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Corpse Bride

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Burton
Mike Johnson
Produced by Tim Burton
Allison Abbate
Joe Ranft
Derek Frey
Written by John August
Caroline Thompson
Pamela Pettler
Tim Burton
Starring Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Emily Watson
Tracey Ullman
Paul Whitehouse
Joanna Lumley
Albert Finney
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Pete Kozachik
Editing by Chris Lebenzon
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 23, 2005 (2005-09-23)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[citation needed]
Gross revenue $117,195,061[1]

Corpse Bride is a 2005 musical stop-motion-animation fantasy film directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton. It is set in a fictional Victorian era village in Britain. Johnny Depp led an all-star cast as the voice of Victor, while Helena Bonham Carter (for whom the project was specially created) voiced Emily, the title character.

The film was nominated in the 78th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, but was bested by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. On a technical level it was shot with a battery of Canon EOS-1D Mark II digital SLRs, rather than the 35mm film cameras used for Burton's previous stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas.[2]

Contents

Plot

In a Victorian era town, the Everglots, a family of recently bankrupt aristocrats, reluctantly agree to marry off their daughter Victoria to the timid Victor Van Dort, son of nouveaux riches fishmongers. Despite their initial uneasiness about the situation, having never before met, Victor and Victoria hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, after his clumsiness ruins their wedding rehearsal (accidentally lighting Victoria's mother's dress on fire), Victor is banished until he can learn to recite his wedding vows properly. Victor wanders deep into the forest while practicing, eventually performing a flawless mock recital. In doing so, he places his bride's wedding ring on a tree root resembling a human hand. However, it turns out it really is a hand, albeit a skeletal one, which comes to life and grabs Victor by the arm. Shortly after, Emily, the "Corpse Bride", a beautiful undead girl in a mouldy bridal gown, emerges from the ground and accepts his proposal, declaring Victor her husband.

Emily takes Victor to the Land of the Dead, where Victor learns how she was jilted, murdered and robbed while trying to elope with a mysterious stranger, and has been waiting for her true love to return ever since. Dearly wishing to return to Victoria, his own true love, Victor first attempts to flee, then tricks Emily into returning him to the Land of the Living under the pretense of introducing her to his still-living parents. Just as Victor reunites with Victoria and confesses his feelings for her, Emily discovers them and spirits Victor away back to the Land of the Dead. Feeling betrayed, Emily gets into an argument with Victor, climaxing with Victor telling her that their "marriage" was a mistake and he would never marry a girl like her. Heartbroken, Emily leaves thinking Victor only loves Victoria for being alive while she herself is not.

Victoria tries to convince her family of the danger Victor is potentially in, but her claims of the existence of a "Corpse Bride" fall on deaf ears. Instead, her parents arrange her to be married to Lord Barkis Bittern, a presumably wealthy drifter who arrived earlier during the wedding rehearsal. Victoria attempts to object to the union, but is overruled by her parents, who tell her without her marriage to Barkis, they will be forced into the streets. Unbeknownst to the others, however, Barkis intends to kill Victoria and make off with the fortune he believes she still has.

Feeling guilty for his earlier deception, Victor apologizes to Emily, and her love for him is renewed through a piano duet. Suddenly, Mayhew, the coachman of Victor's parents dies and arrives in the Land of the Dead, where he informs Victor of Victoria's engagement to Barkis; Victor is shocked and heartbroken at the news. Emily, meanwhile, learns that her marriage to Victor is not official, as the wedding vows bind them only "until death do them part", and she is already dead. To make the union valid, she and Victor must return to the Land of the Living to re-recite their vows, during which Victor must kill himself by drinking poisoned wine. Victor, believing that Victoria has moved on with her life without him, agrees to carry out the ceremony, and invites all of the dead to attend.

After Victoria and Barkis' wedding, the town erupts in panic as the dead arrive, but their fear is replaced with joy when the living residents recognize their deceased loved ones among the dead. In the midst of the chaos, Barkis is shocked to discover that the Everglots are penniless. During the ceremony at the church, Emily spots the heartbroken Victoria hiding in the crowd and realizes that Victor's death will cheat Victoria out of a happy life just like she was cheated out of hers. She calls off the ceremony before Victor drinks the poison and reunites him with Victoria. Barkis then crashes the party to reclaim Victoria, with Emily recognizing him as the man who jilted, robbed, and murdered her years ago. Victor engages Barkis in a sword fight to keep him from taking Victoria (though Barkis is the only one with a sword—Victor is armed with a toasting fork). Before Barkis can land a killing strike on the beaten Victor, Emily steps in front of him and takes the blow instead, remaining unharmed due to already being dead. Emily lividly orders him to leave, but before he does, Barkis mockingly toasts Emily for never finding true love and drinks the wine intended for Victor. However, he does not realize it is poisoned until it's too late and dies within seconds. The outraged dead, who are all beloved friends of Emily, proceed to force him back to the underworld, intent on punishing him for his crimes. Content that Victor can now live happily with Victoria and having closure with her murder, Emily finds herself at peace and ascends to the heavens in the form of hundreds of butterflies into the moon as Victor and Victoria look on.

