Reasons Why Corpse Bride wasn’t as good as The Nightmare Before Christmas…

I’m not sure if this is a review or more of an opinion piece, or maybe a little of both.

This was originally posted September 30, 2005.

Commentary in (italics)


Well, for starters NBX had Jack. (duh)

But let us break this down a little here, so you can see where I’m coming from.

Corpse Bride was Directed by Tim Burton(with Mike Johnson) and written by John August, Pamela Pettler, and Caroline Thompson. What’s the point you ask? Look at how Corpse Bride was promoted and you will have your answer. Corpse Bride was promoted as being Nightmare Before Christmas part two, in a sense. Hell, they even used the “Making Christmas” song in the first trailer. To me this says “In what way can we try and cash in on the success of a movie that has a similar look to this and also involved Tim Burton?”

Now lets take a look at The Nightmare Before Christmas and who worked on that. Directed by Henry Selick and written by Tim Burton, Michael McDowell and Caroline Thompson. Notice the difference? The talented Henry Selick directed NBX, not Tim Burton like everyone thinks. In reality Tim Burton didn’t really write this movie, since it was based on a short story idea he had and character designs.

Let us move on to the music of each movie. In NBX we have Jack, a singing main character, voiced by Chris Sharandon with Danny Elfman chiming in for all parts where he sings, with many whimsical songs to carry us through the story. Add to that all songs written by Danny Elfman and you have the makings of a great soundtrack.

In Corpse Bride we have music by Danny Elfman again, but no singing main character. Instead we get Victor voiced by Johnny Depp, who I absolutely love as an actor, (my love for him has faded over the years, though I still love him in a lot of things) but does not stand up to Jack at all.

Now let’s get onto what really bugs me about Corpse Bride. The talented Henry Selick directed NBX and filmed it all in stop motion. That’s claymation if you will. This gave NBX its distinctive look and charming appeal. Corpse Bride on the other hand is animated with computer animation and they try to give it the look of stop motion. Not that it looked bad, but it was obvious it wasn’t stop motion. (Actually, I was totally wrong on this one man. Looks like they actually used Canon EOS-1D Mark II still cameras with rigged up Nikon lenses. Pretty impressive actually.)

If you are wondering, yes I did like Corpse Bride. So why do I find it necessary to write this up where it looks like all I have to say about it is how it falls short? Well, again the answer to that is how they promoted the movie, as an NBX clone of sorts. If they would have just promoted it as a new animated feature from the mind of Tim “crazy goth hands” Burton, I probably wouldn’t be writing this. Instead, they did and I am writing this. (So true, I did and still do like this movie. I was just irritated with how they promoted it)

Personally I think this movie would have benefited from having Henry Selick directed it instead of Tim Burton. He has proven himself before, why not again? (He directed Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone, and later Coraline)

I also want to mention how I love it that people look to Tim Burton as their shinning light of creativity and independence in the movie industry. Yet they fail to notice the shinning truth here, Tim Burton IS a part of Hollywood, and he DOES sell out. For fucks sake look at Planet of the Apes. (and Batman, Batman Returns, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dark Shadows, Dumbo. Jesus, that’s a lot of reboots. But whatever, if he likes doing them. Go for it.)

As Kevin Smith would say, fuck Tim Burton. (Watch “An Evening with Kevin Smith” if you don’t understand this)


I did like this movie, in fact I think I’ll watch it this weekend. I just was, and still am, irritated with the marketing. I don’t think they needed any ties to NBX to make this movie sell and I do believe it hurt the movie.

That is all.

Merry Christmas.

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