Tag Archives: Johnny Depp

Top 10 Movie Scars

Scars are a movie shorthand. Bad guys often have visible scars, gruesomely healed. Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil has a huge scar, from the corner of his right eye down to his jaw. Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street is extensively scarred. Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes in Platoon has a face meant to tell you how crazy he is, right from the start. Most but not all of the scars on this list are found on villains, but in real life scars can criss-cross the bodies of all kinds of people, even, occasionally, good ones. Scars are portraits of courage and bravery, reminders of stupid decisions, the markers of time and change. My left arm was left completely scarred after a car accident; oddly, it is NOT the arm covered in ink (okay, it’s partially covered in ink). They make me a little sad, but also a lot grateful: scars mean you’re still alive.

tumblr_inline_nt3aoaZFge1tpfg2f_500.gifThe Joker: I suppose there are probably dozens of back stories as to how The Joker got his scars, but I love how Chris Nolan approaches them in The Dark Knight. The Joker himself tells several vastly different tales involving their provenance, which reveals nothing about their true nature, but tonnes about his sanity. The way he accents the scars with makeup makes us think he’s proud of them. He wants them to be noticed. Perhaps he wants us to believe they’re self-inflicted. Perhaps they are.

Tony Montana: It’s inevitable that a character nicknamed  ‘Scarface’ will make this list. tonyTony is blase about his scar, laughing it off, attributing it to his youth but never getting specific. It’s obviously a reminder of the past he left behind, and it’s a focal point to his enemies, something that makes him look scary and intimidating, perhaps warning them that he’s capable of violence. But in true Tony spirit, he addresses his scar only thusly: “You should see the other kid; you can’t recognize him.” I bet that’s true.

20110713_scars-1-harrypotter.nocrop.w375.h670Harry Potter: Harry got his distinctive lightning-bolt scar in a failed murder attempt, when Lord Voldemort put a killing curse on him (his mother’s sacrifice saved him from death, but he would bear the mark of the attack). The scar is legendary among the magic set, and it tingles whenever the Dark Lord is near. It wasn’t just a warning system, but a link to what Voldemort was thinking and feeling – actually a small piece of his soul, yearning to escape. Which is pretty crazy.

Edward Scissorhands: Edward’s face (and not just his face) is covered with fine scars, 350191the obvious result of learning the hard way how to live with scissors for hands. They aren’t terrible to look at, and actually give him a sympathetic look, reminding us of his hardships. Since the movie skewers conformity, Edward’s scars are just another thing that set him apart.

Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Randy shows stripper Cassidy some of the many scars he’s accumulated over his years in the ring as ‘The Ram’ in The Wrestler. His broken body is a good indication of his mental state as well, beat down and tired. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” Marissa Tomei quotes from the Old Testament. But his worst scar is yet to come: he undergoes bypass surgery on his heart, leaving the tell-tale scar down his chest, a constant reminder that his heart can no longer take the stress of his career. He’s forced into retirement, but can’t quite commit to it.

90f7a43a2555ef092a3825e3a5574878Marv: Sin City’s Marv puts Mickey Rourke on this list twice, ironic considering his own not-insignificant scars. In the 1990s he took up boxing, and had to have lots of reconstructive surgery as a result – two broken noses, a smashed cheekbone – but admittedly went to the wrong doctor to put things right. Finally, after massive amounts of plastic surgery, he’s starting to look good again. Regardless, in Sin City, Rourke’s face in prosthetic scars. Marv is supposed to be too “ugly” to attract the opposite sex, which is why his relationship with Nancy is so pure and good, and highly cherished by him.

Scar: In Lion King, Mustafa’s brother is marked for evil by eye-skimming scar that leaves him disfigured. The movie doesn’t tell us how he got it, but we do kn1000px-Gill-FindingNemo3Dow he’s defined by it, bearing its nickname.

Gill: Gill has terrible scarring to his face and fins after an escape attempt left him badly
wounded by dental tools. Voiced by Willem Dafoe, Finding Nemo’s Gill seems dark and brooding because of his scars, but we come to understand that they’re a symbol of his fight for freedom, and what the fish are willing to risk in order to be free.

tumblr_mlg4d5SRte1s3oe2qo1_250.gifInigo Montoya: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” A mysterious man with 6 fingers attacked Inigo’s father, and presumably Inigo’s scar is from that same fight. His greatest wish is to avenge his father’s death, and he spends much of The Princess Bride pursuing the man who left so many scars in his wake.