Cast

Many actors/actresses in this film have portrayed more than one character

Origins

A similar motif has also been used by Prosper Mérimée in his story La Vénus d'Ille.[3] Instead of the corpse bride, the ancient statue of Venus figures in the story.

A similar narrative also occurs in early Islamic literature. The 10th century Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity contains an Arabic anecdote of a "prince who strays from his palace during his wedding feast and, drunk, spends the night in a cemetery, confusing a corpse with his bride.And so the bacon is fresh... The story is used as a gnostic parable of the soul's pre-existence and return from its terrestrial sojourn".[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Corpse Bride (2005) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=corpsebride.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  2. ^ http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-7886-8022 "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride "filmed" with EOS-1D Mark II's", Rob Galbraith.com, September 14, 2005
  3. ^ http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16240
  4. ^ Hamori, Andras (1971), "An Allegory from the Arabian Nights: The City of Brass", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Cambridge University Press) 34 (1): 9–19 [18] 

External links


Template:Infobox Film

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, also known as Corpse Bride, is an Academy Award-nominated 2005 stop-motion-animation fantasy film directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton. It is based loosely on a 19th century Russian-Jewish folktale version of an older Jewish story and set in a fictional Victorian era village in Britain. Johnny Depp led an all-star cast as the voice of Victor and Helena Bonham Carter (for whom the project was specially created) voiced Emily, the title character.

The movie exhibits Burton's trademark style and recurring themes (the complex interaction between light and darkness, and of being caught between two irreconcilable worlds). Life is portrayed as boring and dully gray tinted while death is more fun, as evidenced by the brighter colors and jaunty music. The movie can be particularly compared to The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton's previous stop-motion feature project and Beetlejuice, especially in the scenes depicting the underworld and its deceased denizens.

The film was nominated in the 78th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, but it lost to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Contents

Plot

The story is set in a cold, gloomy Victorian era town in Britain. A shy young man by the name of Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), son of nouveau riche fishmongers Nell (Tracey Ullman) and William Van Dort (Paul Whitehouse), is due to be wed to beautiful young Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson), daughter of corrupt, bankrupt hereditary aristocrats Maudeline, Lady Everglot (Joanna Lumley), and Finis, Lord Everglot (Albert Finney). The arranged marriage will elevate the Van Dorts to a higher level in society, while saving the Everglots from the poor house. Victor isn't too keen on the idea of an arranged marriage with a woman he's never met before until he meets the charming Victoria face-to-face. The two hit it off from the start despite their earlier misgivings. But after ruining the wedding rehearsal (and accidentally setting Victoria's mother's skirt on fire in the process), Victor is banished by Pastor Galswells (Christopher Lee) until he can learn his wedding vows properly.

Victor wanders through the forest practicing his vows, consistently blundering them. At long last he gains confidence and successfully recites them, and upon spying a tree root that resembles a human hand, places his bride's wedding ring on it. No sooner has he done so, he realizes it really is a human hand as it comes to life and grabs him by the arm. Emerging from the frozen earth is the "Corpse Bride" Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), a beautiful undead girl in a moldy, flowing wedding dress, and she declares Victor her husband.

Victor awakens after a black-out in a pub with the dead. He learns that he is in the Land of the Dead, and is told by a musical performing skeleton named Bonejangles (Danny Elfman) how Emily was jilted, murdered and robbed during her intended elopement, and has been waiting for her true love to come and claim her ever since. He flees the building, but Emily finds Victor and attempts to bond with him, giving him a wedding present of the live skeleton of his beloved and long-deceased puppy, Scraps. Dearly wishing to return to Victoria, Victor convinces the Bride and the old Elder Gutknecht (Michael Gough) to return them both temporarily to the Land of the Living via the Ukrainian Haunting Spell (the only way to return to the Land of the Dead is if either says "hopscotch") under the pretense of introducing her to his parents. Once they arrive, Victor tells Emily to stay put in the woods until he returns, and secretly reunites with Victoria. There he confesses his love for her, to which Victoria responds, relieved, that she feels the same about him. As they prepare to kiss, they are discovered by Emily; realizing the deception, Emily angrily spirits Victor back to the Land of the Dead before a helpless and terrified Victoria's eyes.

