The Corpse Bride
Director Tim Burton comes up with another stop motion dark fairy tale. I still cannot decide if I liked this better than The Nightmare Before Christmasor not. Overall though I liked it alot and would watch it again and given the quality of the DVD extras, I might even buy it, though I did get it through netflix.
It is not as much as a musical as the NBC, but it still has a few songs. Where NBC had too many songs, but a few good ones, this movie had one decent song and alot of songs that were clearly phoned in by Danny Elfman. Once, maybe a decade or two ago, I liked seeing his name on credits for movies. His scores for the batman movies and the PeeWee Herman movies as well as the Simpsons theme song were excellent and refreshing. However, lately he is merely parodying himself, with once inventive scores and music sounding very repetitve and derivative. You can sing along with most of the songs from the Corpse Bride with the lyrics from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Check out some of his early music, especially the short song for the animated short, Face like Frog. Compare it to the generified music now, Bah...
The same may be said for Tim Burton, the Corpse Bride character is essentially the same "actress" as the female hero in tNBC. While the Victor character is the same "actor" as in the short film Vincent. The stop motion animation is spectacular, but maybe is not quite enough anymore. Voice actors were great, the style was great, but the whole movie is a bit lacking. I enjoyed it, but it did not blow me away like Edward Scissorhands did the first time I saw it long ago. I felt the same dissapointment seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish. Maybe the Tim Burton magic is faded a bit. I probably enjoyed Wallace and Grommit, Curse of the Were Rabbit much more than this one.
The DVD however has excellent features. The behind the scenes on the puppetmaker studio is excellent. The mechanics underlying these foot tall "actors" is pretty amazing, including elaborate screw driven facial expressions and nice hacks to get the characters to walk and fly. Same with the character studies going from sketches to wire skeleton motion studies to initial character movement to the final finish. Very well done. The voice cast is impressive and they do a nice job with twin shots showing the actors in front of the microphone with the final movie shots next to it.
Bottom line, this is a must see for Tim Burton fans and people who loved Nightmare before Christmas. The special features for the DVD made it well worth it for me. The story was a bit flat, but still a pleasant diversion. Tim is slipping but is still capable of interesting movies.