“Corpse Bride” is a 2005 stop motion film directed by Tim Burton, in company with his earlier film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” With a solid IMDb rating of 7.3/10 stars, “Corpse Bride” is a spooky family Halloween movie which holds elements for all ages, and nostalgia for many.
The audience follows Victor van Dort, voiced by Johnny Depp, as the character nervously navigates an arranged marriage with Victoria Everglot, voiced by Emily Watson, who holds out hope for true love. A turn of events brings him to accidentally marry the strangely lovely, yet eccentric corpse bride Emily, voiced by Helena Bonham Carter, who takes him to the underworld.
Navigating the two worlds of the living and the dead, alongside his feelings towards both of these women, Victor grows in confidence and learns how to live more fully after his run-in with the dead.
Eoin O’Grady, a senior business major at the University of Dallas, described the main theme as: “Don’t be afraid of death, everyone dies. That’s the big point of it: everyone dies, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.”
This theme pervades the film. In a musical number hosted between Emily, a maggot, and a spider, the latter sings about life, ‘Everybody knows that’s just a temporary state / Which is cured very quickly when we meet our fate.’
O’Grady also celebrated the form of stop-motion, an especially apt choice for spooky Halloween movies. “Stop-motion, I think it’s a really unique art form that really should be explored more.”
Stop-motion is often utilized to make a film exist within the uncanny valley between physicality and animation, either for horror or comedic effect. The stop-motion animation in “Corpse Bride” is an accomplishment on both fronts.
Despite its child-like charm, the stranger elements of the underworld and glaring stiffness of the living strike a memorable chord. From a friendly, bug-infested head to Emily’s rotting design, the undercurrent of spookiness pervades the film through its unique medium and design.
The medium also hammers home more of the themes of death in life, and life after death.
Throughout the film, the living are shown in monochrome grays and whites, their characters stiff and set in routine. Meanwhile, the dead are colored in bright blues, greens and purples, ironically lively in both their various forms and gatherings.
Thus, “Corpse Bride” remains a great family movie for the Halloween season. With strong themes, a unique medium and great voice acting, it sets a calm yet spooky tone for the upcoming holiday. The film reminds viewers, just as Halloween does, that death is on its way, and one must not act dead before its arrival.
Emely Gonzalez, a freshman majoring in pre-nursing biology, encouraged people, “Halloween is a time to have fun, go out, watch movies with your friends [and] go trick-or-treating.”
“Corpse Bride” is a perfect film to set the tone for Halloween. The movie and holiday gently remind one of the inevitable coming of death — which does not need to be a source of fear.