screenplay by John August and Pamela Pettler and Caroline Thompson
directed by Tim Burton & Mike Johnson
by Walter Chaw A self-contained, melancholic, dulcet little ode to love and sacrifice, Tim Burton's stop-motion Corpse Bride is also a sly stab at class systems, a knowing tribute to both the Hammer horror run and the Universal monster tradition, and another of Burton's evocations of German Expressionism. As fairy tale, it rivals his Edward Scissorhands, as underworld fantasia, his Beetlejuice, and as classic studio-bound horror, his Sleepy Hollow--in many ways, in fact, Burton's return to the stop-motion of his breakthrough short Vincent (and his co-produced The Nightmare Before Christmas) feels like a figurative homecoming to the technique that suits him best. William Blake described an "infernal method" in his theory of creation wherein the artist touched every page of every print of his work to infuse it, ineffably, with the hand of its creator, and so stop-motion, with every movement manipulated painstakingly by the human hand, is infused with a Romanticist's idea of (possibly Satanic) vigor. It's animation that gives the term its "soul"--there's something vital about Corpse Bride that has nothing to do with its story, and watching it, you come to the realization that the reason so much of Burton's work feels airless or dated (or that his stars are so perverse) is that his way with puppets translates only uneasily to his way with actors.