Book Review: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride An Invitation to the Wedding

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: An Invitation to the Wedding

This book is more of a movie companion book than an artbook, although there's plenty of art to look at.

The book's divided into 3 parts:
Part 1 - Land of the Living
Part 2 - Land of the Dead
Part 3 - Going Upstairs, The Illustrated Story

You know those behind the scenes videos from movie DVDs? This book is essentially that, except in written form.

Part 1 talks about how the story was conceived, the people involved in making the movie, project development, and the challenges to handling stop motion animation. There's a lot on character design, especially the back stories that determine who they are, and how they were created physically. There are very interesting details you'll learn in the creation process. Below's a quote on controlling facial movements:

By inserting an Allen wrench into a socket in the ears of the puppets, the animators could control various facial movements. If you put the key into the left ear and turn it in one direction, it would make the puppet smile on the left-side of the face; if you turned it the other way it would make the corner of the mouth on that side of the face droop down, giving the puppet a slightly sad expression, and vice versa on the other side.

Part 2 is about designing the movie set. It talks about the design influences on the buildings and how the sets were designed in order to facilitate shooting. There are write ups on the voice casts, animators and the music. Interesting to note is that the movie was shot using a digital SLR. A quote on the living and dead set:

Both thematically and visually, Corpse Bride is about inversion, with the Land of the Living a gray, dead place where people are lifeless, hopeless and sad, while the Land of the Dead is full of vivacious dead people with a lust for life and joy.

On animators:

Some will act out before the shot, others will videotape themselves and try and piece together a performance that way. Some animators sort of just go for it and sort of feel it.

Part 3 is the storyboard of the movie. This part is filled with the script, penciled storyboards and movie stills.

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Tim Burton's Corpse Bride An Invitation to the Wedding is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP) and Book Depository

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