"Corpse Bride" (2005)

Rating: PG (for some scary images and action)
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
Written By: John August, Pamela Pettler, Caroline Thompson
In Theatres: Oct 21, 2005  Wide
Runtime: 74 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria's (Emily Watson) families have arranged their marriage. Though they like each other, Victor is nervous about the ceremony. While he's in a forest practicing his lines for the wedding, a tree branch becomes a hand that drags him to the land of the dead. It belongs to Emily, who was murdered after eloping with her love and wants to marry Victor. Victor must get back aboveground before Victoria marries the villainous Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant).

This is a wonderfully quirky film - sort of like a Halloween-themed Romeo + Juliet. But a sweeter version! All the characters are quite eccentric making a very fun movie to watch. 

The animation reminds me a lot of Grisly Tales (that terrifying TV show that used to be on during The Den back in the 90s, remember?) With the designs adapted from rough sketches by Tim Burton, their hilariously exaggerated features make for some amusing and enjoyable characters. 

Before this film was made, the facial movements of characters in stop motion movies would have been manipulated using replaceable heads or mouths. For Corpse Bride, a new technique was practised. Puppet heads were filled with tiny gears, while miniscule keys were built to fit into the ears of a character or the back of its head. By inserting and twisting these, an animator could change the character’s expression. Emily (the corpse bride)’s veil proved the most difficult item to animate. While it was computer-animated in some scenes, many other scenes required some good, old fashioned stop motion technique! The difficulty relied in the fact the veil needed to be transparent and very fluid as she walked. The issue was resolved after months of research, a transparent veil was fashioned with nearly-invisible wires stitched into the fabric by the crew. This was the first stop motion to be shot digitally. 

Johnny Depp, Helena Bohem Carter and Tim Burton were among those who were working on the production of Corpse Bride, at the same time that Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’s production was underway. This was quite challenging for Tim Burton, given that he directed both films. The directing of Corpse Bride was shared with Co-Director and Stop Motion Animator, Mike Johnson. Johnny Depp, Helena Bohem Carter and Christopher Lee worked on the live action portrayal of their characters in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by day, while recording the voices for Corpse Bride by night. – Hectic schedule!! Danny Elfman also worked on the scores for both these films simultaneously.

 Many one-liners are to be expected, as well as some touching moments and a few twists in there too! It’s all such a lively affair. 

Final Rating: 4/5 Stars