Tim Burton’s background is in animation, and his A Nightmare Before Christmas is arguably one of the best things he’s done. (He didn’t direct it, but wrote and created it.) Now he returns to the genre with Corpse Bride, a macabre tale of a Victorian-era groom-to-be, appropriately named Vincent (voiced by Johnny Depp), and his accidental marriage to Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), a corpse. It’s a dark and twisted story, but in the end, it works well because of the characters.
The animation is quite good – co-director Mike Johnson, who worked on the cool-yet-cancelled Eddie Murphy animated show “The PJs”, gets the action going pretty quickly, and the 77-minute long feature doesn’t feel too short, or too long. It’s just right. Visually engaging, the drab low-colored “living world” feels less lively than the colorful land of the dead – a wry joke that does not go unnoticed.
The music by Danny Elfman is great – at least, the score is. The songs (and there are only about four of them) are closer in style to what he did earlier this summer with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but not as inventive. At least, not at first listen. But his best songs are definitely in A Nightmare Before Christmas, so that’s what I’d suggest.
You can’t really compare the two films – they’re both different. But, they both contain Burton’s dark brand of humor and visual style. (If you haven’t seen his online animated “Stainboy” series, it’s worth a look-see.) When it opens nationwide next week, I highly recommend Corpse Bride if you’re looking for a nice twisted tale.