When the Corpse Bride was set for release in 2005 I was mildly excited about seeing it. I loved Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and for years he was my favorite director. His early work was amazing , original, and inspired: Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Ed Wood, and of course Nightmare Before Xmas. I loved them all; it seemed the man could do no wrong. But it the years leading up to Corpse Bride’s release his work stopped impressing me. I still watched, enjoyed, and purchased Big Fish , Planet of the Apes, and Sleepy Hollow but they didn’t feel as fresh as his earlier work. And I really didn’t care for Mars Attacks. His work in the years since Corpse Bride have solidified his fall from grace in my eyes. Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory..blech. I didn’t even bother watching Frankenweenie and while I liked the visuals of Sweeney Todd the music makes it unwatchable for me.
I had intended to see Corpse Bride in theaters but missed my chance so my first time seeing it was on a DVD I rented from Blockbuster. I remember being completely disinterested in it. Granted, I was having a few drinks at the time but it simply could not hold my attention. And yet I did end up buying a previously viewed copy of it because I still fancied myself a collector of Burton’s films at the time. I figured that maybe I’d appreciate it more on a second viewing. However, in the 7 or 8 years since I have never once felt like giving it that second chance. I barely remember anything about the film at all…especially this character.
Before the film’s theatrical release I bought the first wave of action figures because I had anticipated being a fan of the film. That first wave consisted of the bride, the lead character Vincent who was voiced by Johnny Depp, and this dude, General Wellington. They were produced by McFarlane Toys so the visual quality of them was excellent; as if they had leapt off of the screen.
However, McFarlane’s stuff can be delicate and these figures in particular had thin limbs and small pieces so I opted to keep them sealed in their packages. I tacked them up on my wall for display. After seeing the film and being completely unimpressed I took the packages down and stored them in a bin where they sat for years. During a recent purge, the one that sealed Chim Chim‘s fate, I stumbled across my 3 Corpse Bride figures. Their bulky packaging was taking up a lot of room in my storage bins and I had no love for the characters so I put them in my “sell” pile. After some reflection though I decided that if I opened them they wouldn’t take up much space at all and I could just throw them in with my NBC figures. God forbid I actually rewatch the movie someday and like it then curse myself for selling them off. So I opened them up and back into storage they went. But before putting them away I had to snap some pictures for the blog.
As I suspected they were extremely delicate. I broke this figure about 30 seconds after opening it. He came with a display base made to look like wooden planks. There were small pegs on the base intended to fit into the holes on the bottoms of his feet. Well, when I attempted to display him on the pegs they broke right off. I had to lean him against a box to take these pictures.
As expected on a McFarlane figure, the sculpting on this toy is top-notch. The skull is expressive with a detailed helmet and a foggy translucent monocle over one of his eye sockets. The attention to detail is seen throughout the mold, from the exposed ribs in the cannonball wound in his chest to the rips on his tattered pants. Even the base looks great with “glass bottles” and realistic wood grain. The paint job is equally impressive. The paint apps accentuate the details of the sculpt and almost elevate this from a mere action figure to a quality piece of film memorabilia. On the negative side, as is also expected with McFarlane figures, the articulation is weak. The head can’t even be turned to face forward. This toy is stiff and delicate and really not a toy at all. And given that the base can’t support the weight of the figure it’s not really a display piece either. Now that I’ve opened it he’s basically just storage bin fodder. I probably should have kept him sealed or just sold him off. To my surprise some of the Corpse Bride figures sell for upwards of $150 on ebay. I guess I shoulda checked that out first. Oops. 3 out of 10.