Today I watched Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
I remember the excitement over this movie coming out in 2005. I think we were all waiting for another enchanting Nightmare Before Christmas with a Victorian grimdark flair. Unfortunately when you set the bar at the top, anything less is just…well lesser.
The movie starts out promisingly, with a strong cast, interesting premise that’s rife with old world mystery and charm and Burton’s famous stark colour palettes of greys and blues. And then somewhere around the middle the story just starts to slow down. Our zany underworld characters are more twee than charming and seem a bit forced in for comic relief, like Cinderella’s mice.
The Peter Lorre impersonating maggot is to blame for most of it. The kids didn’t get the reference and he didn’t earn more from the adults than a tired eye-roll. The songs start out strong, but sort of peter out as Elfman rather phones in the later numbers.
That being said, it’s still a fun movie. I love watching it with my kids and thrilling to the creepy Emily, laughing at the goofy ghosts. They even get all swoony over Victor and Victoria, which is remarkable in a kids’ film and they got so excited when Christopher Lee (God rest him) showed up.
When all’s said and done the worst thing that could be said about Corpse Bride is that it’s not Nightmare Before Christmas, and that ain’t bad.