I just saw Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride a couple weeks ago. Like many of Burton’s other films, Corpse Bride is a dark-humored fairy tale of sorts. Just a few things I found intriguing and fun (spoilers below):
1. The humor was clever and kept the movie light in the midst of dark themes. While it wasn’t too over the top or cheezy, all of the jokes and puns (many of which were delightfully subtle) surrounded the dead and death and life kept the otherwise dark adventure firmly in the realm of comedy.
2. Artistically, the film clearly presented the “living” people as dead while the “dead” were the ones with life. Many conservative Christian types might recoil from the “Halloween-ish” themes and pictures, but I think the story can be taken to picture what Jesus says in the gospels. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it… For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Only those who have died in Christ have life. And thus, Burton presents the real world with surprising accuracy.
3. The turning point of the movie comes when the hero decides to give his life up and marry the dead girl. And of course he must die in order to marry the dead girl. I absolutely loved the wedding scene: this is what weddings are! They are grand and joyful celebrations of two people promising to die for eachother until they are literally dead. Good stuff here.
4. Of course, the hero doesn’t end up dying, but his willingness to give up his life is the turning point, and only after that is the villain destroyed. The hero marries the living girl, but this is only after he has given his life up. And so the paradox is complete: only those who give their lives up receive them back. Life is the prefered existence, but it can only found by traveling the paths of the dead.
Of course people can take this stuff and do weird and pagan stuff with it, and I’m generally not a fan of all the tacky Halloween stuff that shows up in October. Some of our neighbors put on such a show and hardly a single Christmas light shows up a couple months later. Little strange, that. But Corpse Bride isn’t just a Halloween flick; and the thing that rescues it is the humor. The whole story is lighthearted with only momentary “scares.” I don’t know, but it’s kind of hard to take the skeletons seriously when they’re singing and dancing and telling jokes.
Great story, funny, clever, artistic, and thoroughly Christian. Might be a little scary for young ones, but there’s a lot of great biblical and theological points to be made from a movie like this. Check it out.
Toby, I also saw this movie for the first time – I saw it this past weekend. The only thought that I have to add is that the corpse bride was pretty good looking… if I could find a girl like that I’d marry her.