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Twelve Christmas Movie Reviews in Twelve Days 2015: #9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


Directed by: Henry Selick
Starring: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Ken Page, Glenn Shadix & Ed Ivory

I’ve got a confession to make here, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this film. It was released in 1993 and has taken me twelve years to get round to watching it. What’s the hold up? I really don’t know. I just can’t put my finger on it. It’s always been at the back of my mind, but I just never got round to watching it – until now! When I came up with the plan of reviewing twelve Christmas movies in twelve days, this was the perfect opportunity to review Nightmare before Christmas.

The Holiday Woods houses seven trees containing doors leading to holiday themed towns. Halloween Town is filled with citizens such as ghosts, werewolves and witches. Halloween Town is also home to Jack Skellington, known to the town’s folk as The Pumpkin King. Jack is responsible for organising the annual Halloween holiday but he’s beginning to tire of the doing the same old, same old, every year. He stumbles upon Christmas Town and he’s fascinated by it all. He loves the idea of it so much that he feels the need to spread Christmas joy to the world. His plan is all well-meaning, but it ends up putting Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for all of the world’s boys and girls.

So, just why has it taken me so long to watch this film?

This is awesome!

Visually, it’s stunning. It’s what you expect from a Tim Burton film and then more. The cities and setting in which these characters live are visually perplexing and perfect for the tone in which the movie is trying to create.

You guys can correct me if I’m wrong but this is first fully stop-motion feature film. If that is so, then that makes this film even more special. I mention the songs and credit goes to the legendary Danny Elfman for his perfectly fitting score and song creations. As I write this, I’ve got the “This is Halloween” song playing in my head. I can imagine I’ll be humming it out loud from time to time.

I do think that the ending was too rushed. The other downside is that the dark and gothic vibe of the film might be too much for younger children who won’t ‘get it’ and just end up being scared by the Halloween images. Regardless of the dark content, the film manages to come off as charming and enjoyable thanks to a well-written script and the superb animations which don’t come across as jerky like you’ll see in old Christmas specials.

You can tell that this is a project very close to Tim Burton’s heart; so much so, that I reckon we’ll never see a sequel, even Burton himself has said that it’s not going to happen. What could they do next? Jack visits Easter Town?

This is the first time I’ve watched this film, as I mentioned at the beginning, and I truly enjoyed it.

A classic Christmas tale

….or is it Halloween

Oh, I don’t know, just watch the damn movie!

Rating: **** (Champion)


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