"Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion, animated feature follows the story of Victor (Johnny Depp), a young man who is whisked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious Corpse Bride, while his real bride, Victoria, waits bereft in the land of the living. Although life in the Land of the Dead proves to be a lot more colorful than his strict Victorian upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world, or the next, that can keep him away from his one true love.." http://movies.yahoo.com
NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Brentage5000 who says... "This movie was great! I also recommend Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, and Shaun of the Dead."
The movie starts with Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp), a twenty-something guy living in some monotone English village in the 1800s. He is drawing in a journal of his while his parents, William and Nell (Paul Whitehouse and Tracy Ullman), fret about his impending wedding to Victoria Everglot, daughter of the near-destitute Maudeline and Finnis (Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney). The Van Dorts get into their carriage and head across town to the Everglot Estate, with an extremely nervous Victor in tow. They get out of the carriage and head up to the front door, which opens to allow Maudeline and Finnis to see Nell attempting to clean up Victor in the traditional motherly way (you know what I mean). The two sets of parents exchange bitter remarks as they head into the parlor. They are soon joined by Lord Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant), an out of towner who apparently has a bunch of money and may or may not be related to someone from either the bride's or the groom's side of the family. While they talk in the parlor, Victor hangs out in the receiving room and plays the piano in the foyer, and it's obvious that he's really talented on it. Victoria (Emily Watson), who is upstairs getting her dress on (normal, not wedding) hears the music and comes down and sees Victor playing. She says hello and he jumps up and knocks over a vase. He picks up the vase while she hands him the flower (important), and the two start talking. Despite Victor's immense nervousness, the two have a fairly decent talk, until they are interrupted by their parents, who say that they are late for the rehearsal
At the rehearsal, things are not going well thanks to Victor's nervousness, which is irritating the priest, Pastor Galswells (Christopher Lee), to no end. The biggest problem is that Victor keeps forgetting his vows and is unable to light a certain candle, and the anger of Pastor Galswells is not helping matters. Eventually, Victor gets the candle lit and gets his vows almost right, but as he is taking out the ring, his fingers, which must have been thick with sweat, lose their grip on the ring and send it flying underneath Maudeline's dress. Victor dives to catch it, tossing the candle in the air, but as he gets the ring and gets out from underneath the dress and gets back up, the candle falls right on the dress and sets it on fire, creating utter chaos. This is the last straw for Galswells, who yells at Victor to go out and not come back until he has learned his vows properly. Victor decides to head for the forest while thinking his day can't possibly be worse, but just then, the town crier -- who seems to be pretty much omniscient -- starts crying about Victor's disastrous rehearsal. Victor collapses in misery and trudges into the forest.
In the forest, we see Victor wandering aimlessly, attempting to get his vows memorized and telling himself that it shouldn't be this hard. Eventually, he wanders into a creepy looking clearing surrounded by crows. He takes out the flower Victoria gave him, looks at it, smiles, puts it away, and starts reciting his vows flawlessly. As a joke, he takes the rings out and puts it on a twig sticking out of the ground, imagining it's Victoria's finger. He starts playing out a whole scenario, wandering up to a nearby stump (Finnis) and saying that while he appreciates the offer to call him "Dad," he must first dance with the bride. He bends over to take the hand of his bride, but his hand is suddenly seized from below. Victor yanks his hand back and crawls backward, staring in horror as a zombie wearing a wedding dress rise from the ground, declaring "You may kiss the bride." Now completely freaked, Victor gets up, runs for his life, runs into a tree, recovers, runs into the same tree, finally runs around the tree, slips on some ice, and eventually gets out of the forest and back onto the bridge. He pauses to catch his breath, turns around, and sees The Bride right behind him. She moves in and kisses him, and he promptly faints.
When Victor wakes up, he sees a bunch of literally dead faces staring down at him. He again freaks, takes a little Napoleon-like general hostage, and demands some questions -- which after being corrected by the general, General Bonesapart (Deep Roy, best known as the Oompa Loompas in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"), he changes to answers. The dead folks, led by a bandleader known as Bonejangles (Danny Elfman), proceed to tell him the story of Emily, The Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter). She was once the most beautiful girl in her village, but she fell in love with the wrong guy. Her beau pretended to want to elope with her, and told her to take as much money and jewels as she could from her parents house. Then, when he got her alone, he killed her and stole the jewels. When she woke up dead, she made a vow that she would not rest until her true love had come and freed her, which Victor now has, which means they'll be together forever.
Victor chooses this moment to bolt, but since this is the land of the dead, everything is alive and keeps pointing out where he is to her. Eventually she catches up to him at some castle overlooking town, and she stops to enjoy the view. The two sit down together, and he tries to overcome his fear, which isn't easy considering their first conversation keeps getting interrupted by a wise-cracking maggot that lives inside her skull. The conversation goes pretty well, with him asking her what her name is. She tells him that it's Emily and also gives him a wedding present, which turns out to be his old dog Scraps. They bond a little bit until she asks about his parents and finds out that they're still alive. Suddenly he gets the idea that they should still meet her, and she says that she knows just what to do.
A little while later, we see Emily and Victor heading for the chamber of the mysterious Elder Gutknecht (say it: Goot-necked), who is apparently the local shaman. They eventually find Gutknecht (Michael Gough) and ask him for a potion that will let them travel "up above." Gutknecht grabs a bunch of basic ingredient potions, throws them into a cup, lets it bubble...and then he drinks the thing himself, burps, and gets started on their order. He grabs a nearby raven, squeezes an egg out of it, and tells them that when they're ready to return, they should say "Hopscotch". They nod and he cracks the egg. A bunch of yellow-brown smoke comes out of it and covers the both of them as Scraps watches in fear.
