Musical prodigy Danny Elfman provides a score and songs that are very Gilbert-and-Sullivan in tone, very enjoyably so. The one stylistic departure is the song of the Bride's story, sung in jazz style by Elfman (as "Mr. Bonejangles"). --There's just something about dancing skeletons that suggests jazz--.
The puppets are capable of highly nuanced expression--the Bride, especially, expresses wistfulness, frustration, puzzlement, and love as well as the easier expressions of joy, rage and sorrow.
The production is beautifully designed, with the topsy-turvy Oz-like touch that the land of the living is gray and dull, while the Underworld is full of lurid color. This is carried over thematically as well: the Underworld's wedding celebration is raucous and joyful, while that of the living people is mingy and nearly lifeless.
There isn't much mystery about who killed Emily: the small cast and Mr. Bonejangles' shadowplay make that pretty obvious. The real plot concerns whether or not Victoria will succeed in rescuing Victor from Emily's bony clutches when their families think they've both gone mad, or if Victor and Emily can be dead happily ever after, and does work out in surprising fashion with a wonderfully poigniant final scene.
Excellent support from Christoper Lee as Pastor Galswells, Burton stalwart Deep Roy as General Bonesapart, Enn Reitel (channeling Peter Lorre) as Emily's maggot version of Jiminy Cricket, and Paul Whitehouse as the dead's "head waiter," among other roles. Veteran big-name actors Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney came out to voice Victoria's snooty parents, showing that being in a Burton film may be "the thing" to do.
In my opinion, a beautiful movie and an artistic triumph, and has my highest reccomendation. Young children probably will not get the plot, and may be creeped out by scenes such as the one where the Bride's eyeball falls out of her head revealing a toothy talking worm within--.