Corpse Bride (2005)

First it was Wallace and Gromit, and now – Corpse Bride? Wow, two claymation films in one year, better yet, released within a month? This is very nice indeed – the big studios are looking at the animation a little closer, despite Disney’s troubles and closures. I wonder if those two just happened to be finished at the same time, or it was a strategically planned release, to position new animation studios as the future entertainment sources (as opposed to lousy Disney flicks)? After all, only Dreamworks (Shrek series, Madagascar) and Pixar (anything from them is a gem, really) can release cartoons that actually make money. But enough of cynicism – it was a film from Tim Burton, it was not a typical hand-drawn or tired computer-animated product, it was unusual. And as far as I’m concerned, unusual is good. It’s memorable.

Corpse Bride follows James and The Giant Peach and Nightmare Before Christmas – in style and many themes. It’s very dark, painstakingly shot frame by frame, does feature songs (unlike W&G), and it’s aimed at kids, despite its subject matter. W&G had plenty of grown-up references and humour in it – which is why the theater was roaring with laughter – adult laughter, and that can be a bad thing for a cartoon. If kids don’t get a grown-up joke, they won’t tell everyone in their class to come see it next weekend. Whereas adults are too busy promoting serious films to their friends, rather than “that odd toon I saw with my kids yesterday”. Which is a shame, really – because Corpse Bride is very, very entertaining. It’s just not going to get the word-of-mouth it deserves.
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