This movie was delightful. This is the kind of story that stop-motion animation was meant for. I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have, though, and I don't think that's the movie's fault. I think all my years of debating fictional romances and overanalyzing made me think way to much about how the marriage plot was going to be resolved. Then again, I think it's Burton's intention to make the Corpse Bride a sympathetic character and to therefore make it a bit ambiguous as to who we're supposed to root for.
I loved the look of the movie. I loved that the World of the Living is painted in very drab colors - blacks, grays, browns, whites - and that the World of the Dead is very vibrant and colorful, like a tropical getaway. It would be easy to associate this film with Burton's other stop-motion hit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I think it's a lot more reminiscent of what I think might be his masterpiece (at least visually), Sleepy Hollow. There are a lot of little details in Corpse Bride that filled me with geekish glee. Most notably the scene where Victor sits down to play a piano with a brand name of "Harryhausen" (20 extra geek points if you know why that's so cool). Also, the Bride's veil is just about the most remarkable bit of animation in the movie. I could watch it for hours, like that plastic bag in American Beauty.
The story was a bit predictable, and I guessed the little plot twist very early on. But it's charming nonetheless. The best part of the movie, I think, is the last 20 minutes or so when the Dead walk among the Living. It's horrifying at first for the Living characters until they start to recognize their dearly departed loved ones among the Dead. And Pastor Galswells trying to fend off the Dead from the church is perhaps the funniest thing in the movie.
There's LOTS of great voice talent in the movie. Besides Depp and Bonham-Carter, there's Emily Watson, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Richard E. Grant, Tracey Ullman, Albert Finney, and the amazing Jane Horrocks.
This is, as you may have surmised from the advertising, a characteristic Tim Burton movie, in the manner of Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. There's a real sense of play and humor amid all the gothic imagery that is so uniquely his. Not everyone likes these kinds of movies, and I confess that I sometimes have a problem with the afterlife elements. But for those who love his movies and have a semi-morbid sense of humor, Corpse Bride is a real jewel.