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Toon Talk - From the Other Side: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
September 23, 2005
Kirby reviews Warner Brother's release Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Toon Talk: From the Other Side
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Warner Bros

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Warner Bros.

Death and the Maiden
Always one to embrace (if not revel in) his own brand of the serenely bizarre, eccentric director Tim Burton returns with his latest foray into stop motion animation, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. The man who gave us a kinky Catwoman licking the caped crusader (Batman Returns) and the disembodied heads of Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker locked in a passionate kiss (Mars Attacks!) has certainly shown a penchant in the past for odd and/or grotesque romantic pairings in his films, so it should come as no surprise that the title character here is not so much a blushing bride as a decomposing one.

(c) Warner Bros

Firmly set in yet another wing of Burton’s fertile imagination, Corpse Bride opens upon the impending nuptials of the nervous Victor Van Dort (voiced by Burton’s De Niro, Johnny Depp) to winsome Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson). An arranged marriage meant to boost the social standing of Victor’s fishmonger parents (Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse) and the financial status of Victoria’s (Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney) (who have only agreed to the marriage due to their recent - and secret - bankruptcy), the two soon-to-be newlyweds have never met until the eve of the wedding; when they do, there is an obvious spark in their lonely eyes. But when an overbearing clergy (Christopher Lee) causes Victor to ruin the wedding rehearsal, the hapless young man is sent off to practice his vows, which he does in a typically Burton-esque spooky forest. When he places the ring on what he believes is a twisted tree branch and finally gets the vows right, he discovers that that was no branch, but the skeletal hand of the Corpse Bride, his new accidental wife. Plunged into the after-life, Victor learns of Emily’s dire fate (jilted at the alter by a gold-digging fiancée) and is even reunited with his (dead) dog Scraps. But he is anxious to return to the land of the living and his true betrothed Victoria, who quickly enters the sites of the opportunistic Lord Barkis (Richard E. Grant), a Snow Miser look-alike who would surely be twisting his moustache if he had one.

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