Of all Tim Burton's films, 2005's Corpse Bride is one of the most Burton-esque. As his fans may know, that means the movie is filled with gothic imagery, odd-looking characters, vibrant colors contrasting with dreariness, and most of all, a whimsical look at dark subjects. Even the basic plot screams Burton: A timid young man accidentally marries a corpse and travels between the worlds of the living and deceased to find himself. Because Corpse Bride was animated using mainly stop-motion technology, Burton was able to play around with the visuals in whatever way he wanted. This allowed his unique imagination to create one of his most underrated movies.
In 1993, Walt Disney (through Touchstone Pictures) produced The Nightmare Before Christmas, based on Burton's poem of the same name, as well as his character designs. The film became a beloved classic, and its stop-motion animation designs became a standard of pop and goth culture. Although the movie had his name and look, Burton wasn't the director.
In making Corpse Bride years later, Burton finally had creative control, and his personal stamp is obvious. Even themes he began developing in dark-yet-playful movies like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice are explored further here, and Burton's embrace of the weird, eccentric, and odd is on full display. Although Corpse Bride was made for kids and contains plenty of jokes and slapstick humor, it also features some pretty disturbing imagery. From severed heads to deceased dogs, the movie is definitely one of Burton's most bizarre, yet in many ways, one of his best.