Darth Vader: Vader’s scars represent his turn from annoying emo brat to pure evil. As main-qimg-b22185b5f56500fa08f9e8b3a426e005-c.jpgthe ghost of Obi-Wan tells Luke: “When your father clawed his way out of that fiery pool, the change had been burned into him forever – he was Darth Vader, without a trace of Anakin Skywalker. Irredeemably dark. Scarred.” Those scars are kept underneath a menacing helmet for much of the series, but when that helmet comes off, oof: impact.

 

 

 

 

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Yoga Hosers

If you thought the nepotism in Donald Trump’s White House was bad, you haven’t seen Yoga Hosers. Kevin Smith’s daughter met Johnny Depp’s daughter in Hollywood Schoolhouse kindergarten, and now we’re all paying for it.

They play “the Colleens” in Yoga Hosers, two Winnipeg high school sophomores obsessed with Instagram and yoga. After school they work at the “Eh to Zed”, a convenience store they often close to hold band practice with their 35 year old drummer Ichabod (Adam Brody), hanging a sign on the door telling customers “Urinary tract infection – back in 10.”

yoga-hosers-johnny-deppThe two Colleens, reprising roles from Tusk, the first film in Smith’s True North trilogy, played by Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp (their real names, honest to god, as only celebrity parents could name them), are pursued by a couple of cool high school seniors…who turn out to be serial-killing satanists. So we don’t feel too bad when little killer wieners go up their bums and kill them first.

Okay, yes, that sentence was confusing. Everything about this review is confusing FAQQSFbbecause the movie makes NO sense. I’m doing my best. So the wieners are called Bratzis because they’re foot-tall Nazis dressed as Mounties (Canada’s Royal Mounted (on horses) Police) made from bratwurst stuffed with sauerkraut. They’re tiny little people-sausages, motion captured by Smith himself because everyone else had the good sense to refuse. It’s the reason we all saw Kevin Smith’s naked face for the first time in…ever?

 

Anyway. Both of Lily-Rose’s parents appear in the film. Both of Harley Quinn’s parents appear in the film. Some of their siblings as well. Plus some Kevin Smith mainstays like Jason Mewes and Justin Long who literally have nothing better to do. The film is improved by none of these things.

Apparently some Hitler-sympathizer cryo-froze himself 70 years ago and has been asleep underneath the Eh To Zed all this time until accidentally awoken by the Colleens, and now the little Bratzis are on the loose and killing everyone, even though they’re supposed to be targeting only art critics, who hurt this guy’s feelings over half a decade ago. Or something like that.

Yoga Hosers, as you may have guessed, is terrible. I mean: it’s bad even for Kevin Smith, post-2000. He may be trying to revive some Clerks nostalgia, but he’s failing. This is pretty much unwatchable. And, because I must: as a Canadian, this is just annoying. Not a single Canadian I have ever met across this vast country of ours talks like that. The only people I have ever heard say “aboot” are Americans pretending to be Canadian. I can’t even imagine where that stereotype comes from but it’s time to retire it. And while Lily-Rose Depp and her mother Vanessa Paradis speak flawless French, it’s the wrong freaking French! It would be like an Australian passing for a southern American: they’re both technically speaking English but holy mother of god it’s not the same. If this movie had been mocking, say, Japan, the same way it mocks Canada, there would have been an uproar: laughing at our accents, our culture, our history. And “white-washing” us to boot – not a single actual Canadian among the cast. Don’t try to tell me Martin Short wasn’t available! In fact, it’s possible that the lack of uproar was only due to no one seeing this movie. Kevin Smith shot it entirely in California, so it’s possible Canada hasn’t even heard of this monstrosity, and if you have any feeling for Canadians at all, you’ll keep this dirty secret.

Don’t see this. Not even out of morbid curiosity. It’s not so bad it’s good, it’s just SO BAD.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Confession time: I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, or read a book. Damn you Oscars for throwing this movie a nomination and forcing me to see it. And even though intellectually, I’ve known at various times that this was part of the HP universe, I’ve often confused it with with Doctor Strange, and with so many parallels between the two, it could fit just as easily in Marvel’s.

That dirty secret out of the way, spoiler alert: they’re in Eddie Redmayne’s suitcase. He plays writer and wizard-biologist of sorts, who finds himself in New York City with a suitcase full of trouble. NYC in the 1920s has a more closeted approach to wizardry than fantastic-beasts-redmayne-waterston.jpgwe’re used to, and the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is riding the barrier between magical and non-magical as well as they can. Scamander, however, believes that the beasts in his case are harmless and deserve a chance to be safe and free. This attitude puts him at odds with the MACUSA in general, and Graves (Colin Farrell) in particular. Luckily, a young woman a little lower on the chain, Tina (Katherine Waterson), takes him in, and a non-maj (non-magical person, or muggle) who’s been caught up in the whole thing as well (Jacob, Dan Fogler).

