the movie; whether from parents or dead people, the main characters all have to make impactful decisions.
I really enjoyed the twist at the end, when we discover the true identity of the bad guy. I didn’t see it coming, but it all made perfect sense. Victor also makes his decision, and even though he couldn’t have gone wrong either way, he made the right call and picked the perfect bride.
There is a fan theory out there that Corpse Bride is the middle entry of a Tim Burton universe where we find his main characters progressing from childhood to adulthood to life after death. I can see a few similarities but not sure how I really feel about the connection.
Corpse Bride came out 12 years after Burton’s first big animated hit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and would be his second-best feature. 7/10