Plug of the Month: The Corpse Bride

Because what’s Halloween without a spooky movie?

I’ve had a heck of a hard time finding something for my Pluggadamunt. Finding something Halloween-themed that I loved and could write about with a reasonable word count was more difficult than I anticipated. But I persevered, and now you get to read all about a great movie, Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride.

If you know Tim Burton and you love Tim Burton, then I don’t really have to convince you that this is a great movie. If you’re not familiar with his movies or you’re not the biggest fan, cool your heels, and let’s see if we can’t convert you, at least for this movie. We’ll start with the trailer:

Interested yet? I would guess not, because the trailer is very vague. The premise of the movie is that Victor, the quiet and awkward son of nouveau riche fish merchants, is arranged to marry Victoria (who comes up with these names?), the daughter of aristocratic parents who are secretly completely out of money. Inserted cliched anxiety about arranged marriages. At the wedding rehearsal, Victor has an awkwardly panicked moment and runs off to the woods, where he practices his vows on a tree branch. Surprise! The tree branch is actually a dead woman wearing a wedding dress (Emily), who is super excited about her new husband.

While at first the movie appears to be a spooky take on a classic storyline (Man’s current relationship jeopardized/changed by introduction of new woman), the spooky bits and the details end up completely taking over, in the best ways.

Victoria falls in love with Victor because he’s a quite, reserved, kind of awkward fellow, not because he magically becomes brave and super hunky at some point in the movie. In fact, a confident, attractive, broad-shouldered individual does come along during the movie, and Victoria is having none of it. She’s all about those small-framed softies. And Victor loves Victoria because she is who she is. It’s a really great example of two people loving each other for who they are, not learning to love each other despite character flaws or changing themselves to be loved.

Emily, however doesn’t love Victor (at least she never says or implies so, though she is very kind to him), she really just wants to be married. Killed on the night of her secret elopement, marriage has become the driving force of her afterlife. Victor’s role is less to be a love interest for Emily and more to help her overcome her issues, which is a beautiful change from the typical, new-woman-enters-and-steals-man-from-current-relationship plot line (I’m looking at you, JLo).

Another things to look at is how Burton handles the world of the living and the world of the dead. Go watch the trailer again. Did you see it? No? That’s okay, I had to watch the movie a couple of times before I noticed. The world of the living is done almost exclusively in drab hues, excepting Victor’s butterfly. Everything, including the people, are all in shades of grey and brown. The dead world, however, is full of color and loud people and laughter and parties (there are some seriously funny dead people in this movie). There’s a secret profundity in this movie that questions what it really means to be alive.

If nothing else, Victor’s and Victoria’s parents are kind of hilarious foils for them. You see Victoria’s parents in the trailer, and the dislike they have for each other is palpable. It makes you wonder (at least it makes me wonder) how they talk to each other in private, if at all. Victor’s parents are a whole different story. His mother is a very loud woman who clearly enjoys her new wealth, traipsing about with a freaky fox stole on her ample bosom. Victor’s father is a classic flirtatious old man rocking a handlebar mustache.

If you’re not big on scary movies, this is a great choice for the season. I will even argue it’s a good family movie, because the darker parts aren’t really all that dark and handles death in a way that I think wouldn’t distress children in the slightest. If I’ve convinced you to give this movie, please come back and let me know what you thought, even if you hated it! I’d love to know what your opinion is. 🙂

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