Another animated toy movie by Tim Burton. Seen it a couple times.
So a bland, personality-free, impoverished, moon-faced, aristocrat girl Victoria (as in “think of England”, played by Emily Watson) is to marry a whiny, nervous fishmonger’s son Victor (played by Johnny Depp), overly managed by their awful parents.
Sidebar: Depp used to be a fun junkie, at least at a distance, but with his repetitive creepy roles, his creepy relationships with younger women, the creepy details of his Amb-r H–rd marriage… I really don’t want much more exposure to him. He’s probably not quite Future Harvey Weinstein/Phil Spector/keeping bits of girls in bottles material like Leo DiCaprio is, but he grosses me out. Terrible people can make perfectly adequate actors, but too far and I only see that.
After making ill-advised vows in a forest to what is very obviously a charred skeleton, Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) rises and takes him to a magic wonderland/horrific underworld. She’s lovely, fun, charming, only a little bit rotted and maggoty. AND he gets his dog back. Really any guy should be so lucky.
Weirdly, the surface world is Victorian era, but rendered in very close to monochrome, but the underworld is basically 1930s New Orleans, with jazz songs and brighter colors.
Victor’s a cad, a jerk, a bore, who doesn’t appreciate anything good in life, and just wants a bowl of gruel and the dullest girl produced by the dullest race on Earth. I really have no sympathy for Victoria, and I don’t think Emily should either, because she’s just so dull.
So Lord Barkis (Richard E. Grant) shows up and lurks around, vaguely someone connected but nobody bothers to figure out who he is, and there’s no other guests so you’d think they’d really focus on him. Nope. Until he turns out to be… related to Emily’s backstory. But he makes no sense. If he’s a thief & lady-killer, there’s no money to be gained from Victoria, did he just do no research? Serial killers (as opposed to spree killers) usually obsessively study their victims first.
When Victor finally does agree to die and join the hot (but grave-cold) girl, it’s out of character. Everyone in the underworld is excited, but I don’t believe it possible of him.
The dead returning to the overworld is great, that’s what the film should mostly be, instead of a short screamy parade. Girls dissolving into a swarm of moths don’t make any sense in the cosmology shown so far; you seem to stay dead and just keep rotting away down below.
Victor & Victoria are going to have a dull, miserable life, still totally owned & controlled by their parents, nothing at all has changed except she knows he cheats with dead girls.
Such cute character designs, and Emily’s great, but the plot and loser living couple all but ruin it. Danny Elfman manages to do some out-of-character music, but mostly it’s Batman/Edward Scissorhands soundtrack all over again.
★★★★☆ I guess but I’m always disappointed by it.