The magical community is on edge because of terrorism committed by the dark wizard Grindelwald. The non-magical community is getting riled up by fundamentalist “Second Salemers”, an anti-magic group to which Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) belongs, and spreads hatred for along with her adopted children (Ezra Miller among them).

As you can see, JK Rowling is drawing an awful lot of nifty parallels between our present maxresdefaultday world and theirs. There’s a whole subplot involving the evil things that happen when someone tries to suppress who they truly are.

Eddie Redmayne was the first and only choice for Scamander, which means you get to see an Oscar winner try to seduce a rhinoceros. Whatever you’re imagining, it’s worse. The movie is stand-alone (well, there are 4 sequels planned, but that’s another story) but still works best for those familiar with the Potter world of wizarding. Scamander was already technically a part of it, having written the text book that Harry will read some 70 years later at Hogwarts (of which Scamander is himself an alum). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a lavish buffet, a visual feast, and it must be a delight for an HP fan to see so much more of the imagined universe come to life. For me, a novice, it was just all right, a serviceable story limited by its many plot lines that failed to cast a spell on me.

 

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Did my grandfather write this script, by any chance? The puns scream yes. If someone pulls a Werther’s Original caramel candy out of their pocket, it’s official.

I can see glimmers of goodness in this beleaguered movie, believe it or not. Johnny Depp looks cool, even if he’s playing the same basic cartoon character he whips out for every 0523hathaway02_hitn-734x393movie he’s made this century. And the queens (Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne Hathaway) are resplendently rendered. Somebody spent a lot of money but didn’t care that the story was just too convoluted for its own good. What was this even about? It’s certainly not from any story book I remember. And if you a) hire Bort and b) put him in tights, I have to believe you never intended for me to take this seriously. Not for one minute.

I saw a play of the same name in Stratford (Ontario, known for its Shakespearean efforts but this one was “off-Shakespeare” if that makes sense) starring a young Sarah Polley. And maybe that’s part of my problem: Alice, to me, will always be a little girl. Mia Whatsername is a wonderful actress but not Alice.

I was wholly uninspired by the movie and to be honest, often confused. I did catch one interesting part, where Alice wakes up chained to a bed in an insane asylum. Now, to be Screen-Shot-2016-04-04-at-11.43.25-AM-1024x544.pngsure, a grown woman claiming to know of an alternate universe behind a mirror where she talks to rabbits and time is enough to get her legitimately diagnosed. Her doctor, however, through out the popular female catch-all “hysteria” and it reminded me of a list I’d recently seen of actual reasons why women just like me and you were committed to asylums not so very long ago. Play along, will you, give yourself a point for every “offense” you’ve committed on this list, and leave your score in the comments (if you dare).

-business trouble

-kicked in the head by a horse

-ill treatment by husband

-imaginary “female trouble”

-immoral life

-jealousy & religion

-laziness

-marriage of son

-masturbation

-medicine to prevent conception

-mental excitement

-novel reading

-parents were cousins

-politics

-loss of lawsuit

-asthma

-bad company

-bad habits

-bad whiskey (!)

-egotism

-quackery

-fighting fire

-time of life

-venereal excesses

-superstition

-shooting of daughter

-hard study

-snuff eating for 2 years

-greediness

-grief

-seduction & disappointment

-exposure (to other crazy people? or to women?)

-indigestion

-loss of arm

-social disease

-remorse

-severe labour

-infidelity

-sunstroke

Not to alarm anyone, but I’m suffering from at least 7 of these “symptoms” right now. How about you?

 

Black Mass

Jay here. I’ve been MIA for a while and most likely will be for a bit more. Back surgery and its sidekick  morphine have indisposed me for writing movie reviews.

