Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

A Very Gothic Romance.

For no apparent reason, I really like Tim Burton. While he'll probably never hit the highs of Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood again, I still look forward to each of his films with anticipation.

And, yes, I did suffer through Planet of the Apes.

I thought that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had no real point to exist, but it wasn't a bad movie. Corpse Bride looked really good on the horizon, a return to more classical Burton.

And for the most part, it does seem a return to form. The German Expressionist set design, a more subdued Johnny Depp, the Goth kid in a candy store feel to the whole production. The film's wonderful opening song maybe set my expectations a little too high. For a moment it makes you think this might live up to Nightmare Before Christmas, but only for a moment. Quickly what we get is a fairly plain, predictable story with gorgeous set dressing. Through a series of misunderstandings, Vincent is pulled away from his budding romance with his betrothed. Quickly Vincent gets accidentally married to the Corpse Bride, and he is pulled into the underworld. Somewhere in the really awful exposition song in a skeleton bar, I drifted away. The movie meanders with no discernible point for most of this second act, though it does manage to pull itself back together for a solid finale. Somehow Burton manages a stirringly beautiful final image.

While the story really has little to recommend it, I still would urge people to go out for it. The artistry of the puppet design, and beauty of the sets, and some really fine camera work make the film a great piece of visual art, even if it falls short of great drama. And over some of the more glossy CG spectacles with little else to offer is the tactile beauty of a dying art. Practical animation, puppets, clay or even hand drawn cells, are dying out. I am a huge fan of Pixar, but I really would hope that there is still a place for this sort of art in the movies.

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