Though The Corpse Bride seemingly tends to fall into The Nightmare Before Christmas’ shadow, this whimsically spooky fantasy romance has become a classic for all ages and a stunning example of just how far stop-motion has come.
For the fall bride-to-be much like myself, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride may just be the movie of the season. This 2005 stop-motion classic centers around Victor Van Dort (Johnny Deep) and Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), a.k.a the Corpse Bride. The two fall into an unlikely marriage on the eve of Victor’s wedding day. As he wanders the forest practicing his vows, Victor drops his fiance’s (Victoria, played by Emily Watson) wedding band over Emily’s grave. Emily, who passed tragically on her mortal wedding day, accepts the vows and the ring and drags Victor to the underworld where she plans to spend eternity with him. The rest of the story revolves around Emily’s attempts to keep her “husband” as he attempts to return to his fiance in the mortal world.
Even for those who are not Tim Burton Fans, there is no denying that The Corpse Bride’s visuals are phenomenal and the stop-motion is mesmerizing. The musical numbers are witty, charming, and present themselves in moderation. The simultaneously off-putting and tantalizing story is a shining commentary on the historical traditions of marriage and a romantic representation of the lost art of chivalry. Through the Emily-Victor-Victoria love triangle, the main message of the film emerges: love is not chosen but found. All praise aside, the genre simply isn’t for everyone, and the story and characters do have their flaws (I mean, who doesn’t get at least a bit bothered by Emily’s “I need a man” attitude?). Flaws aside, The Corpse Bride is a must-watch for me every Halloween season, and a personal recommendation for my fellow October brides-to-be out there!