9.25.2005

Mamatas on Corpse Bride

Nick Mamatas had the opposite reaction as I did. (For a story so simple, only read the link or the following entry if you don't plan to see or don't mind watching something thoroughly explained in plot/theme.)

First paragraph begins with his usual humorous but unsubstantiated gripes. In the second, he expresses glee over anti-"middlebrow striving" (not really a theme of the movie). In the third, he's confused by the plot: "[Victor] runs off for some vaguely homosexual reasons." Actually, he ran off because he was told he couldn't marry. His hetero desire was immediately and, I had thought, bluntly established early on, the moment he plays the piano. The story purpose of creating the conflict between the noveau riche and the bride-to-be's family was to put the families at antagonistic purposes: There's not supposed to be any love between the young couple, but an allegiance of different desires (more money for bride-to-be family, more class for noveau riche). But lo! The couple actually fall in love over the piano--and they get scolded for it.

In the fourth he writes, "After an overheated and muddy musical number...." Well, I won't talk about musical aspects, as I said I'm not much into musicals, but there wasn't much toe-tapping about them. I'll defer to Mamatas on the success of the music.

Despite the fact that he's alive and that she just pulled off the stunt [of coming to the land of the living] an hour before, now they need a "Ukranian haunting spell."
Apparently it's easier to get in than out.

Victor falls in love and decides that he will, in fact, marry Emily[, the corpse bride]
Apparently, he is big-hearted and moved by the corpse bride's broken heart and decided that since he's stuck in the land of the dead, anyway, he may as well make someone happy.

And they all march, without any spells or difficulty at all, up to town
True, but is this essential to the plot? How do we know that a spell hadn't been done? How do we know that marriages in hell aren't a special occasion?

Barkin decides to drink poisoned wine anyway
For me, it was clear that Lord Barkin does so to give the finger to the marriage proceedings. There might have been a better way to make it more inevitable or obvious why he did so, however.

Then Emily vanishes in a beautifly mysterious way while the dead wedding guests will likely just walk.
This is her denouement to, her reward for her decision to let the living remain living and marry.

Victor can go to the other side because he has no love in his heart at all...
But he did have love in his heart when he proposed! He just had a different girl in mind.

how come the Emily can go to the land of the living [the first time]
This was established clearly--no intuition needed. She was killed waiting to be a bride. She needed someone to propose to her.

Sometimes you have to go with the story flow. The reader is forced to fill in connections implied. I don't really have any major problems with what Mamatas brings up. I attended with two other genre people who had no problems with story logic (except one did have a problem with the denouement, which was only peripherally telegraphed in the opening sequence and could have been better established). The one real story-logic problem I found was the character of Barkin acting suddenly possessive of his new bride (his previous habit was to eliminate his new brides--perhaps he still planned to do so later).