Back above, we see Victor and Emily come out right above Emily's old grave. Emily looks around, having not seen the stars and moon for so long, and dances around the forest for a bit, eventually getting Victor to dance with her. He soon stops though, saying that he thinks she should stay and wait for him, and he'll be back soon. He takes off for the village, and Emily soon hears the maggot (posing as her conscience) saying that he doesn't trust Victor. She says that she trusts Victor despite his cold feet, and the maggot suggests that maybe she should just go check on him, and she says that she will.
Meanwhile, Victor is over at Victoria's house and is climbing into her bedroom window. She sees who it is and gets him over to the fire. He tries to tell her what's happened, but is interrupted by Emily. The two girls confront each other, and when Emily realizes what's going on, she says "Hopscotch" and her and Victor get pulled back to the underworld.
Back below, Victor is trying to explain himself to Emily, but he ends up accidentally insulting her and hurting her even worse. The two go their own way, and we see the maggot trying to cheer Emily up with the help of a black widow spider, saying that she's got a lot that Victoria doesn't -- ability to play the piano fantastically, beauty, never worry about her dying. She's too depressed to hear it just then, though. Meanwhile, Victoria is trying to convince everyone of what she's seen, but naturally they don't believe her and lock her in her room. She climbs out the window, though, and heads for the one man she believes can help her -- Pastor Galswells. Unfortunately, he just takes her right back to her house, making Maudeline and Finnis bar the windows and the doors leading out of her room. Those two later discuss the possibility of Victor coming back and decide that it may be better to give their daughter to Barkis instead. Barkis agrees to this, and the wedding is set for tomorrow morning. At the same time, we see Victor's parents squabbling in their carriage about guess-who. As they argue, their driver, Mayhew, chooses that moment to croak from smoking too much.
We next go to the bar, where we see Emily sitting at the piano and tapping out a few notes. Victor comes in and tries to talk to her, but she ignores him. She starts playing a song, then he plays the next few bars, and it becomes something of a competition. It helps them make up, though, and as soon as they do, everyone else comes in with a new arrival -- Mayhew! He and Victor talk and Victor finds out about Emily marrying Barkis. Victor runs out and thinks this over. While thinking, he hears Emily and Gutknecht talking about a loophole in the back room of the bar where the marriage contract is "'til death do you part", and since Emily is dead, Victor doesn't have to stay. The only solution is to get Victor to drink some poison-type thing, but Emily can't do that to him. Victor looks at the flower he got from Victoria, comes in, and says she doesn't have to do it -- he'll do it himself. They decide to go up top to do it, and everyone in town comes with them.
Meanwhile, we see the Everglots, the Van Dorts, and Barkis sitting around a table to a post-wedding feast. He and Victoria are now maarried. Barkis is giving some big smarmy toast when suddenly the fire goes out and the dead start appearing everywhere, creating utter chaos throughout town, and making Barkis cringe and cower under a table. Everyone but Barkis and Victoria runs out -- especially after Finnis sees his old dead father endorsing the party rather than rolling over in his grave at it, like Finnis expected -- and Barkis flips and demands his expected dowry for marrying Victoria, but Victoria tells him that she's as penniless as he apparently really is.
Meanwhile, we see the same chaos in the streets we saw inside until one little boy who was being shielded by his parents approaches one particular ghoul and asks, "Grandpa?" The two hug, and we see the living and the dead connecting -- Mayhew and the carriage tender reunite, a dead man and his old wife reunite in a "Gone with the Wind" type thing...even Scraps manages to become friends with a still alive dog. Eventually, everyone heads for the church, where the new wedding between Victor and Emily is to take place, despite Pastor Galswells objections.
Inside the church, we see Victor standing at the front of the church Elder Gutknecht presiding. The poison bottle and a cup are next to him. The door opens, and we see Emily entering, preceded by two small dead children that are serving as flower...people (one's a boy, one's a girl). Victor recites his vows -- "I take this cup, fill you up, yadda yadda..." -- and Emily starts to do the same, pouring the poison into the cup that Victor is holding, but then she sees Victoria in her wedding dress watching and ultimately can't go through with it. She calls Victoria over and says that her chance at wedded happiness was stolen from her, and she doesn't want to steal that chance from Victoria. Emily puts Victoria's hands in Victor's, but before things can progress, Barkis shows up. He sees Victor and Victoria together and is enraged that Victor is trying to get together with Victoria, his new wife. As he's raging, Emily and Barkis recognize each other -- it seems Barkis was the guy Emily was going to elope with way back when.
He forgets about her and refocuses on Victor, pulling Bonesapart's sword out of him and going after Victor. One of the cooks from the bar tries to toss Victor a knife but grabs the wrong handle out of her husband and throws a fork instead. Nevertheless, Victor holds his own and gets a couple of hits in. Barkis gets the upper hand, though, and just before finishing Victor off decides to have a swig of the wine in the goblet. The dead ones try to attack him, but they are held back by Gutknecht, who says that the ways of the living are not theirs and they shouldn't get involved. Suddenly, Barkis starts choking and we see that he has turned blue, meaning he is officially dead. Gutknecht lowers his hands and says that now they can get Barkis, which they do.
As everyone else is tearing apart Barkis, Emily smiles at Victor and says that now he can marry his true bride. He almost heads for Victoria, but then says that he made a promise to Emily -- to be with her -- but she just smiles and says that he kept his promise. She heads out into the moonlight and tosses the bouquet, which gets caught by some fat old lady that the maggot leers at. A little frightened, the lady tosses the bouquet behind her to Victoria, who catches it. Emily smiles and suddenly fills with a radiant light, and bursts into a thousand skyward bound butterflies as Victor and Victoria hold hands, watching her long-delayed ascent into heaven.
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