8 out of 10
Visually stunning, the newest stop motion animated film by Tim Burton is a wonderfully crafted tale of love and marriage. Young and shy Victor Van Dort is sent off to practice his wedding vows in preparation for his marriage to the beautiful and wealthy Victoria Everglot. While reciting, he accidentally finds himself betrothed to Emily the Corpse Bride, who's finger he has mistaken for a twig. Calamity ensues as he is transported to the underworld, leaving his beloved Victoria behind.
Set in a 19th century European village, the sets, character design and animation are impressive and the performances superb. The dramatic black and white landscapes and costumes of the town and the lively technicolour underworld are masterfully wrought and the animation seamless.
The film includes a delightful mix of odd characters voiced by a stellar cast. Helena Bonham Carter, gives an excellent performance as the Corpse Bride, while Emily Watson and Johnny Depp are wonderful as the innocent Victoria and awkward Victor. Albert Finney and Joanna Lumley play Victor's in-laws, the Everglots, and Christopher Lee is brilliant as Pastor Galswells, the grouchy local vicar.
In the usual Tim Burton style, the characters are humourous, clever and melancholic, and the story intriguing, sweet and poigniant. The screenplay, written by John August (Big Fish, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory), is touching and original, particularly in exploring the relationship between the villagers and the dead, and the complex romance between Victor and the Corpse Bride. In the final scenes of Victor's wedding, as the dead come to attend and are reunited with their relatives in the town, we find out something of Emily's past and that the dead can still be capable of love.
While not as lengthy nor well developed, as Burton's previous films, such as Edward Scissorhands or Nightmare Before Christmas, the Corpse Bride loses none of it's magic and charm. It is a true classic which promises to please audiences both young and old.
Film Critic: Jenny M Lillies