Much like my blah feelings about Tim
Burton's other stop-motion animation film "The Nightmare Before
Christmas", "Corpse Bride" is another film that certainly is whacked
out but ultimately not very interesting...and this one is only about
an hour long.
The vision of "Corpse Bride" and its
fantastic setting is the best part about it, but after that most
everything falls flat. A young man named Victor (voiced by
Johnny Depp) is about to complete his arranged marriage to a
dowry-less woman named Victoria (Emily Watson) when it hits
him--whoa, he's scared out of his mind to be married, and he
certainly needs another day or two to collect his thoughts and learn
those crazy vows. After taking a walk in the forest one night,
he practices by going through the wedding motions and putting the
ring of his intended on a harmless tree branch...only to realize
that this branch is the brittle, decomposed ring finger of a
murdered young beauty, the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter).
Magically, the ring brings the Bride back to life, and Victor spends
the rest of his time going from feelings of "Damn, this is really
morbid!" to "Maybe I CAN spend the rest of my life with this
cadaver!", to sometimes-funny effect. Meanwhile, in the world
of the living, Victoria tries to win back Victor from his new dead
wife and to keep herself out of the clutches of a mysterious
bachelor (Richard E. Grant), who is after her very-empty family
Clocking in at about 75 minutes, you're
going to feel gypped if you drop $10 on this for a nighttime
viewing; surprisingly, the film feels a bit too long even at 75
minutes, because it is a bit slow following the whirlwind first 20
minutes. As a musical, the songs here seemed very uninspired;
you know, I didn't really like
Bigger, Longer and Uncut", but even I have to admit that the
songs were funny. Conversely, I loved
"Chicago", and I loved it because the songs were so well placed
and just so damned good...that same feeling is nowhere to be found
in "Corpse Bride", and that's a mix of boring lyrics, un-singer
singers (Depp and Bonham Carter seem misplaced in this regard; Depp
is at the top of his game as an actor, but as a singer?) and songs
that just kind of pop up, instead of drive any real storyline.
Part of that is that there really is no storyline; with a movie so
short, there is only the primary plot of wondering if Victor will
hang onto this stiff and live the rest of their lives together in
My sister Cate and I saw this over the
weekend and both of us came out of the theater thinking it was just
okay, certainly nothing that you need to run out and see right away.
The look of it is cool, but not cool enough to plop down the cash on
it. And, the ending was just bad--the path that Burton & Co.
choose to go is not the way I would have taken his already-strange
creation, out of the weird and into the traditional storybook ending
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard