Why are they singing?” was the thought that entered my mind within the first minute of watching Tim Burton’s “The Corpse Bride.” It recurred every time some character began to sing, especially since none of them had extremely appealing voices.

As the movie begins, there is a deformed, robust woman with a bouncing chest and an impossibly skinny man singing in celebratory anticipation of their son’s upcoming wedding.

I was a bit distracted, wondering why this woman was bouncing so much. The film’s entertainment ended there and I would discover I had been waiting in vain.

In a film full of lively dead people and deathly boring live people, you would expect something to happen when it was described as “a tragic tale of romance, passion and a murder most foul!” However, instead, what you get is an animated attempt at a romantic comedy.

Victor, the groom, gets cold feet and consequentially bumbles through his vows. At this point, he is yelled at by the only truly creepy character in the film, the pastor. He then runs off into the woods and puts his gold ring on a stick.

This whole turn of events from the beginning of the film until Victor’s actual marriage to the dead is slow and lacking in substance.

Of course, marrying a corpse isn’t exactly what Victor had in mind for his life, especially not after he has fallen for his wife to be, Victoria.

As a result, he tries several times to run away.

During one attempted escape, he runs into a tree. This overused, clumsy act is perhaps the only intended humor that is actually funny.

There are an endless number of not-so-funny puns that poke their heads repeatedly. For example, there is a sign for a second hand shop in the land of the dead that sells hands to the handless deceased.

The whole film, however, is not a waste of $6. Trust me, see the afternoon show – it’s not worth $8.50, but there are some interesting and familiar Burtonesque appeals.

There is a recognizable angling of the camera, in addition to an interesting contrast between the black, white and gray tones of the living and the colorful, mostly blue- hued of the dead.

Also, in a familiar scene of a group of people sitting around a big, gray, stony table with a crazy stretched fireplace and green lighting, the dead come to the land of the living. This scene brings us back to the classic “Beetlejuice.” Ironically, or not, both films deal with the marriage of the dead to the living.

The over-aired words of the trailer, “can a heart still break once it’s stopped beating,” were both the climax and twist of the movie. They revealed Emily’s murderer. It turns out that he married Victoria, the love of Victor’s life. The murderer took the place of Victor because he was too busy gallivanting with dead people.

What would any good animated children’s film be without a violent sword-fork fight between two men over a woman? Victor and Lord Barkiss, as he is called, fight for too long. Finally, the genius bad guy drinks a cup of cyanide and dies.

At this point, we might assume that the end of the movie is approaching, but then we’d be wrong.

We are forced to endure yet another long-winded speech from one of the dead characters. When it is finally over, the corpse bride shatters into a bunch of tiny little butterflies – thus, ending the movie exactly where it began, with Victor and Victoria getting married.

If you are into animated romantic comedies with a little bit of a predictable plot, obvious humor, not too much of an ending and the trademark style of Tim Burton, you should go see this movie, in the afternoon.

Whitman can be reached at cwhitman@campustimes.org.



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