Matthew Loriso
Staff Writer

As the spiritual successor to Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride” has garnered quite a bit of excitement.
“Nightmare” was a groundbreaking movie and has proven to be a holiday classic. Unfortunately for Burton fans looking for the next big hit, “Corpse Bride” is more of a mixed bag.

The movie definitely has a lot going for it. For one, the story is solid enough: Victor Van Dort, voiced by Johnny Depp, is nervous about his arranged wedding to Victoria Everglot. The night before the ceremony, Victor wanders into the woods. Through a series of mishaps, he accidentally ends up marrying a corpse.

This, of course, leaves Victor troubled, not only because his new wife is an animate corpse, but also because of his feelings for Victoria. It is a love triangle at its most morbid.

The story is also complemented by excellent writing. The frequent jokes and gags will keep the audience chuckling.

Also, the characters and world are well imagined. The main characters, Victor and the Corpse Bride, are interesting and complex enough to focus the story around.

The supporting cast had its highlights as well. Characters like Bonejangles, the singing and dancing skeleton, and Pastor Galswells were fun to watch. More so, even, than many of the fan favorites from “Nightmare.” It is just a shame that more was not done with them.

The soundtrack is also worthy of mention. Famed composer Danny Elfman created wholly original songs that fit the overall mood of the movie quite well.

The song and dance numbers were especially well done. Audience members will likely leave the theater humming some of the tunes. It is safe to say that “Corpse Bride” contains one of Elfman’s best works in recent years.

However, despite everything that “Corpse Bride” did right, it is hard to ignore its flaws.

The most prevalent shortcoming of the film is its short length. At just 76 minutes, the story did not feel fully fleshed out (pun intended).
Unfortunately, the movie seemed to end just as the audience has started to warm up to the characters.

Perhaps some side plots would have been in order. They would have extended the length of the movie as well as showcased some of the better sides of the characters.

Anyone interested in the movie should not be put off by these problems, though. “Corpse Bride” is still an excellent film that anyone can enjoy. It is just not the classic that it could have been.

Matthew Loriso can be reached at mloriso@ulv.edu.

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Posted September 30, 2005