Emily feels betrayed and heartbroken by Victor's deception, and tells him so. Victor responds by saying that Victoria wasn't the "other woman" but that Emily was. He adds that they were just too different by saying that he was living and she was dead. After becoming thoroughly frustrated with Emily, he tells her that their marriage was a mistake and that he would "never marry her". Crestfallen, Emily leaves. Victor immediately regrets his words, but leaves Emily alone for the time being. Emily is horribly heartbroken, but begins to concede that maybe he and Victoria are meant for each other because they are both alive while Emily is not. Victoria, meanwhile tries to convince the pastor and her parents that Victor is in danger, but they express disbelief to her claims of a "corpse bride". Maudeline and Finis lock her in her room and plan a match with the presumably rich Lord Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant) instead. Victoria, completely absorbed and troubled by Victor's disappearance, tries to argue with her parents by telling them she doesn't love Barkis, but fails terribly. Unknown to the others, Barkis intends to kill Victoria and make off with the fortune he believes she has.

Victor apologizes to Emily for his deception, and Emily's love for him is renewed as Victor sees that Emily is a kind girl, not a monster, and they begin to get along very well. Suddenly, an old acquaintance of Victor's dies and arrives in the Land of the Dead, delivering the news of Victoria's engagement, leaving Victor distraught and heartbroken. Emily, meanwhile, learns that her marriage to Victor is not official: the marriage vows bind the couple until "death do them part" and as Emily is already dead, the marriage won't apply to them until Victor is dead as well. The only way to validate their matrimony is if they return to the Land of the Living where they must re-recite their vows, after which Victor must kill himself by drinking the "Wine of Ages", an extremely potent poison. Emily does not believe Victor would ever want to bring such a grisly fate to himself, but Victor, thinking that Victoria has moved on with her life without him, decides to make the best of his situation (and bring happiness to Emily), and agrees to carry out the ceremony.

As Victoria is married to Barkis unwillingly, the residents of the Land of the Dead busy themselves preparing for a wedding of their own, rising up to the Land of the Living, storming the town and having a chaotic marriage "celebration" on their way to the church. In the ensuing chaos, the newly-wed Lord Barkis finally learns from Victoria that she is penniless. Meanwhile, there the villagers panic when their town is invaded by the dead, until both sides suddenly recognize their loved ones and are overjoyed by the temporary reunion.

Victoria heads for the church, and arrives as Victor is in the midst of the wedding ceremony that will culminate in his death. Emily spots the heartbroken Victoria, and realizes that Victor's death, while making her happy, will cheat Victoria out of a happy life herself. Emily calls off the ceremony just as Victor is about to drink the Wine of Ages, and gives him back to Victoria. The reunion is interrupted by Lord Barkis, who reminds the crowd that Victoria is still his wife, and starts to kidnap her at sword point. Emily is shocked and horrified as she recognizes Barkis as the man who not only jilted, but murdered and robbed her long ago. A sword fight ensues between Barkis and Victor (with Victor wielding a dinner fork tossed to him by a dead cook). Barkis corners Victor and is just about to jam his sword into Victor's stomach, when Emily rushes between them and blocks the blow with her chest, saving Victor's life while leaving herself completely unscathed.

A seething Emily orders Barkis to leave. The rest of the dead, outraged at what he did to Emily, try to stop him, but they are unable to interfere since he is of the living and therefore not under their power. But before leaving, he proposes a mock-toast to Emily and drinks the wine intended for Victor. As he turns to leave, he realizes too late that the wine is poisoned and dies within seconds. Now that he is one of them, the other dead are able to avenge Emily by dragging him through a side-door to make his afterlife a torment.

Emily begins to leave. When Victor stops her to fulfill his promise, she explains that he had already kept his promise by setting her free, and that now she shall do the same for him. She hands him Victoria's ring back, and continues to walk away. She pauses as she leaves the church to toss her bouquet to Victoria. As she reaches the threshold of the church, Emily finds peace herself and her body transforms into hundreds of butterflies. Victor and Victoria rush to the threshold and look on together at the sight. Victor then looks down at his soon to be bride lovingly and puts his arm around her as the butterflies flew higher into the moon.

