Monday, November 14, 2005

Corpse Bride

In France, this film's name is Les Noces Funèbres which means roughly "The Funereal Wedding." That, however, is neither here nor there, because I saw the movie in London, where it goes by the name Corpse Bride.

Tim Burton is clearly fascinated by all things gothic. Including his latest work, two of his films take place in a sort of vague eighteenth to nineteenth century time period and all of them - regardless of their plots' temporal contexts - bear a certain old-world character defined by grotesque figures, muted (or, in the case of Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands, overly bright) colors, dark crooked angles, and bizarre and marginally frightening antiheroes. In some of his films (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands), this passion of his works to his advantage, creating a pervasive sense of danger that is at once disquieting and endearing. It is the balance that Burton strikes between these two polar opposites that makes his films successful. When he strays too far to one extreme (Batman Returns) or the other (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), the film inevitably suffers.

Corpse Bride, thankfully, strikes this balance and strikes it well, but that doesn't mean that it's particularly good. It's certainly better than the two previous Tim Burton films, but this director can do and has done better. Although visually quite arresting - I especially enjoyed the characters' coloring, which made the living characters look far more dead than the dead ones - I found the narrative elements to be lacking. Most of the musical numbers are ill-advised and the story, being little more than a "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back" story with a "boy accidentally gets dead girl" twist thrown in somewhere in the middle, is rather formulaic.

All in all, however, I take Corpse Bride as encouragement that Tim Burton is back on the upswing, raising the nightmares of Christmases past to happily juxtapose the grotesque with the sublime and fashion his very own Gothic Never Neverland.


Blogger FrannyD said...

so was it another childish-adult movie or a precocious children's film?

November 28, 2005 11:31 PM  

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