Corpse Bride is a 2005 stop-motion animated fantasy film. It was directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson and written by Carlos Grangel. It features the voices of Johny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Watson.
In the film, a shy young man, who has just been through a disastrous wedding rehearsal, practices reciting his wedding vows in what appears to be a deserted spot. He does not realize that there is a dead woman beneath him who has been waiting for years for someone to marry her. Believing that he has married her, the dead woman rises from the grave and takes her husband back with her to the Land of the Dead.
Corpse Bride performed reasonably well at the box office. Having been made on an estimated budget of $40,000,000, it went on to earn more than $117,000,000 at movie theaters worldwide. It was rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some frightening images and actions and for brief use of mild bad language.
The action begins in a world which resembles Victorian England. Mr. and Mrs.Van Dort, who have become wealthy through selling fish, have arranged for their son Victor to marry Miss Victoria Everglot, the only child of Lord and Lady Everglot. Mr. and Mrs. Van Dort are excited about the wedding because their son will be marrying into the aristocracy. Lord and Lady Everglot are not happy about their daughter marrying somebody from a lower social class. However, although they are of noble birth, the Everglots have no money. Victoria's marriage to Victor Van Dort will save them from the poorhouse. Victor and Victoria meet for the first time on the day before their wedding is due to take place. They are both apprehensive about the wedding. However, when they meet, they take an instant liking to each other.
A clergyman named Pastor Galswells leads Victor and Victoria in a wedding rehearsal. During the rehearsal, a man who introduces himself as Lord Barkis arrives. He claims to have arrived for the wedding a day early by mistake, although neither Lord nor Lady Everglot have met him before. The rehearsal is a disaster, Victor getting his vows wrong and clumsily setting Lady Everglot's dress on fire with a candle. Pastor Galswells angrily tells Victor to learn his vows, otherwise the wedding will not happen.
Victor walks away into a forest, trying to recite his wedding vows as he goes. He eventually gets them right. As he recites the vows, he places the wedding ring on what he thinks is a dead tree branch. It is, in fact, the skeletal arm of a dead woman. The dead woman rises out of the ground and says, "I do". After a short chase, she catches up with Victor and kisses him.
After having been kissed by the dead woman. Victor finds himself in the Land of the Dead, which is inhabited by decomposing corpses and skeletons. He finds out that the dead woman, who has blue hair and skin, frequently loses one of her eyeballs and has a maggot living in her head, is known as the Corpse Bride. Through a song, he learns her story. She was from a wealthy family and considered a great beauty. She fell in love with a man but her parents would not allow her to marry him. The two lovers decided to elope. The woman having put on her mother's old wedding dress before leaving. The man told her to wait for him by the oak tree next to the cemetery and to bring the family jewels and a bag of gold with her. While she was waiting, the woman was murdered. After her death, the woman vowed that she would wait in her grave until a man came along and asked her to marry him.
Victor finds out that the Corpse Bride's real name is Emily. He is not happy about being married to a dead woman and spending the rest of his life in the Land of the Dead, although he warms to Emily a little when she reintroduces him to his dead dog Scraps. Thinking of how his mother never approved of Scraps, Victor comes up with a plan to return to the Land of the Living. He tells Emily that he would like his parents to meet her. The two go to see Elder Gutknecht, a wise old skeleton with a long beard and a cracked skull. Elder Gutknecht knows a haunting spell which can return Emily and Victor to the land above. When they return to the Land of the Living, Victor tells Emily that he will speak to his parents first and that she should wait for him. He runs off as soon as he is able.
Finding Victoria again, Victor declares his love for her. However, Emily follows Victor's footprints in the snow and catches up with him. The living and the dead woman both regard each other jealously before Emily says the magic word that takes her and Victor back to the Land of the Dead.
Victoria tells her parents that Victor has married a dead woman. They think that she is mad and lock her in her room. She escapes through the window and goes to see Pastor Galswells, believing that, as a clergyman, he would know how to undo a marriage between the living and the dead. Unfortunately, Pastor Galswells also thinks that Victoria is mad and brings her home.
Lord Barkis comments to Victoria's parents about how badly Victor has treated her. He says that he would treat her much netter if she were his wife, reveals that he is not married and insinuates that he is very wealthy. Lord and Lady Everglot tell Victoria that the wedding will go ahead as planned but that she will marry Lord Barkis instead of Victor. Lord Barkis, who wrongly believes that Victoria's family is rich, plans to murder her shortly after their wedding. The following day, Victoria and Lord Barkis are married.
Elder Gutknecht finds out that the marriage between Emily and Victor is not valid. For their marriage to be binding, Victor and Emily would have to take part in a ceremony in the Land of the Living which would end with Victor drinking from the Wine of Ages, a drink which would make him die instantly. Having found out about Victoria's marriage to Lord Barkis from Mayhew, the Van Dorts' servant who has just died of natural causes, Victor decides that there is nothing left for him in the Land of the Living. He agrees to give up his life and marry Emily. All of the inhabitants of the Land of the Dead are invited to return to the world above for Emily and Victor's wedding.
In the evening, the dead appear in Lord and Lady Everglot's house during Victoria and Lord Barkis' wedding banquet. The skeletons and decaying corpses proceed to the church, some of them reuniting with their living friends and family members on the way. Victoria follows them. When she sees Victoria, Emily decides that she cannot go through with the ceremony. She indicates to Victor and Victoria that they should be together.
Lord Barkis arrives and reminds everybody that Victoria is still his wife. Emily recognizes him as the man that she fell in love with and realizes that he was also the man who murdered her. To protect Victoria's life, Victor fights Lord Barkis. The dead want to join in the fight but Elder Gutknecht tells them that they must not do so because Lord Barkis is not one of them. When Lord Barkis drinks some of the Wine of Ages, not knowing what it is, the situation changes. Lord Barkis now being one of them, the dead are free to attack him and advance towards him menacingly.
Emily returns the wedding ring which Victor gave her. Victor and Victoria are left alone together while Emily transforms into butterflies and flies away into the night sky.