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Not Burton's best, but 'Corpse' is good and creepy

September 27, 2005|By ANA JANTZ and ROWAN COPLEY

The stop-action animated film "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" is loosely based on an old German fairy tale in which a shy young man is engaged but accidentally marries someone else - a dead woman. Part of the movie is set in the land of the living and part in the land of the dead.

Rowan: I was disappointed with the movie. It was short, unfortunately predictable (especially if you know Tim Burton), low on story and, worst of all, a musical.

Ana: "Corpse Bride" is definitely not as good as "Edward Scissorhands" or even "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," but I really enjoyed it. I think if you enjoyed Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," you will enjoy this film, too. While it's not Burton's best work, it is definitely an improvement over this past summer's weak selection of movie remakes.

Rowan: The movie did have its high points.

Ana: Like the animation style.

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Rowan: Most of the visual elements of this film are really good-looking - very stylized and unique.

Ana: Yes, and it looked as if the whole town of the dead had fallen ill - very sickly looking. The corpse bride had an interesting look, too. Animators did a very good job making her disgusting and beautiful at the same time. Well, as beautiful as a corpse could be.

Rowan: I did enjoy the intro to the weird town - a butterfly-guided tour of the village, passing sullen butchers on the street, a town crier, little caricatures of businessmen. But all the characters (except for the three main ones) are presented as caricatures, archetypes. I was just disappointed that after the intro, it started becoming more predictable.

The townspeople were actually kind of creepy.

Ana: Definitely not for little kids.

I loved the various undead creatures. There was really a lot of imagination in their creation, even if they were a bit grotesque.

Rowan: There was an obvious contrast between the dead and the living - the living people were dour, bleak and proper, the crazy, dead, colorful night dwellers tell stories of death and love in gutteral tones. The best parts were when the movie was sweet and innocent, like when the young man and Victoria, his fianc, meet. Or, for that matter, any time there was a piano involved.

Ana: I think that the cute storyline in this movie was intended to contrast with the dark visual imagery of the characters.

Rowan: The movie is really pretty and well-made, with evocative cinematography.

Ana: I thought Danny Elfman's music was a wonderful addition, though I am glad they didn't overdo it. Yes, I was disappointed a bit with the ending, but it did have that "good moral lesson" at the end.

Rowan: The thing with Burton is, I think he could make a nicely dark and even revolutionary movie, in the whole semi-Gothic style he likes, but he has to get caught up in what most moviegoers want.

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