Anyway, Black Mass has been kicking around for a while now, generally disappointing folks despite its all-star cast and generous dash of promise. It basically tells the incredible story of Johnny-Depp-in-Black-MassJames ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Johnny Depp), and how he ran Boston from the underground for years, in part because of a brilliant “alliance” with the FBI. An old childhood friend (Joel Edgerton) has conveniently made a name for himself at the FBI and he convinces his boss (Kevin Bacon) that Bulger will be a useful informant. The information flows both ways though, with Bulger constantly evading investigation, and Bulger divulging details already known to the FBI by other means.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Bulger’s brother, Billy, a successful state politician. Suspicious? Well nobody at the FBI seems to think so, until there’s a new kid in town, Corey Stoll, who starts asking some incredulous questions, like how on earth has a notorious psychopath and criminal with ties to the IRA never ever been investigated? Why indeed.

So things fall apart for Bulger, although never as spectacularly as they do for everyone around 48091645.cachedhim (including Jesse Plemons, and can we just call him what he is: low-rent Matt Damon), and Rory Cochrane (bloated for this role, it’ll kill your Empire Records fantasies right quick), and Peter Sarsgaard (who once did an SNL skit where he was attending a pirate convention, and all the attendees really relished overpronouncing his name – PetARRRRGGGHHHH SAAAARRRRRRsgAAAAARRRRRRD, and now I am forever doomed to do it myself).

Maybe the biggest problem with this movie is that it crammed too many names under too small 62951a marquee. There just isn’t enough to keep everyone busy, and at the end of the day, this feels like a pretty standard mob movie, with Scorsese wannabe undertones. It fails to distinguish itself. The relief, though, is that Johnny Depp remembers how not to be a cartoon. It’s not any great relief though, since this is Depp’s fourth, FOURTH, time portraying a real-life gangster. Even my dogs have learned the trick by the fourth repetition.

You will not find a bad movie here, just a very tired one, but I guess it allowed a lot of Hollywood types to tick off MOB MOVIE on their SAG Bingo card, and if that’s not a good reason to make a movie, then I don’t know what is.

Frightfest 2015

We all watch movies with our earphones on in our office but you can always tell when someone is watching a scary movie. We yelp, we jump, we scream, we swear. Sometimes the “scary movie” is one of the trailers before the movie starts or even just an episode of Homeland. Yes, Jay and I work in an office of scaredy cats, ourselves included. I once startled the room by crying out in terror during an episode of Twin Peaks.

So, welcome to our horror fest, one designed specifically for the squeamish. I can’t guarantee that our selections won’t startle you, revolt you, or terrify you. But that’s what Halloween is about, isn’t it? Venturing into the unknown and confronting the spooky, the twisted, and the horrifying in a fun and safe place. And if you’re working in our office, remember that there’ll always be one or two other trained counsellors standing by if it gets to be too much for you. Oh, and also help yourself to some spooky cereal as you watch.

The Frightfest 2015 selections are as follows…

The Babadook– The more you deny him, the stronger he gets.

Beetlejuice– Beware Jeffrey Jones, the creepiest character featured at the Festival.

The Blair Witch Project– Everyone knows by now that it’s not real, right?

The Corpse Bride– I give them an eternity.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead–  The anti-Semitic Zombie Movie!!

Double Feature: The Shining with Room 237– If Jack Nicholson isn’t crazy enough for you, check out the fans of the Shining.

Frankenweenie– Not as pornographic as it sounds.

Halloween– How does Jamie Lee Curtis still have a voice?

Housebound– The only thing worse than being stuck in a haunted house is being there with your mother.

A Nightmare on Elm Street– See Johnny Depp before Tim Burton turned him into a cartoon character.

ParaNorman– How parents just don’t understand.

Scream– The movie that convinced us all that we need Caller ID.

What We Do in the Shadows– Vampires are people too.

Zombeavers– Exactly what it sounds like.

 

Filed Under M

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – Guy Ritchie wanted to make a spy movie that was “sexy, fun, and the-man-from-uncle-alicia-vikander-armie-hammer-henry-cavillfrivolous”, harkening back to the Roger Moore era of James Bond. He got the frivolous part right. This movie doesn’t mean much. It’s got some very charismatic stars, none of whom are served well by the material, and none of whom can pull off an accent as well as they think they can (Alicia Vikander sounds Irish more than German). It tends toward flippant rather than funny. It is very stylish (and stylized), I’ll give it that, but that’s a lot of money to put on a retro fashion show. However, if you’re one of those people who love a vacuous spy movie with no action or suspense, then boy has your time come.

