Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

What Is It?

Another dark fairy tail from the man who created “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Extremely stylistic characters, all with a Gothic cartoon edge, play out a tail of love life and death. The Van Dort family has a plan to marry there son into a rich family to raise there status. The Everglot family have been pretending to be rich even though they have lost there fortune. They plan to marry there daughter to anyone in an attempt to create another family to support their own. Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) and Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) become the unwitting pawns in this Jane Austin-Esq social experiment which is simply the “Sub Plot”!

After the towering ghoul of a pastor berates Victor with the booming yet eary voice of Christopher Lee, Victor stumbles through the woods trying to get his vows right. Upon the exact restoration of his entire vow he excitedly places his ring on a finger like tree proclaiming “With this ring, I ask you to be mine.”

Learning that you have to be careful with such declarations, the corps of Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) takes shape. With the ring on her finger and her dress in place (though showing a bit more of her decomposing ribs than she had once intended) Emily gratefully accepts Victor’s offer. Now stuck between two women and two worlds Victor’s world becomes much more complicated, and a lot weirder.

How Was It?

Now the animation in “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was stunning. Not only is the look of the whole thing macob ly beautiful, the technical advances are huge. To do a camera move in stop frame is near impossible. With that being said… “Corpse Bride” improves on “Nightmare“s stylistic and technical brilliance at least 10 fold. Even the difference in the color schemes between the two worlds is amazing. Not only that but “Corpse Bride” adds elements totally alien to “Nightmare” like a plot that makes it all the way to the end and, while we are there, an ending that actually makes sense. Though, with some characters you are supposed to see what is coming, I did not know which bride or state of being Victor would have been linked to until it was revealed.

Though this is an animated musical, it’s main audience is not little kids, but teens who buy shirts at Hot Topic. This parody of a children’s movie uses almost every line to deliver a clever pun linked to a visual joke. The music is great. (Danny Elfman is wonderful.) The song to introduce are decomposing bride is a bit like the Boogie Man’s theme, but it’s still all wonderful. To top everything off, Emily has her own Jiminy Cricket equivalent; The Maggot that lives in her head.. Waite, it gets better… The Maggot is a perfect rendition of late actor “Peter Lorie!” (How great is that?)

Is It Good For Kids?

This would depend on your kids. Like I said this may be advertised to kids but it was made of teens. I would think lots of children would be disturbed by the constant jump scenes and dead creatures showing off there demise. (There is a man who we realize was cut in half, the long way, when he splits reveling all his organs.) Many characters have knives and swards still in them, and disembodied limbs and eyes are not uncommon.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete break down of what is on the screen.

Still even if you child can handle such visuals with out nightmares or dark obsessions, The spiritual content is still worth considering.

What About Spiritual Issues?

First of all this wedding party gets many points right. There is a desire among the adult children to honer there parents even though there parents have poor motives. Love and Marriage are held up as good things. (Slight Spoiler) Victor even offers to give up what he actually wants to keep a promise!

Still the ideas around the afterlife are very contrary to Biblical descriptions. There is a slight chance the ending implies a “heaven” other than the lower world, but purgatory isn’t that appealing a belief either. For “the Corps Bride” The world of the dead is an odd combination of the Greek underworld, a Shanty Town, and a friendly local bar. None of this is very unlike Burton’s original look at how the other side lives, “Beetle Juice .”

Though all that would be enough to be leery of, Burton throws in one of his favorite archetypes… the evil Christian. There are 4 major baddies in this film. Not the least of them is Pastor Galswells. He is first seen being just horrible to the like-able Victor. Later when Victoria discovers the state of things, she goes to the pastor for council. He tells her he can help, then forcibly delivered her to her family telling them to keep her locked up. Finlay (spoiler) when the Pastor is faced with an assemblage of the dead coming to his church, The Pastor commands “Back, ye demons from Hell!” but is quickly proven powerless as the ghost pass him by simply commenting “Keep it down, will yer? We’re in a church.” So, Pastor’s are here shown as mean, creepy, incorrect, and spirituality impotent.

Once again, Burton holds forth lofty ideals of love, honesty, chivalry, and self sacrifice, but then denies the power to actually do any of it. In this case I think it would be wise to head the advise of 2 Timothy 3:5.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I would steer your children in another direction. Unless they at the point intellectually to be able to separate the thrill of the art from it’s message, so that the movie could be used as a spring board for understanding opposing views and prejudices against Christians as well as there ideas… I don’t see any value in exposing some one to this film.

You are much better off with the family friendlier Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Where Burton, Depp, Lee, and Bonham Carter all stick to ideals that we agree on with out inserting the “evil Christian” character to muddy the waters.

Though if you are going to see this film, do so with discussion and discernment, and rent the Maltese Falcon first so everyone knows who Peter Lorie is…

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2 Responses to “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride”

  1. UkrainianGirls Says:

    I think that it is a very interesting and amusing article. Practically all its main points are true.

  2. Mark Vice Says:

    I love it!

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