Corpse Bride

(Technically the title is Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, but I hate it when movies do that. So I'm filing it under C for "Corpse".)

A visually astonishing stop-motion animated feature with a formulaic but amusing script, Corpse Bride is the story of a nervous young Victorian man (voiced by Johnny Depp) who, on the eve of his arranged wedding, practices his vows in a spooky forest and unwittingly places the wedding ring on the root-like fingers of a dead bride named Emily (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter). Now insisting that they are legally wed, the corpse bride drags her hapless groom into the netherworld. Meanwhile, his real-life bride (voiced by Emily Watson) longs for him to return, as she's since been fixed up to be married to a villainous cad.

Though the film provides some cynical commentary about dimwitted family and religious values, the story mainly serves as a clothesline for the (literally) eye-popping visuals to hang on, crisp, witty, and beautifully rendered as they are. While some of the gimmicks may be obvious (the priggish, materialistic "land of the living" is practically black and white, while the fun-loving afterlife is rich with saturated color) and the jolly dead souls reminded me a little too much of those in Burton's Beetlejuice, fans of the subgenre we'll call "gothic-cute" (Emily the Strange, et al) will undoubtedly adore Corpse Bride.

As for me, I found it entertaining, I enjoyed Danny Elfman's sporadic tunes, and I was mighty, mighty impressed by the craftsmanship of the animators and designers. (The detail is so intricate that I don't know how some of the work will even be seen, much less appreciated, on the small screen.) In short, it's a wonderful piece of animation with a passable storyline, but for those already weary of Burton's Edward Gorey-esque visual gimmickry, this film will not change your opinions.