Set back in the late 1800s in a Victorian village, a man and woman by the names of Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot are betrothed because the Everglots need the money or else they'll be living on the streets and the Van Dorts want to be high in society. But when things go wrong at the wedding rehearsal, Victor goes into the woods to practice his vows. Just as soon as he gets them right, he finds himself married to Emily, the corpse bride. While Victoria waits on the other side, there's a rich newcomer that may take Victor's place. So two brides, one groom, who will Victor pick?Written by
Burton takes another playful swipe at his stop-motion heroes with this nicely-done treat.
Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) is a milquetoast. A bumbling, unlucky dreamer. To make things worse, his parents (multi-talented Paul Whitehouse and Tracey Ullman) are forcing him into the classic "arranged marriage", which is more like a contract with the cash-strapped but aristocratic Everglots (Albert Finney & Joanna Lumley). Things turn around, however, when he meets his intended, Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) who is actually very attractive, inside and out.
The ceremony is as arranged as the marriage, unfortunately, and the frustrated minister (Christopher Lee) demands that Victor take time out to PRACTICE HIS VOWS. This too, is awkward, as in the midst of his rehearsal, Victor places a ring upon a corpse's poking finger (just the place to rehearse a wedding, a cemetery) thus rousing the title character (Helena Bonham Carter), who leads Victor on a voyage through life and death and an unwitting quest to figure out what he really wants.
Exquisite, yes, and enjoyable, but not without a few flaws. Most of the songs, while well written, feel out of place, and potentially powerful villain, Barkis Bittern (post-Doctor Who Richard E. Grant) doesn't seem to be allowed to do enough. But the good far outweighs the bad--moviegoers who get past the title will find a light-hearted romp that is rife with parody and spoof, from the Harryhausen brand piano to the diminutive character Bonesapart (played by the diminutive Deep Roy). A cameo by Jack Skellington would have been cool (O.K., Disney) but Danny Elfman's Bonejangles does pull off an eye-popping number. Even the unsettling, Peter-Lorre-channeling maggot residing in the Bride's skull threatens to steal the show. Good cast (with many Burton stalwarts, incidentally), with the philosophy that less is more make for a good time.
Like it or not, it is well-worth noting that this film delivers many firsts to film-making, including new-style digital camera-work on refined stop-motion. To animators and film students, this offering comes highly recommended.
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