tek's rating:

Corpse Bride (PG)
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Caution: spoilers

Well, I certainly very much wanted and expected to like this film. After all, it was made by Tim Burton, whose work I almost always like a lot. And it's weird, which I usually like. And it's stop motion, which is cool. Plus, the movie has an excellent cast. Yep, there's not much not to like about this movie. Well, I didn't think the songs were that good. But the basic story is cool, the acting is good, and I love the look of the film. Very gloomy, gothic, seems practically black & white, at least in the world of the living.... Oddly enough, the land of the dead seems much more colorful and... well, animated. But I suppose that's rather to be expected. So anyway... I like the movie. But I find myself disappointed that I don't like it more than I do. And I really can't put my finger on why I don't. Still, make no mistake: I think it's good. (Edit: I watched the movie for the second time in 2016, and that time I liked it more than I did the first time, so much so that I raised my rating from two smileys to four smileys.)

It begins in Victorian England. A nouveau riche couple, the Van Dorts, are heading to a rehearsal of their son Victor's wedding. He's to marry Victoria Everglot, the daughter of a lord and lady who are practically bankrupt. So, both families hope to gain something out of this marriage: one wants the prestige, the other needs money. However, Victor and Victoria themselves are not happy, because they've never even met. And frankly, I don't like any of their parents or how they've raised their children, but I'd say the Everglots are far, far worse than the Van Dorts. In any event, Victor and Victoria meet, and quickly fall for each other. However, Victor can't seem to get his vows straight during the rehearsal, so Pastor Galswells sends him away to practice on his own.

Victor wanders through the woods, practicing his lines to himself, and just as he gets them right, he slips the ring on what appears to be a branch or root or something... but which actually turns out to be the skeletal hand of Emily, a woman who was to be married years ago, against her family's wishes I guess. But she was murdered. I guess. Her whole backstory was told in a song, and I couldn't make out all the lyrics. It rather sounded like she just kept waiting for her love to come for her, but it also seems like he might've shown up and killed her. I'm not sure if the song made that clear or not. Sorry. But at the end of the movie it becomes clearer. Anyway, she believes Victor has married her, now. I mean, he did say his vows and slip the ring on her finger.... Victor, naturally, is horrified, and tries to run away from her, even after he's been dragged down to the Land of the Dead.

Eventually he finds a way to return to the Land of the Living, hoping to leave Emily behind. He sees Victoria, but Emily finds them and drags him back with her. When Victoria claims to have seen Victor and his Corpse Bride, and insists he needs her help, everyone thinks she's mad. But, a stranger named Lord Barkis proposes marriage, as it appears that Victor has run off with another woman. Her parents accept, because they want his money, since they won't be getting any of the Van Dorts'. Victoria isn't happy about this, but she has no choice. And when an employee of the Van Dorts dies and goes to the Land of the Dead, he tells Victor that Victoria is marrying another man. So... well, he's been getting to know Emily a bit better, and developed some feelings for her, and decides to stay with her.

Unfortunately, it seems that whole "til death do you part" thing is a bit of a sticky wicket, so... he and Emily will have to have a proper ceremony in the Land of the Living, and Victor will have to drink some poisoned wine or whatever, so he can die, and the marriage will then be proper and binding. He's willing to do this, so everyone from the Land of the Dead goes up there for the wedding. And... well, there's more drama, with all the chaos of the dead walking on the Earth, plus Barkis' evil plans, and um.... whatnot. So... who will Victor end up marrying, Victoria or Emily? Good question. Hard to guess, really, at least I thought so. I mean, in a movie like this, it's hard to gauge what exactly would constitute a happy ending. But whatever. I think everything turned out alright, but I probably would've been happy no matter which way the story went. (Edit: When I watched the movie for the second time, I kind of wished Victor, Victoria, and Emily could have tried polyamory. Oh well.)

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