Corpse Bride

When I was growing up, along with millions of others, I watched the Looney Tunes, the Walt Disney classics, Flintstones, Thunderbirds, Muppets and Davey and Goliath (among many other shows) on TV. As a child, Saturday morning cartoons or early morning programming here in Canada were (for better or worse) a part of my routine. These shows and movies used all sorts of different styles to tell their stories – from 2d animation to puppetry and as I look back at all those styles I found that certain styles seemed better at suspending my disbelief as a child than other styles. For example, I was totally taken in by 2d animation. Or take the Muppets, though very simple, they totally drew me into their stories. The one style that never really suited me was stop motion. For some reason it was never successful in pulling me totally into its world. I mean it was cool and everything – but it still didn’t quite work for me – and it still doesn’t quite work for me. I even remember seeing Sinbad for the first time and the skeleton fight scene – it was cool, but there was something about it which pulled me out of the story.

I’ve been animating for about 5 years, most of which has been 3d animation. I’ve recently started playing around with 2d which was a total thrill (check out my first 2d animation, a flour sack, on my site, under animation!) and so I decided to play a little bit with stop motion – to see if it gave me the same buzz as playing with a new medium like 2d… It didn’t. In fact it was almost a total turn off. Not that I couldn’t get something ‘presentable’, I mean it looked like it was believable motion, but it just didn’t do anything for me. So when I hear people raving about stop motion (or a specific stop motion film) I can’t seem to connect with them. I don’t understand the hype, even when it is very well acted and very well animated stop motion. I totally get thrilled by good 2d or 3d character animation. But stop motion… fizzzz… pop.

Recently Tim Burton’s, Corpse Bride, was released and the animation community seems to be in a bit of a dither. Lots of excitement, lots of ‘you gotta go see it’, ‘it was amazing’ and so on, but I can’t seem to connect. First, it’s stop motion – well you know by now that as an animation style it fails me. Second, it is the same artistic style as Burton’s other work “Nightmare Before Christmas”. One synopsis of Corpse Bride starts this way: “Corpse Bride carries on in the dark, romantic tradition of Tim Burton’s classic films Edward Scissorhands and the Nightmare Before Christmas.” Dark is the operative term. It’s the ‘dark’ that I don’t like at all. I actually find it repulsive. So even though it may have some cool technology to manipulate the models, even though the acting performances may be good, even though it may have amazing animation, I just don’t have any desire to see it. So there.