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</script></div>{/googleAds}Tim Burton's Corpse Bride marks the second collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton released this year, and boy did we get a treat with each one. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a great big, delicious concoction that satisfied both children and adults alike. However, with Corpse Bride, Burton has chosen to deliver something even more ambitious, and arguably, more soulful.

With 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Burton paired with director Henry Selick to deliver a true animation classic. Nightmare breathed new life into the stop-motion art form while simultaneously amping it up to the next level. Composer Danny Elfman's haunting score and snazzy songs made it a truly memorable film that has only grown in esteem over the years. For some, it is still the pinnacle of Burton's career.

I have no trouble going out on a limb and proclaiming Tim Burton's Corpse Bride even better than The Nightmare before Christmas. Yes, you heard right... even better. How, you ask? How in blue-blazes can you top that film? Well, far starters... you get the same things right the second time around that you did the first. Corpse Bride delivers stellar voice work (primarily from Depp, Bonham Carter, and Christopher Lee), fantastic songs (from Elfman again), and primo animation that looks as good, or better, than that of Nightmare. Burton has taken that mix and added a more gothic look, more wonderfully realized characters, and a much tighter script this time around (Come on, where the hell did Oogie Boogie come from in the first flick anyways, and what did he want??)

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (that's the full title, after all) finds Burton delving much Depper... whoops, I meant deeper, into his creative pool to give us something with a much more engulfing vision. If you're a Burton fan, you're going to be in hog heaven. The look and feel are all the visions that you've come to know from the man, and Johnny and Tim always seems to click on all cylinders when together. What truly elevates Corpse Bride above Nightmare is the surprisingly romantic nature of the film. While Nightmare, as good as it was, seemed to treat Jack Skellington and Sally's romance as an afterthought, this is a love story in every sense of the word; and it truly achieves greatness in this regard. Instead of playing the whole thing for cheap sight gags and jokes, Burton draws real power from the story of a young man who accidentally weds a murdered bride (Bonham Carter). We feel Victor's (Depp) struggle between knowing who he truly loves, and being invariably drawn to this darker, and arguably more luminous, creature. The dead never looked so good.

The songs (yes, like Nightmare, it's a musical) start off a bit slow with an oddly timed duet from Victor's conniving parents, but then take off soon enough with some bizarrely creative (and jazzy) tunes, one of which is sung by Elfman himself (you go, Bone Daddy!) In fact, it is only the slight misstep at the beginning, and the unfortunately short running time, that keep me from giving this a five-star rating. It may never become a classic with the general public the way Nightmare did (can you really have two, after all?) but for my money it's something just a bit greater.

Perhaps I'm a romantic, or perhaps I just like the way the individual elements mixed together more this time around. Regardless, Burton has done it again and fans of his work will be dying to revisit this film again and again.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; French: DTS 5.1 Surround; Spanish: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; featurette; cast and crew information; cast and crew interview.

* Featurettes
o Inside the Two Worlds - overview of the film
o Danny Elfman Interprets the Two Worlds - looks at Elfman's work on the film
o Tim Burton: Dark vs. Light - Discusses Tim Burton as a director
o Voices From the Underworld - Examines voice actors and their work.
o The Voices Behind the Voice - split-screen view of the actors delivering their lines and the finished sequence.
o The Animators: Breath of Life - Looks at the intense labor involved with stop-motion animation.
o Making Puppets Tick - Looks at the intense labor involved with stop-motion animation.
* Galleries - 13-minutes of pre-production galleries
* Trailer - Original theatrical trailer for Corpse Bride

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging.