Mon September 19, 2005
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Although a few of us have married corpse-like spouses, and those unions were doomed to hell from the start, Tim Burton in Corpse Bride depicts Victor (voice of Johnny Depp), a shy, awkward, introverted pianist actually marrying a corpse (Helena Bonham Carter), by error. Because this is stop-motion animation, even better visually than Burton's Nightmare before Christmas (1993), the expressions are artful and sweet, macabre and eccentric, all the while depicting with icy hilarity the pitfalls of arranged marriages and passive attitudes.
Along with the recent Just Like Heaven, Corpse Bride's dependence on love in its Platonic, non-corporeal form is entering the imaginations of contemporary writers in more than one film.
If you like your Edgar Allen Poe visual, this animation is for you. The characters from hell, such as Mr. Bonejangles, a Peter Lorre maggot knockoff, and a headwaiter with just a head, are Halloween scary and funny while the more normal living beings, such as Victor's social-climbing parents and fianc? Victoria's poor aristocrat parents, are already in their own pre-grave version of hell.
How Victor inadvertently weds a skeleton (albeit a curvey one) and gets dragged to hell is yours to find out. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the brilliance of a director whose imagination is scary.
From Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure":
". . . If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms."
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com