Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) review


To clarify things, I find this as a Halloween film, not a Christmas-crossover. Burton and Selick's bizarre, multi-holiday masterpiece conveys so much for such a little film.

PLOT:In the world of Halloween where nightmares reign and the horrible is praised, the pumpkin king of Halloween, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is getting bored with the monotony of Halloween every year. He goes on a walk and finds a circle of doors where the portals to the other holidays abide.  He's enthralled by the look of the Christmas door, so he opens it and enters. Once inside, Jack discovers Christmas and the feeling he gets inside from it. He likes the idea of Christmas and decides to show his fellow companions in the town of Halloween. Of course, they can't feel what he felt and they add their own Halloween ideas to the idea of Christmas. Jack ponders why they can't understand what he does, but he eventually strikes a breakthrough when he decides to steal Christmas for the year. However, ragdoll-frankenstein, Sally (Catherine O'Hara), the creation of Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey), has a vision that it will all turn up in flames and tries to stop Jack. Will Jack's Yuletide idea succed, or will Sally's vision lay its course? It's a very unique plot executed as wonderfully as Burton and Selick can do it.

VOICES:The voice acting in here is pretty great. The voices are fun and unique, adding fun emotion to the characters. I think Chris Sarandon played a very great part as the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington. His character is all the more memorable. I also enjoyed Catherine O'Hara as Sally; she had such a gentle and meaningful voice for the part. The other shiners would be William Hickey as Dr. Finkelstein, Glenn Shadix as the Mayor, and Paul Ruebens as Lock.

SCORE:One of my favorite soundtracks. It's beautiful, grim, and unique. The great Danny Elfman supplies the singing voice for Jack as well as being the composer. His voice is hypnotic, operatic, and very intricate to the sound of the whole soundtrack.

ANIMATION:This is what the film is known for, and I can see why. The characters are animated in a certain way that no one else could have seen them in. They're all different shapes and sizes. It's something in the vision of Burton only. The animation itself is very whimsical and detailed, almost wonderous I'd say. It's some beautiful claymation.

OTHER CONTENT:I have always found this a Halloween film. It has Halloween characters throughout, and its starting and ending point is Halloween. Yes, it borrows Christmas at half of the movie, but that doesn't turn it 100% for Christmas. I liked all the lessons and feelings Jack had felt because I've felt them more than once in the past. I can relate to him easily: always wanting something new, never understood, and frustrated with how things are. I also appreciate the pop-gothic darkness the dynamic duo of Burton/Selick put into this film. It's more for teens than kids or adults, because of the feelings conveyed and the darkness witheld. However, if you can get past all the ghouls, post-emo core, and more serious aspects, it's still a true kid's film at heart with songs abundant throughout.

OVERALL, an awesome Halloween film with a uniquely executed plot, fun voices, beautifully intricate soundtrack, whimsical animation, characters I can relate to, and a strange gothic feel that tinges this for teens, but it's still just a masked kid's film at heart.

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