Max – We never would have seen this movie on purpose but it was the second movie in a double-bill at the drive-in, so that explains why we were there, though not why we stayed. We stayed mostly for the people-watching, as it turned out, since the couple in the car beside us were topless, the better for him to expunge the blackheads from her back, while their interior lights are on, for all the world to see. It really made me reflect on how I might multi-task while at the drive-in. Suggestions? My only suggestion to you is to skip this movie. Lauren Graham and Thomas max-coverHaden Church play a good old flag-waving, down home American couple who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Their eldest son dies in Iraq, and his service dog gets decommissioned from the army (sorry, marines) and comes to stay with them, to be loved and trained (and healed!) by the angry younger son. The army honours its strong tradition of turning its back on veterans with PTSD, even when that vet is a dog who just wants to serve his country and retire in peace and kibble. Convoluted plot devices ensue to really bring this family together in their grief, with heavy doses of patriotic piety that I found hard to swallow. Makes you proud to be Murican I guess. A country song plays over a memorial to dead wartime dogs at the end.

mortdecai_612x380_0Mortdecai – I think this movie was a bet. I think someone just decided to see how much weird they could cram into a movie, as long as that weird was uninteresting and unremarkable. I was embarrassed for the simpering Johnny Depp, and for his mustache.

Into the Woods

woodsBased on the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods tells the story of a childless baker and his wife, cursed by a wicked witch to be barren forever but granted the chance to reverse the spell, if only they go into the woods to retrieve some special items for her. Their story intersects with the familiar Grimm Brothers’  tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel.

Meryl Streep plays the witch and plays her beautifully. Director Rob Marshall knows she’s the linchpin and grants her the most spectacular entrances and exits. But it’s Emily Blunt in the role of the baker’s wife who feels like the heart bakerof the movie and Blunt really shines. She can make any line sound so natural, and her voice can only surprise you in the best way possible. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and deserves to be, possibly even more so that Streep (!). Anna Kendrick as Cinderella is comparatively disappointing. It’s always difficult for this reviewer to see past her donkey dentures, but her voice is up to the challenge, even I can admit that. But Cinderella just isn’t that exciting to watch (this problem was likely compounded by the inclusion of a preview for the new live-action Cinderella movie to be released in 2015 – my sister and I wrongly imagined some of those scenes as scenes from Into the Woods).

chris

“I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”

There is a lot to recommend in this movie. The ensemble cast is spectacular. After their opening number, “Into the Woods” I felt like I should applaud.  And if you had doubts that Chris Pine could sing, let me assure you that he’s learned more than just a thing or two from Shatner along the way. Actually, our group quite enjoyed the scene between Pine’s Prince Charming (recycling his smug asshole look from Horrible Bosses 2) and Rapunzel’s Prince (Billy Magnussen, leatherclad) – the two men are singing about their respective woman-induced “Agony”, splashing about homoerotically in a waterfall, trying to out-macho each other, crotch-thursting, popping buttons to reveal increasingly deep vees of smooth, tanned chests, reminding us more of a duet between George Michael and Freddie Mercury than your typical fairy-tale princes. Delightfully tongue-in-cheek, you almost wished more of the movie could feel this way.

wolf

“Scrumptious carnality”

The sets are gorgeous, and no matter how many times our characters go into the woods, it never feels like they’re passing the same 5 trees, it’s a truly enchanted forest that creates a storybook look that’s fun to get lost in. And the fabulous Colleen Atwood heightens the visual gorging with a stunning array of costumes, including a suit that transforms a man into a mister wolf. Johnny Depp, playing the wolf, is lurking inside those woods, looking lupine and oily, putting out vibes that should warn us away. Although top-billed, Depp’s in the movie for maybe 5 minutes, but that’s more than enough to turn things pretty sour. How do I say this…I felt like I picked up on certain nuances in his song that I was uncomfortable with. As in: sexual innuendo. As in: the wolf would like to “eat” Little Red Riding Hood in more than one way. He’s an absolute creepster with a real pedophile’s mustache and his singing “Hello, Little Girl” will send shivers up your spine. He tells us there’s a “scrumptious carnality” about to be had, and maybe that works in the Broadway production, but it feels grossly inappropriate in this toned-down Disney version where the actress playing Red is indeed a little girl, much too young to be on the receiving end of this lascivious song. And when she starts responding that what they’re doing is new and scary but also kind of exciting, well…I wanted to slam on the brakes.

