-The Wedding Vows
Where do I start... Well, Corpse Bride is the story of young Victor van Dort, a shy man in an arranged marriage with a woman named Victoria Everglot. However, at his wedding rehearsal, he gets nervous and messes up his vows. Humiliated, he runs away into the forest and practices the vows by himself. He places the wedding ring on the 'finger' of a dry bush, which actually does turn out to be a finger. Out of the ground rises the corpse of a dead bride who declares they are now married. It's based on a Jewish Folk Tale, and is much better than my shaky synopsis makes it sound.
First off, the film is gorgeous. The scenery may be drab and grey, but it's such a marvel to look at. I love the look and feel of stop-motion, and if you asked me why, I'd probably pop this movie into the player. And the music is terrific. There's a jazzy, danse-macabre sound associated with the land of the dead, which makes copious use of 'bony' sounding xylophone and saxaphone. That's all well and good, and really fun to listen to. For me though, the really gorgeous tracks are the ones that repeat the main theme heard in the opening credits. It's light, twinkly, and really brings out the more touching side of the plot. Danny Elfman makes very good use of celesta in those tracks.
|Victor and Victoria off to a good start.|
|Victor trying to boost Emily's mood after he said something|
And there's a stereotypical jerk priest. It doesn't bug me too much, since the dead people at the end seem to respect churches and such, but still. [eyeroll] On the bright side, Christopher Lee voices the vile vicar, and you can't go wrong with Christopher Lee. :)
Now that I've gone on about what I didn't like, I can feel free to gush about all that was right with this movie.
Despite his unfortunate tendency to say the wrong thing at the worst possible time, I really liked Victor. He truly wanted to do the right thing in the difficult situation he found himself in, and he had a sense of responsibility towards both the women he found himself engaged to. While the film satirizes the unromantic, practical view of marriage, it also shows that there is a certain responsibility that comes with marriage, and that it isn't something to be taken lightly.
Victoria was a pretty good character. Like Cosette, she gets a lot of flak for being the one who got chosen in the end, but I liked her. She's shy and quiet, but she does have a will of her own, and takes things into her own hands at various points in the plot.
Emily- the titular 'Corpse Bride' had a good character arc, and her plight was really heart-wrenching. She did the right thing in the end despite it not being what she really wanted, and I really loved the development and conflict in her character.
The film has a very touching and selfless ending that- for me- almost made up for that incredibly cheesy scene of the villain walking down the hallway laughing evilly. Almost. Oh yeah, I suppose I forgot to talk about the film's villain. Well, he had understandable motivation, and you're invested enough in the characters to want him to get what he deserves, but... Yeah. He walked down a hallway laughing evilly. He's a bad guy who puts the B in subtle.
The Verdict: B+
It was kind of hard to watch this movie without constantly comparing it to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Nightmare was a terrific, clever, fun ride, and I think it's a better movie. But Corpse Bride has very genuine heart and told a moving story with a beautiful ending.