Yes, the titular Corpse Bride of Tim Burton's latest creature feature is indeed dead. She's literally coming apart at the seams, putrefying at an alarming rate, notwithstanding the heaving bosom and the prodigious cleavage. Sure, she's cute, but she has a wayward eye that pops out at inopportune moments, thanks to the talking maggot renting out space in its socket.
Not exactly marriage material, as Victor, voiced by Johnny Depp, discovers when he's dragged from the Land of the Living into the Land of the Dead and finds out that, through a rather unfortunate twist of fate, he's hitched to the moldering miss (voiced by a pouty Helena Bonham Carter). Will true love -- with a living lass (voiced by Emily Watson) -- prevail over the Corpse Bride's ferocious determination? Or will Victor end up spending the rest of his days picking up after his bride's brittle body parts?
Based on an old Russian folk tale, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" is breathtaking viewing: It's set in a 19th-century European village, shot in sumptuous shades of blacks, whites and grays, using not computerized means but older-school stop-motion animation. The film is tongue-in-cheek and wry, with kitschy musical numbers featuring singing skeletons.
But for all its charm, we can't quite figure out whom the film is intended for: Animated talking maggots does not a kiddie movie make.
-- Teresa Wiltz