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We love Corpse Bride

Updated on June 25, 2011

A Grave Misunderstanding...

Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot have never met, and they are about to be married. That is, if poor Victor can learn to say his vows correctly.

After being reprimanded by the pastor and glared down by his future in-laws, Victor flees to a graveyard where he practices his vows. In the process, he accidentally marries a corpse and gets transported to the land of the dead. Oops.

Victor is at first desperate to return to his true bride. Then he realizes that his new wife is actually rather charming, despite the fact that she's a decomposing corpse. Will Victor stay in the land of the dead with Emily, or will he return to Victoria?

What Makes Corpse Bride a Great Movie?

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (Widescreen Edition)
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (Widescreen Edition)

I think what I love most about this film is the overall "mood" or "feel." I like how they were able to create a slightly creepy Victorian world. I like how they used color to create a contrast between the world of the living and the world of the dead. And perhaps most importantly, the main characters were very likable.

 

Corpse Bride Trailer

Victor Van Dort

Voiced by Johhny Depp

Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) has the frightened, harassed look of someone who just can't get a break. He is a painfully shy young man, though he also has talents: He can draw, and he can play the piano.

Victor is betrothed to Miss Victoria Everglot, a woman he has never met before. He is understandably nervous about the whole thing, but things just get worse when he accidentally marries a corpse instead. Well, this day certainly didn't go according to plan!

Victoria Everglot

Voiced by Emily Watson

Miss Everglot (Emily Watson) is a reserved but sweet young lady, which is surprising: Her snobby parents are nothing like her. One might think that Victoria is a delicate thing prone to fainting fits, but she isn't. She has spirit.

The Everglots come from old money, but they are now destitute. To maintain the lifestyle they're used to, they arrange for their daughter to marry Victor Van Dort. Victoria's parents have no fondness for the nouveau riche Van Dorts, but money is money.

Fortunately, Victor seems a nice enough fellow. Unfortunately, there's this dreadful mix-up concerning a corpse bride...

Isn't Someone Missing?

This music video was made by a Victor/Victoria fan who was rather dismayed by the huge number of fan fiction stories promoting the Victor/Emily relationship. Alas, it seems that the reserved Victoria can't quite measure up to Emily's vivacious personality.

Emily, the Corpse Bride

Voiced by Helena Bonham Carter

Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) is a romantic, passionate, and beautiful bride. There's just one problem: She's dead. She thought she was going to get married and live happily ever after. Instead, she was murdered.

Then, along comes Victor Van Dort who's practicing his vows. Mistaking Emily's skeleton arm for a tree branch, he slips the ring on her finger and marries her.

Emily is ecstatic to be married at last, even though her new husband seems to run away a lot.

The Love Triangle

Although Corpse Bride is a story about a love triangle, it's done in such a way that you can sympathize with all the characters involved. But when the screenplay was being written, there had to be changes along the way to keep it that way.

For example, while Emily might be dead, she turns out to be quite charming. Even though Victor and Victoria hit it off in the beginning, Emily and Victor have a spark too. In fact, Emily overshadows Victoria in some ways.

The crew who worked on the story realized that Victoria needed to play a bigger role than was originally planned. So, she actually escapes from her family to ask the Pastor for help. Then her parents decide Victoria ought to marry Lord Barkis instead, a man who reeks of evil. Her situation becomes desperate.

You want all three characters to find happiness in the end, but you know there won't be a perfect fairy tale ending. You can read more about this at John August's blog. Warning: Spoilers await.

Victor and Emily's Piano Duet

Showdown!

Who was a better match for Victor: Emily or Victoria?

Stop Motion and Puppetry

Like Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, this movie is all stop motion. All the sets you see in Corpse Bride are real; there were no CGI shortcuts.

Tim Burton worked with a Manchester puppet company that had developed new puppet technology. The 12 inch tall Corpse Bride puppets had flexible latex skin and solid metal skeletons. They also had clockwork just inside their heads. You could change a facial expression just by turning an Allen wrench in one of their ears.

Although the stop motion animation is just about flawless in Corpse Bride, it lends a very surreal quality to the film. The medium suits the story.

Corpse Bride Soundtrack

Corpse Bride
Corpse Bride

Although the songs weren't my favorite part of the movie, the instrumental music in Corpse Bride was wonderful-- especially the piano pieces. Danny Elfman may have suffered from burnout by producing music for both Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but he did pretty well.

 

Who is your favorite character?

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Corpse Bride Avatars

Looking for Corpse Bride avatars to use on forums or MySpace? Here are a few links to sites that offer Corpse bride avatars. f

Want to proclaim your love of Corpse Bride to the world? Want to talk about a favorite character that wasn't listed on the poll? Got any ideas to make this Corpse Bride lens even better? Express yourself here.

Do You Love Corpse Bride?

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    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 6 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      My kids introduced me to this film and its always shown in our house at Halloween now. I'm a big fan of Depp/Burton/Bonham-Carter.

    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 9 years ago

      I love Tim Burton's work.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      What a concept - and so full of metaphors! 5*s