For this year's birthday fundraiser, Johnny's Angels created a scrapbook of birthday cards, which was sent to Johnny as a gift. (Above, you can see was I drew inside mine.) Last I heard, we raised more than $5,500 for Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition in Los Angeles.
You can join the celebration today by donating to Johnny's Angels' campaign. Then, eat some cake and maybe watch Corpse Bride! Here's more about that lovely movie, this month's Johnny Kitties feature.
It has its own very, very special, very unique look, movement. And it's beautiful. And, also, it's like a lot of great things: it's a dying art. Johnny Depp on the stop-motion animation used for Corpse Bride
It's a perfect match!
Corpse Bride is a stop-motion animation film directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson. The story takes place in Victorian England where two families have arranged the marriage of Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria (Emily Watson) for the sole purpose of marrying into wealth. After a disastrous wedding rehearsal, shy Victor practices and perfects his marriage vows during a walk in the woods and slips Victoria's ring onto a branch that comes to life. He finds himself married to the corpse bride (Helena Bonham Carter) who drags him "downstairs" to the Land of the Dead. Torn between two worlds, Victor must decide whether to fight his way home to his true love or stay in his new, more welcoming community.
I want a wedding invitation!
"That sounds like a movie Tim Burton would want to make," I thought when I heard its story was based on Jewish folklore about a guy who accidentally marries a corpse. It seemed to be a perfect fit, and the more I heard about it, the more excited I became about seeing it! When I first saw the "coming attractions" preview for Corpse Bride, I knew it was going to be special! Look at it!
Beautiful, right? Who knew dead people could be so cute?
Some weddings are difficult to plan.
|Positioning the puppets...|
|And setting up a scene...|
It shows! In 2010, I saw some of the drawings, paintings, and puppets created for Corpse Bride in an exhibit on Tim Burton's career at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Because of the detail involved, they are perhaps more amazing in person than on screen. "They do such beautiful work," Tim Burton says of the animation crew. "These puppets are very sensitive and textural and really like Swiss watches, they're made so nicely!"
The stars aligned!
This cast of voices for Corpse Bride is dreamy! With Johnny is a bunch of my favorite Brits: Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, Tracey Ullmann, Johanna Lumley, Michael Gough, Paul Whitehouse, Jane Horrocks.... Can you imagine having all these people in the same room together? Well, keep imagining. "I have scenes with Johnny Depp, Johanna Lumley, and Albert Finney, and I've never met them," Emily Watson admits. "I was shown work in progress of the way things look and the style of it, but you're sort of trying to make it happen in your head, really." So much for that fantasy. In any case, these actors are perfectly cast. "It's a fairly low-budget movie," Tim Burton says of Corpse Bride. "I was very lucky and grateful to get people to do voices for just the love of doing a project."
And we all got a happy ending!
When Tim Burton described it to me....it sounded really scary, Gothic, and horrible," writer/lyricist John August says of the story's premise. "And, yet, we ended up making a really charming movie. You don't really think about the characters being dead or alive. You sort of see it as this really sweet little love story."
The artistry and passion that went into the making of Corpse Bride is undeniable. This charming, bittersweet, scary, funny, fantastic, beautiful work of art earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination. But who needs awards? "To be able to see these characters in the studio environment, against the sets and speaking dialogue and what have you--It's been a great revelation." Puppet Maker Peter Saunders says. "You think, 'Wow, that's what it's all about!'"
Marriage is hard.
It's hard to match the artistry on display in Corpse Bride and decide what scene to highlight. I chose the moment when The corpse bride (Mini) realizes that Victor is trying escape his current situation and return to his fiancee in the Land of the Living. She'll have none of that and drags him back "downstairs." I see her point: She's his wife, after all.
Johnny heads back to sea in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
All Corpse Bride Images © Warner Brothers Pictures; illustrations © Melissa Connolly