Cast

Many actors/actresses in this film have portrayed more than one character

Filming techniques

Corpse Bride is the first movie to be shot with still cameras.Template:Fact Previous stop-motion movies (such as Aardman Animations' Chicken Run) were shot on modified Mitchell film cameras, the same old cameras used to shoot King Kong. As confirmed by American Cinematographer (October 2005), the camera chosen for the production of Corpse Bride was Canon EOS-1D Mark II, a digital single-lens reflex camera, which also makes it the first stop-motion feature to be shot in digital. Additional work was required to develop systems to permit precise camera positioning, the mounting of Nikon optical lenses, and previewing a scene in camera.

Corpse Bride was the first stop-motion animated film to use Apple's Final Cut Pro as well. To give the film the traditional look of movie film stock, each image was processed with a color profile based on a type of film used in feature length movies.

The film was the first stop-motion animated movie to use the new "gear and paddle" technique for the maquette's heads. This new system involved the maquettes being built with a complex gear system inside of the main character's heads. The various gears were attached to external paddles. A soft skin-like material, mainly made of silicone and foam, was placed over these paddles to create the head and then painted. By adjusting the gears, done by inserting an allen wrench into small holes located on the maquette's head and in the ears, the paddles would move, therefore adjusting the facial expression of the character. This allowed for a much more smooth system of emotion change and lip-sync than the old style of replacing heads. The soft "skin" also gave the characters a much more natural look.

The puppets were made in Altrincham, near Manchester, England, by the leading puppet manufacturers Mackinnon and Saunders. They were also responsible for a major contribution to another Tim Burton film (Mars Attacks!), as well as numerous British animated series like Bob the Builder (Hit Entertainment), Andy Pandy (Cosgrove Hall) and Pingu (Hit Entertainment).

Origins

A similar motif has also been used by Prosper Mérimée in his story La Vénus d'Ille.[1] Instead of the corpse bride, the ancient statue of Venus figures in the story.

A similar narrative also occurs in early Islamic literature. The 10th century Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity contains an Arabic anecdote of a "prince who strays from his palace during his wedding feast and, drunk, spends the night in a cemetery, confusing a corpse with his bride. The story is used as a gnostic parable of the soul's pre-existence and return from its terrestrial sojourn".[2]

The allegorical theme of the two brides, one living and one dead, occurs from ancient times in Christian (especially monastic) spirituality. The first evidence comes from the fourth century. It focuses on the differing meanings of the English word "love", which come out better in Latin. Christian love, or "caritas" (hence the English "charity"), is the willful seeking for the good of the other person in all ways. "Amor", which is the main meaning of the word in modern English, concerns the emotional and passionate attraction to the other person. In the allegory, "caritas" is the living, shy, quiet bride (i.e. "Victoria"), whereas "amor" is the dead, extrovert, flagrant bride (i.e. "Emily"). The lesson is that "amor" by itself is selfish and essentially dead, and can only be redeemed by making way for (and being incorporated into) "caritas", which is the true love for the other.

A recurring image through the movie is that of a blue butterfly, ranging from a drawing Victor makes at the beginning, using a live model, to the Corpse Bride herself dissolving into mass of butterflies. This resonates with a European folktale in which a brutally murdered woman would be reborn as a butterfly.

Box office

The film debuted at #2 at the box office with $19.1 million, behind Flightplan. The film closed with a total of $53,400,000 domestically and an estimated $117,195,061 worldwide.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was written by Danny Elfman with the help of John Logan and released on September 20, 2005. It contains all of the music from the film including score music and four songs with lyrics sung by voice actors.

DVD release

The DVD was released in the US on January 31, 2006. The film has also been released in the Blu-Ray and HD DVD formats. These releases include featurettes on the shooting and production of the film, as well as an isolated score. The image of Emily on the DVD cover and a poster with the same image is mirrored. Her skeletal features in the film (her left arm, right leg, exposed ribs, etc.) are opposite to those in the image.

Miscellany

The studio intentionally emphasized the links, as some commercials for Corpse Bride were accompanied by songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas (specifically, "What's This"); also, in an issue of Disney Adventures, Emily (the title character) was compared to The Nightmare Before Christmas's Sally, despite the stark contrasts in personality between the outspoken, free-spirited Emily and the quiet, timid Sally. Corpse Bride is also considered to be the spiritual successor of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Most of the characters in the film bear a strong resemblance to the original cast of the British period drama Upstairs, Downstairs. In the "Special Features" section of the DVD, Tim Burton states that the films' setting pays tribute to the series, with the Land of the Living being the "upstairs", and the Land of the Dead being the "downstairs".

The film is dedicated to the memory of Joe Ranft.

See also

References

  1. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16240
  2. Hamori, Andras (1971), "An Allegory from the Arabian Nights: The City of Brass", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Cambridge University Press) 34 (1): 9-19 [18] 

External links








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