The characters wrap up their traditional story lines around the 80 minute mark – but wait! These poor schmucks don’t get their happily-ever-afters. The story continues. And I’m glad that the movie doesn’t end on Cinderella’s wedding day because I would have felt cheated. But 80 minutes of singing and skipping through the woods was about as much as I wanted. So the remaining third of the movie, which gets a hell of a lot darker, felt entirely too much. Streep delivers another great song but I was fed up with the inundation of special effects, my patience was waning, and it just felt like filler. My sister felt that since all the characters start (or continue) making selfish, morally ambiguous choices, she didn’t have anyone to pull for. She’s not wrong. My husband felt that the songs were not particularly catchy or memorable, and he’s not wrong either. I enjoyed the movie, enjoyed it quite a bit, it would be impossible not to given the sheer amount of talent (although I am wondering why all of that talent had to be white), but I’m not feeling it for Best Picture this year. Of course, I’m sure I said the same about Rob Marshall’s Chicago and we all know how that went.

Frightfest 2015: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

What if your nightmares weren’t “only a dream”?

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-1984-2

The late Wes Craven touched on something primal here with his horror classic that spawned way too many shitty sequels. Three high school students on Elm Street discover that they have been dreaming about the same nightmarish figure with severe burns on his face and knives for fingers. And that laugh. Oh my God, that laugh.

a nightmare on elm street

It seems that the now infamous Freddy Krueger was once just a regular child murderer. Now that he’s dead, he can only get to you in the world of your dreams. I’ve had nightmares before that would make me fight sleep just to avoid getting back to that place. Here, to fight for sleep is to fight for your life. Craven’s mythology surrounding the world of the dream isn’t nearly as elaborate as, say, Inception’s but he’s come up with an interesting idea here that he has a lot of fun with.

nightmare on elm steet 3

For a modern audience, the most fun part is watching Johnny Depp’s first movie looking as baby-faced as you’ve ever seen him at 20 years-old. He plays the typical teen boyfriend in a high school movie, apparently not yet having decided that he would play every part as a weirdo. Having never acted before, Depp was so nervous about every scene that he would bring an actor friend of his (who I think may have been Jackie Earle Haley, who would later play Freddy in the 2010 remake) to run lines with because he was so afraid of getting it wrong.

As humble beginnings go, Depp’s wasn’t so bad. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a Halloween guilty pleasure of the best kind.

Corpse Bride

Victor (Johnny Depp) is the son of nouveau-riche fish merchants and Victoria (Emily Watson) is the daughter of aristocrats who are down corpseto their last dollar. Their upcoming marriage will give legitimacy to Victor’s parents while savings Victoria’s from the indignity of poverty. But Victor and Victoria have yet to meet – and neither are keen on marrying a stranger. All that changes when they finally do clap eyes on each other, instantly falling head over heels.

True love doesn’t make Victor any more facile with words, so when he fumbles his way through the rehearsal, he’s admonished to the woods to practise until perfect. Unfortuimagesnately, he unknowingly recites his vows to the corpse of a woman murdered on the night she was to elope, and Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) rises from the dead to claim him as her husband, and drag him down to the Land of the Dead.

Victor is mortified, as he should be – will he ever make it back up to the Land of the Living to reclaim the woman who holds his heart?

Tim Burton breathed his magic into this 19th century Russian folk tale, co-directing on the tails of Big Fish, and simultaneously with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He held the vision, and co-director Mike Johnson followed up with the crew, making sure the tone and emotion were realized.

A beautiful example of stop-motion, the puppets themselves, built by Mackinnon and Saunders, were about 17 inches tall and 46532-stop-motion-ch5-1-fig0503animated on sets built three to four feet off the ground with trap doors allowing animators access to the sets’ surfaces to manipulate the puppets. Victor, Victoria and Emily were outfitted with heads the size of golf balls that contained special gearing to allow the animators to manipulate individual parts of the puppets’ faces.

Burton, on casting Johnny Depp in both movies he was working on at once: “It was weird because we were doing both at the same time. He was Willy Wonka by day and Victor by night so it might have been a little schizophrenic for him. But he’s great. It’s the first animated movie he’s done and he’s always into a challenge. We just treat it like fun and a creative proceEmily_upset_with_Victorss. Again, that’s the joy of working with him. He’s kind of up for anything. He just always adds something to it. The amazing thing is all the actors never worked [together]. They were never in a room together, so they were all doing their voices, except for Albert [Finney] and Joanna [Lumley] did a few scenes together, everybody else was separate. They were all kind of working in a vacuum, which was interesting. That’s the thing that I felt ended up so beautifully, that their performances really meshed together. So he was very canny, as they all were, about trying to find the right tone and making it work while not being in the same room with each other.”

Like the best of Burton, this is macabre yet whimsical, and the visuals here are still arresting today. It’s definitely worth digging out for Halloween, and for whenever.