Corpse Bride (also known as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride) is a 2005 British-American stop-motion animated musical fantasy film directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton. Corpse Bride was Burton's first full-length stop-motion film as a director.
Victor Van Dort, the son of nouveau riche fish merchants, and Victoria Everglot, the neglected daughter of impoverished aristocrats, prepare for their arranged marriage, which will simultaneously raise the social class of Victor's parents and restore the wealth of Victoria's family (According to Plan). Although they fall in love instantly, the nervous Victor ruins their wedding rehearsal by forgetting his vows and clumsily setting Lady Everglot's dress on fire. Pastor Goswell then declares that until Victor is ready, there will be no wedding. Fleeing to the nearby forest, he practices his vows with a tree and places his wedding ring on a root. However, the root is revealed to be the finger of a dead woman named Emily, who rises from the grave claiming that she is now Victor's wife, and spirits him away to the Land of the Dead.
During his time with her, Victor learns that Emily was murdered years ago by an unnamed perpetrator, on the night of her elopement, and he stole the family jewels she had brought (Remains of the Day). After trying to run away, Emily catches up to Victor and there they are properly introduced. Emily reunites Victor with his long deceased dog, Scraps, and they bond. Desperate to return to Victoria, Victor tricks Emily into returning them to the Land of the Living by claiming he wants her to meet his parents. Emily brings Victor to see Elder Gutknecht, the kindly ruler of the underworld, who grants them temporary passage. Victor, feeling guilty for tricking Emily, asks the bride to wait in the forest. He successfully reunites with Victoria by sneaking to her bedroom window (he tried to use the door but couldn't) and confesses his wish to marry her as soon as possible. Before the pair can share a kiss, Emily discovers them and, feeling betrayed and hurt, drags Victor back to the Land of the Dead ("Tears to Shed"). Victoria quickly tries to tell her parents of Victor's situation, but neither believe her and assume he has left her. Against her will, they decide to marry her to a presumed-wealthy visitor named Lord Barkis Bittern, who appeared at the wedding rehearsal.
After reconciling with Emily, Victor learns of Victoria's impending marriage to Barkis from his family's newly deceased coachman. Upset over this news, Victor decides to marry Emily, learning that this will require him to repeat his wedding vows in the Land of the Living and drink a deadly poison in order to join her in death. The dead swiftly prepare for the ceremony and head "upstairs" ("The Wedding Song"), where the town erupts into a temporary panic upon their arrival until everyone recognizes their departed loved ones, and joyously reunite. The chaos causes a panicked Barkis to expose his own poor financial standing and his intentions to marry Victoria only for her supposed wealth, leading her to reject him.
Victoria follows everyone to Victor and Emily's wedding as Victor completes his vows and prepares to drink the poison, only for Emily to stop him when she realizes she is denying Victoria her chance to live happily with him. Just as Emily reunites Victor and Victoria, Barkis arrives to kidnap Victoria. Emily recognizes him as her previous fiancé and reveals he was also her murderer. Victor duels with Barkis to protect Victoria, and Emily intervenes to save Victor's life. Barkis mockingly toasts Emily for dying unwed and unwittingly drinks the poison that Victor nearly took, causing him to die and allowing the dead – who cannot interfere in the affairs of the living – to take retribution against him for his crimes. Emily, now freed from her torment, frees Victor of his vow to marry her and returns his ring, allowing him to marry Victoria, whom she throws her wedding bouquet to. As she steps into the moonlight, she fades away into hundreds of butterflies and flies into the sky, finding peace, as Victor and Victoria watch and embrace.
- Johnny Depp as Victor Van Dort, a timid but good natured young man who is engaged to Victoria Everglot for social and financial reasons.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Emily the Corpse Bride, a beautiful and naïve young revenant woman with a passion for music and dance.
- Emily Watson as Victoria Everglot, Victor's pretty, sweet-natured, yet timid and soft-spoken fiancée.
- Richard E. Grant as Barkis Bittern, the main antagonist; a charming yet murderous con-artist, later revealed to be Emily's former fiancé and killer.
- Michael Gough as Elder Gutknecht, an ancient and rickety skeleton who rules benevolently over the underworld.
- Joanna Lumley as Lady Maudeline Everglot, Victoria's snide and cruel mother.
- Albert Finney as Lord Finis Everglot, Victoria's cynical, grim, toad-like, and cruel father; Grandfather Everglot, Finis' deceased grandfather.
- Tracey Ullman as Mrs. Nell Van Dort, Victor's socially ambitious mother who loves but holds contempt for her son; Hildegarde, the elderly maid of the Everglot household who cares for Victoria.
- Paul Whitehouse as Mr. William Van Dort, Victor's absent-minded and tactless fish merchant father; Paul the Head Waiter, literally a severed head; Mayhew, the Van Dorts' coachman.
- Christopher Lee as Pastor Gallswells, a haughty and bad-tempered priest who is hired to conduct Victor and Victoria's marriage.
- Danny Elfman as Bonejangles, a vivacious, one-eyed, lounge singing skeleton.
- Enn Reitel as Maggot, a sarcastic, green maggot who lives inside Emily's head and acts as her conscience, parodying Hungarian-born actor Peter Lorre; Town Crier, who alerts the Van Dorts and Everglots about Victor and Emily's marriage.
- Jane Horrocks as Black Widow, an affable black widow spider seamstress; Mrs. Plum, the dead chef working at the Ball and Socket Pub.
- Deep Roy as General Bonesapart, a diminutive skeleton in a military uniform with a sword stuck in his chest. He is a parody of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- Stephen Ballantyne as Emil, the Everglots' long-suffering butler.
- According to Plan- Nell, William, Maudeline & Finis
- Remains of the Day- Bonejangles & The Dead
- Tears to Shed- Maggot, The Black Widow, Emily & Mac
- The Wedding Song- Miss. Plum, The Black Widow, Maggot, Mac, Victor & The Dead
- Open Up Your Eyes - Mac, Tempest, & Barkis
- The film is based on a 19th-century Russian-Jewish folktale, which Joe Ranft introduced to Burton while they were finishing The Nightmare Before Christmas. The film began production in November 2003, while Burton was completing Big Fish.
- The filming was done at 3 Miles Studios in London.
- During the shooting of this film, Burton and Depp were working on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. During the day Depp was Wonka, at night he was Victor. Burton had an assistant director who would take his place when he was making Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The critical reaction was generally positive. It even received an Oscar Nomination for Best Animated film but lost to Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. Coincidentally, Helena Botham Carter also starred in that movie as lead character Lady Campanula 'Totty' Tottington.
The film itself is based on a Jewish folk tale called "The Finger," both plot lines involve a bridegroom accidentally placing a ring on a finger while practicing their wedding vows.
- Official website
- Corpse Bride at IMDb
- Corpse Bride at Box Office Mojo
- Corpse Bride at Rotten Tomatoes
- Corpse Bride at Metacritic
- This is Tim Burton's only stop motion film not to be made by Disney.
- This was Depps first animated feature role and his first voice over work.