I knew I wanted to see Corpse Bride as soon as I saw the first ad for it. I knew it despite my frustration with the mixed bag that was Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (see my entry within this blog for more). I knew it despite the sexism and racism of the otherwise delectable Nightmare Before Christmas (Sally and the Oogy-Boogy Man were such disappointing stereotypes!). I knew it even had Johnny Depp not been voicing the lead, had Joanna Lumley and Tracey Ullman, and Jane Horrocks, and Christopher Lee, and Richard Grant and company not been doing the other parts (Helena Bonham Carter doesn't do much for me...sorry).
How did I know? Because the plot looked sweet yet spooky and Tim Burton's cartoon stylings rendered into puppets were gorgeous to look at (close up and far away) and Danny Elfman's music always compliments Burton's work to a T. I didn't know until just before I saw it that the film is based upon a 19th-century Russian Jewish folktale, but that made it even better for this descendent of Russian Jewish immigrants.
And the film did not disappoint. It was sweet yet spooky. The animation was gorgeous. Danny Elfman's music was wonderful. And the story was compelling.
Am I compelled to analyze? Certainly, we can praise the larger number of active female characters compared to Nightmare, even if they aren't feminist role-models: from the Sally-like Victoria (helpful and active yet not able to conceive of life without a man) to the battle-ax mothers to the determined yet neurotic Corpse Bride herself. And, after all, she was murdered, so we're clearly dealing with raising consciousness about violence against women...even if in the form of a corpse that still can't get past marriage (from murderous first betrothed to fleeing and neurotic second)...
But I'm not compelled to analyze, truth be told. Just for a few damn minutes, I was enjoying myself, seeing a film that was Well Made, Fun, and Creative. In the end, what I want to say more than anything else is WAS THAT SO HARD?? Wake up, Hollywood! Stop giving us Big Budget Crap and give us more Small Delights like Corpse Bride. I won't find myself hiding from the big screen, watching my small DVD collection over and over, or wasting so much internet space on harsh movie reviews!