Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austin’

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

April 7, 2009

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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Dracula

March 31, 2009

What Is It?

This is the classic vampire story that started it all. There would be no Edward Cullen with out Bram Stoker. (Of  course there would be much less of Edward Cullen if it was not for Edward Ferrars in Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, but that’s for a different post.) In Dracula, a young man from England in 1897 travels to Transylvania to help a native Count purchase homes in England. Soon it is discovered that the Count is a monster bent on conquering England.

How Was It?

There is a reason that this book is still around after all these years. It is written as if it’s a collection of diaries, news articles, letters and other papers. Throughout them, the story unravels and reveals mysteries and some very interesting characters. Not only Dracula himself, but people like Renfield, the psychologically disturbed mental patient who eats live creatures in an attempt to consume lives.

Then there is Van-Helsing, the professor whose knowledge of the occult is powered by his infectious trust in God. The story of the vampire is very well developed, yet still has a shadowiness to his character.

Is It Good For Kids?

Younger children will find this hard to read. If they can get through it, the horror elements as well as the sexual symbolism won’t sit well with less mature kids. It will either be disturbing or confusing.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This is just an incredible part of this book. Dracula is eventually presented as a false Christ. His heart is evil; he takes the blood of others in a twisting of communion. He even has a disciple whose desire for a faith is fully selfish. The symbolism is in no way veiled. Renfield, the asylum doctor, and especially Van-Helsing link all the activities to the Bible. The truth of God is the measure used to evaluate the spiritual actions distorted by the count.

Van-Helsing continually refers to the grace of Christ and contrasts Dracula’s evil with God’s power. He knows that God’s goodness is the only cure for evil and is the reason that they can take up arms against this “devil”.

There is also a fair amount of symbolism within his evil. There is nothing immoral to read, but the taking of blood and devouring of lives is often connected to sexual sin. Not only in the act of taking blood, but in the consequences as well. Men are destroyed and women are linked to the one who has taken advantage of them. This is a beautifully written moral tale in which God is the answer and the turning from God is what creates monsters.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you can stomach some dark situations, you should read this book. It’s a classic work that most everyone has had some connection with, but few know what a great story (with such wonderful ideas) awaits them in this tome. The true gothic tail is something much greater than all the flimsy retellings it has inspired.

It may also give you an opportunity to discuss with others the issues that Mr. Stoker deals with, starting with the nature of evil and leading all the way to the person of Christ.

What Parts Were Ripped Off By Lesser Authors?

 don’t know if “ripped off” can be proven, but there is a character who receives a scar on their forehead from the story’s ultimate evil character. When Dracula is near, the scar begins to hurt

hmmm … I wonder…. Oh well….

Dracula by Bram Stoker