I just watched Tim Burton's Corpse Bride on while I flew back from Atlanta. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed.
The film itself was beautiful. The characters moved gracefully. But even though the graphics may have been better, the movie was no where near as good as The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The film suffered from pacing issues. Most scenes probably could have been about 10% shorter. The initial scene with the dancing skeletons seemed particularly pointless.
The songs were okay, but not terribly interesting. None of them were going to get stuck in my head, and I don't expect to pick up the soundtrack. The songs in The Nightmare Before Christmas are much more engaging.
But the biggest issue maybe a fundamental story issue. There really isn't much of one. The film is about a guy who accidentally marries a corpse while panicking about his own wedding. And then assorted wackiness happens.
There's no depth to it, though. Aside from some cool tricks with the animation and joke about decomposition, it doesn't really go anywhere. The main characters don't really confront their inner demons. There are no great life lessons. They characters don't grow. They don't develop. They don't really question their own existence. They just go along for the ride.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, on the other hand, featured a main character fundamentally questioning his role in society. He let's his hubris take him to some incredible places, and then had to confront and make amends for his mistakes. At the same time, he comes to understand who he is and to appreciate those around him more than ever.
I really wanted to like The Corpse Bride and I was disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high going in to it. But it turned out to be little more than a bunch of dead body jokes.
Jon Clarke reviewed the movie when he saw it in the theater in 2005. He came to a different conclusion.