Corpse Bride Film Review

Here's my review on the well known Tim Burton film Corpse Bride. Let me know what you think!!

I appreciate all types of feedback, im open to all views 

:)

Corpse Bride Film Review

The Corpse Bride, a fictional stop motion movie created by the well known producer Tim Burton. With the use of dolls, CGI and lots of props he was able to make another unique film. The film is 77 minutes, so quite short however it does not feel like its rushed.

I've seen some previous movies that Tim has produced, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, therefore my expectations before watching the film were considerably good. I expected it to have that Tim Burton flair like his other films. Burton has a unique way of making each of his characters individualised by having their own exaggerated particular look and movement. These ‘looks’ each compliment their character and help show the audience more about their personality just by their body language and the stereotypes over looks. 

A clear example of this is the main character Victor. He is a slim pale boy with exceedingly long limbs and bad posture, his looks and movements give off the impression of his awkwardness and insecurity; his stutters, lack of eye contact and slouching all emphasise this, especially because of the way his body has been built it is far more clear to the audience. This is just one example but Tim Burton made sure every character had this flair to them to ensure the greater impact on the readers interpretations.

As previously said, The Corpse Bride is a stop motion film. What this means is its an advanced flipbook style form of animation. It involves photographing and then physically manipulating objects within your frame. So as each frame is placed in sequence, the technique creates the effect of the character moving itself. This way of making films has significantly reduced due to the use of CGI.

The message I’ve interpreted from the film is all about how we should love who we are married to and not marry who we are supposedly deemed to by others. The constant switching backwards and forward between Victoria and Emily by Victor is somewhat confusing, however perfectly illustrates the complication of who we love. Whereas when Victoria is almost married off to the evil guy, there are no complications compared to the love triangle in the film. 

The other message I gathered was very dark but interesting. Throughout the film, there were constant changes to show the after life and the living. It overall showed that the dead are so much more happier than the living. Tim has illustrated this magnificently – he would make lighting extremely dull in the land of the living, as well as he always played dreary music with no lyrics. In addition to this the characters all had miserable faces, were dressed in black and had no life to their face, the setting was empty and sad, you could hear echos especially at the beginning with Victoria and Victor talking. It personally didn’t feel home-y, there were no positive emotions shown in the land of the living.

The plot in this film is quite straight forward. Victor and Victoria families arrange for their marriage, but they both also happen to like each other. However, Victor becomes nervous and so whilst he was practising his vows he mistakenly proposes to a tree branch which happened to be a corpse's hand.  A corpse bride, Emily, who was murdered by her previous lover. Victor’s mission is to get back above ground to the land of the living in order to save his and Victoria's relationship.

The main characters Victor and Victoria are both quite similar, they are quiet, shy and withdrawn. I feel this could be a metaphor to the how the children of a wealthy family in the Victorian era were like (seen and not heard). 

Emily, the corpse bride is a beautiful bride who is searching for love, she's deeply hurt and insecure from her previous relationship for which she’s looking for redemption from another man. I think this is quite sad as it resembles the power of men in the Victorian times, how women had to rely on men to be worthy and were only seen as a possession for men. 

There is a clear character development of Emily in the film, she starts to become more wise and even more confident, she no longer is only focused on men, this is clearly shown in the end scene when she tells Victor to be with Victoria which she then vanishes into freedom implying the only thing holding her back was her reliance on men. This powerful message is important to young girls watching this film.

Tim Burton chose the right actors for these roles. Johnny Depp voiced Victor which isn't surprising as Johnny Depp has acted for him numerous times so I assume they have built a trusty relationship which has helped ensure Victor is presented how Tim wanted him to be. Helena Carter voiced Emily which was the perfect voice match, I think Helena expressed Emily's emotions incredibly through her voice. Lastly, Emma Watson voiced Victoria which was also performed incredibly, her quiet delicate voice matched Victorias personality perfectly.

You can see a  lot of camera work in this movie which adds to the scenes. I particularly noticed how the camera angles are directed upwards towards most characters in the land of the living, this can accentuate them appearing scary and intimidating. As you enter the land of the dead, there is a huge difference in the camera work. All of a sudden, there is a lot of movement at all different angles which overall makes the scene appear more fun and entertaining. As previously stated, the animation is very dull and dark, as well as the characters appearing deadly and moving rigidly, this is completely juxtaposed by the underground. The dead world animation is full of vibrant colours, the people are full of life! More than the living people. It feels more cosy and familiar compared to the empty, unrecognisable places in the living world.

Something else I noticed within the animation was how the corpse bride was presented, in a lot of her scenes where ever she was, there was colour just around her. This is implying how she brings life to things around her, the clear contrast between the colour configuration of her and Victors represents how much more lively the dead are than the living. It illustrates the freedom they finally have from the burdens of the living world. And arguably, is Tim Burton saying that the afterlife is in fact ‘full of life!’.

In my opinion I found the film entertaining, I thought that it was very compelling and easy to engage with. It wasn’t a particularly long film which ensured there was always something going on to keep you interested. It's entertaining for all age groups not just kids, there's dark humour which older age groups can engage with as well as light hearted humour for everyone. This movie was constructed very carefully to make sure all little details were right for the audience, the more you watch it the more you realise just how much effort was put into it; this is why I would recommend it to just about anyone.

However, the only flaw I found within the film was how we saw Emilys and Victors relationship develop throughout the film due to their excessive screentime, which makes us kind of wish that they did end up together, but not because Victorias a bad character but because of the strong chemistry that is seen between Victor and Emily. It almost felt somewhat disappointing to see Emily push Victor away at the end although its meant to be seen as a good thing. I was hoping for a happy-ever-after ending. But ultimately I believe the point of the movie was about female empowerment and choice. That ‘jarring’ feeling of not quite getting the conclusion I am used to disrupts the viewing experience and gives the viewer a reason to think.

Something that stood out to me the most was the opening scene. The camera is taken around the town following this butterfly, however this butterfly was the only colour in the entire scene – this caught my eye and since that scene I kept noticing it throughout the movie, like the ladybird, the maggot and when the camera transforms back into the living world all and it goes all dull again except the nature, the nature is brightly coloured, possibly symbolising natures continuous life, contrasting how stripped of life the rest of the world is. The butterfly is a symbol of metamorphosis, you see the butterfly at the beginning and after all the change and transformation with the characters, you then see it at the end meaning it signifies a new beginning.

Overall I would recommend this film, I love how it’s a stop motion styled film as there's less and less of them, and all the tiny but crucial details that complete the film.

Header Image Credit: Juventude.life!

Author

Annabelle Keane

Annabelle Keane

Student

Trying to tap into my creative side again

2 Comments

  • millie wyatt

    On 19 May 2024, 21:05 millie wyatt commented:

    omg this review was the best, i really enjoyed reading it, how you describe and word it has me in aur i really want to watch it again. i love how you have captured the esence without spoiling the whole movie. just intising me to watch it i love the courpse bride as i cand really relait to her skeliton ness which character do you feel like you relait too?

  • sean reader

    On 20 May 2024, 15:00 sean reader commented:

    This is a well written review of a film that for some reason I have never got round to watching. Covering many aspects of the film without spoiling the plot was the perfect way to give me a good idea of what the movie is.
    After reading this review I have now decided to watch the movie this weekend. Thank you for a great review.

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