Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Running down the God squad again

"Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" is opening soon at a nearby theater, so I thought I'd check out the reviews, since I had no idea what the movie is about. Out of habit, I started with the NY Times review. The review is favorable, describing a wacky movie in which a depressive nonentity discovers the meaning in life through a journey amongst the joyous dead. What I found interesting was in the review's last paragraph:

It all ends happily ever after, of course, though not before Mr. Burton and company have gathered the dead with the undead, and given a kick in the pants to a pinched-faced pastor even more shriveled than the bride herself. The anticlerical bit gives the story a piquant touch, while the reunion between the corpses and the ostensibly living further swells the numbers of zombies that have lately run amok in the movies. [Emphasis mine.]
My understanding of the word "piquant" has always been that it means rather charmingly spicy -- and that seems to be consistent with the definition:
adj. 1: having an agreeably pungent taste [syn: savory, savoury, spicy, zesty] 2: engagingly stimulating or provocative; "a piquant wit"; "salty language" [syn: salty] 3: attracting or delighting; "an engaging frankness"; "a piquant face with large appealing eyes" [syn: engaging]
Clearly, piqaunt is a good thing (as Martha would say). And what I rather wondered is why a movie reviewer would say it is a charmingly good thing, in an engaging sort of way, to portray "a pinched-faced pastor even more shriveled than the [corpse] bride herself." Did the reviewer really mean to make such a savage swipe at religion? Did the reviewer actually mean provocative, which would be slightly more accurate and certainly less laudatory? Did the reviewer even mean anything or just have a word count? Anything's possible but, given the review's provenance (it is in the NY Times, after all), I suspect it was meant to be what it appears -- gratuitous anticlericalism.