Young Victor Van Dort is shy, bumbling and about to be married off for a big fat dowry. Victoria Everglott, pretty and wide-eyed wife-to-be, is being married for the self-same reason by her equally penniless parents. At the rehearsal Victor louses up his lines. Practising them in a creepy wood he inconveniently finds himself married to a corpse when he slips the ring onto a twig that isn’t a twig. Whooshed off into the land of the dead, what’s Victor to do? Winsome corpse bride Emily wants him to stay, but at what price? And who’ll now keep Victoria from the clutches of the oily Barkis Bittern?
Corpse Bride is a one-note idea festooned with lashings of imagination. The living world is grey and loveless, the land of the dead is jolly and colourful. And Emily is smart and pretty even when her eye pops out to reveal a talking maggot, or her leg drops off during a dance. This time, the music from Burton-regular Danny Elfman is spot-on and used to great and poignant effect, particularly Emily’s song, and her piano duet with Victor. The Night of the Living Dead unearthing of the corpse bride is brilliantly done (a potential bed wetter for the very young).
No Tim Burton fairytale is every wholly ‘happy ever after’. If Nightmare Before Christmas was a ghoulishly feel-good kiddie film, Corpse Bride is its more worldy-wise elder sister. Fun, though.