Christopher Lee

REVIEW: Corpse Bride (2005)

When shy Victor (Johnny Depp) practices his wedding vows in a forest, he inadvertently gets married to Emily (Helena Bonham Carter) a deceased young bride who rises from the grave to be with him.

If you couldn’t tell by the character designs, Corpse Bride is directed by Tim Burton. I wouldn’t call myself a big Burton fan, I tend to like his films more often than not, but his stylish flair isn’t something I’m particularly fond of. Still, the character designs are all Burton with exaggerated facial features, especially the eyes, and quirky costuming. The whole animation style is beautiful and suits the tone of this odd story very well. The grey, sombre tones in the land of the living is a sharp contrast to the characters and setting of the underworld where everything is that bit more vibrant and weirder.

Before watching it, I didn’t realise that Corpse Bride was a musical. While “Remains of the Day” was a catchy song while it was playing out on screen, it and none of the other songs, were particularly memorable once the film was over. The score though, composed by long-time Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, was really lovely. It often manages to be eerie but with a magical quality to it, suiting the action and setting perfectly.

The voice casting is really good, but the standout is Christopher Lee he plays the intimidating pastor. He steals every scene he’s in and he’s equal parts menacing and funny. Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney are also entertaining as they voice Victoria’s (Emily Watson) parents and they make a great bickering double act.

Corpse Bride balances the spooky with the charming very well and visually it’s great, but the songs and the story aren’t up to the same standard. With it’s less than 80-minute runtime, Corpse Bride is a quick watch and one that gets you into that spooky, Halloween mood but there’s not enough to make a huge lasting impression. 3/5.

REVIEW: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

goldengun-posterJames Bond (Roger Moore) is led to believe that he is on Francisco Scaramanga’s (Christopher Lee), the world’s most expensive and deadliest assassin’s, hit list and Bond must hunt him down before Scaramanga gets to him first.

I loved the opening sequence at Scaramanga’s home, it was clever and tense and different to anything else seen in the Bond films before. Christopher Lee was brilliant (as always) and Scaramanga pretty much stole the Bond film from James Bond. He’s charming, intelligent and lethal – every time he was on screen the film becoming instantly more compelling.

There isn’t really any gadgets or flash cars in The Man with the Golden Gun – in fact I’m pretty sure all Bond had is his gun and a small plane.

The Bond girl this time around was Mary Goodnight (Britt Eckland) an M16 agent stationed in China and she has to be the stupidest MI6 agent in history. She’s accident prone, has to rely on Bond to save her, almost kills him a few times and is generally incredibly useless. I’m not sure if she was supposed to be comic relief but it was more insulting than anything else.

Another bit of comic relief was the reappearance of J. W. Pepper (Clifton James) who was in Live and Let Die. The first time he appeared I thought it was going to be a small cameo and it was actually quite fun – the second time he made an appearance wasn’t so fun as it went on a lot longer and got on my nerves after a while.

The Man with the Golden Gun isn’t the greatest Bond film, it’s a bit dull compared to some of the others, but Christopher Lee is the best thing about the film – and is better than Bond in every way. 2/5.