Tired of scaring humans every October 31 with the same old bag of tricks, Jack Skellington, the spindly king of Halloween Town, kidnaps Santa Claus and plans to deliver shrunken heads and other ghoulish gifts to children on Christmas morning. But as Christmas approaches, Jack's rag-doll girlfriend, Sally, tries to foil his misguided plans.
The film creates a perfect balance between action and depth of basic needs, in the midst of an infertile atmosphere.
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There is, somehow, an interesting story here, as well as some good acting. There are also some good scenes
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An ambitious stop motion film which sees Jack the Pumpkin King journey from his native Hallowe'en Town to the neighbouring Christmas Town. When he attempts to bring the joy of the festive season to his horror-happy friends, they love it ... only because they've got the wrong end of the stick.The 76-minute film sees Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King in charge of the annual celebrations in his native Hallowe'en Town, lose motivation to do the same thing year after year. Stumbling across the neighbouring Christmas Town one evening, he attempts to introduce his old friends to his finding of presents, decorating trees and Santa Claus ... only for them to taint his explanations with their Hallowe'en-saturated imaginations. In the end, he gives them what they want to hear to the detriment of the habitants of Christmas Town, Santa Claus and Jack himself.Originally intended as a 30-minute Christmas TV special or a short film adaptation of a three-page poem written by Tim Burton, executives felt it was "too weird" for Disney to make and so it was shelved. After Burton's successes with Beetlejuice and Batman, the studio agreed to make it into a feature-length stop motion with Henry Sellick directing given Burton's commitments to the new Batman Returns at the time. At one stage, the team knew the story but not in its entirety - all eleven songs in the film were written before a word of the screenplay was on the page.Once you say it's a Tim Burton film, people know what to expect - a loner main character, twisted architecture and bizarre character design. All of the above are in abundance in a film some might say this is the most Tim Burton film ever made, despite him not being in the director's chair; he's credited as a producer instead. It's hard not to think of The Nightmare Before Christmas as the most surreal of Burton's films given the almost boundless potential afforded to the production team of building a miniature world with all the gravity-defying structures and unfeasible character design instead of creating it all at a 1:1 scale.It's not going to be a film for everyone (I showed it to people at uni and most of them hated it) but it's built a cult following in the 24 years since it came out to give it the wider audience it never had upon its initial limited release. One gripe is that some of the lyrics in the slower songs are thrown in to get the point across rather than making it a song that flows. That said, it's still a film guaranteed to put a smile on your face from the first viewing for the story to the latest for the amazingly attentive details hidden in the corners of every frame.Best Quote: "Just because I cannot see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it!"
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Ever since I was very little, this has been my favorite movie of all time. I absolutely love Halloween, it's everyday for me, and this movie is, as many would probably argue, the most classic Halloween movie of all time. Not only that, but it can also be watched at Christmas time, though I see it as more of a Halloween movie because even though there are Christmas scenes and the movie takes in November and December leading up to Christmas Eve, with only the first portion of the movie being on Halloween night, even the Christmas scenes in the movie have more of a Halloween vibe to them than Christmas. The movie follows Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween, who after years of the same routine of scaring people, gets tired of this and finds out about Christmas. In his efforts to celebrate Christmas in Halloween Town, instead of celebrating it in a joyful way, they turn it into a fright filled holiday. The stop motion animation is outstanding in this movie, as well as the displays. Each Holiday Town shown in the movie, Halloween Town and Christmas Town, capture the feelings of each holiday so well. Christmas Town is very bright, happy, and joyful with many stripes and bright colors. Halloween Town has a very dark, depressing, and eerie vibe, with oddly shaped gothic buildings, tombstones, and lots of blacks, greys, and oranges. The music in this movie is also amazing. There is only one true Christmas song in the movie which is "What's This" song by Jack Skellington when he discovers Christmas, but it stills helps establish the feel of Christmas time very well. There's many bells, harps, and other light hearted music in this song. All of the other songs in the movie are Halloween songs, and they are amazing. They each have very dark and creepy sounding instruments used, such as violins, cellos, saxophones, and other instruments of that matter. This movie is an absolute must see for any Halloween fans or anyone looking for a great movie to watch around Halloween.
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I was initially put off by the idea that this was a musical but I gradually grew into it. Not being a fan of animated films much either, it's taken me a long while to see this picture, a quarter century sounds a lot worse than twenty five years since the movie came out as I write this. I thought it very creatively done, as Tim Burton is quite adept at putting out these off-beat stories, "Edward Scissorhands" being a personal favorite. The tie-in between Halloween and Christmas is a nicely creative touch, with an eclectic appearance by the Easter Bunny providing a moment of humor. There's even a romance involved, even if Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and Bone Daddy of Halloweentown is oblivious at the outset. The contrasting dark milieu of most of the setting is transformed whenever the Christmas motif takes over, visually stunning by comparison but it's the thing that makes spirits bright. I can't say that I'd make this film an annual holiday viewing, but you probably should see it at least one time to see what you're missing. You'll probably be as surprised as I was.
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With its pioneering use of stop-motion animation, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" will always have its hard-earned place in the annals of film animation history. Conceptually birthed by gothic master Tim Burton and brought to life with the most incredible vision and detail by Henry Selick, it stands as an incredible marriage of creative energy and top-notch artistry.Released in 1993, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" actually predates the collaboration that truly saved Walt Disney Pictures - Pixar's "Toy Story." Both films were groundbreaking in their own right - "Nightmare" for stop-motion and "Toy Story" for computer-generated animation - though as the latter became mainstream, the former continues to be underrated, even today. Regardless, both films show the world-building ingenuity that we've come to expect from animated films in the 21st century.What helps keep "Nightmare" timeless and relevant, however, is that it's steeped in holiday spirit. Halloween and Christmas are two holidays that evoke their own special, unique energy and Burton's story pounces on marrying their two wildly different aesthetics. It's Selick of course, who really sees (and seizes) this opportunity in bringing Halloween Town to life with aplomb.Of the film's many vivid components, however, its story doesn't hold up as well nearly 25 years later. Fortunately, at an unusually brisk 76-minute runtime (likely due to stop-motion's time-consuming nature) it doesn't need to. The film can afford to survive on its whimsy, artistic sight gags and inventive musical numbers. That said, it's not among the more emotionally compelling holiday-themed films either. Yet anyone who has ever been in position to be jealous of Christmas or idyllic depictions of Christmas celebrations might identify with Pumpkin King Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon, singing vocals by Danny Elfman) and his longing to do something different and truly extraordinary. Or if not Jack, then Sally (Catherine O'Hara), a Frankensteinian creation longing to serve her own desires for once, not just that of her maker, the Evil Scientist (William Hickey). Helping us better acquaint ourselves with these characters are Elfman's songs. Although most of them do serve an expository purpose, a few take a moment to bring us closer to Jack and Sally.The musical nature of "Nightmare" shows the film's ambition. It's hard enough to make a film requiring this much detail, let alone set it all to music. Elfman and Burton have been a perfect pair throughout their respective careers; Elfman simply gets the fantastical gothic tone Burton has made his career on. His songs are a great match for the material, even if you can't recall how most of them go in the same way you can the songs of the traditional animation musicals of that time period.In family entertainment, story generally proves to be most important. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a remarkable exception, getting by on its tone, visual effects, creative world-building and the Halloween and Christmas spirit. At times when it feels like a glorified animated short film, best to just remember all the ground it broke as the first mainstream and widely successful stop-motion animated feature.~Steven CThanks for reading! Visit Movie Muse Reviews for more