Movie Review: Nightmare before Christmas (1993)

This film also goes by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, was based on a poem Tim Burton wrote in 1982. In 1990, Tim Burton made a deal with Disney to produce and release the film through Touchstone Pictures because they thought it was too dark. Released on October 29th, 1993, this musical stop motion movie surprised everyone and made $76 million. Disney rereleased it on 3D annually from 2006 to 2009.

Set in Halloween town where monsters, goblins, witches and creatures of all kind lived. They are lead by Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman), their pumpkin king, to organize their Halloween event every year. With Halloween finished, the citizens expect Jack to start planning next years event, not knowing how tired Jack is from the same traditions. Jack wants something new and exciting. While thinking and taking a walk in the woods, Jack finds a grove of seven trees, each with a symbol from other holidays. Jack tries the Christmas one, finding himself transported to an unfamiliar place. Jack spies, learning as mush as he can before returning to Halloween town. Excited, Jack runs to the center of town telling his people about this new place but they don’t understand. Then Jack gets the idea that they will take it over. Jack assigns jobs to everyone. Jack specifically asks Sally (Catherine O’Hara), a stitched up doll that was in love with him, to sew him a red suit like “Sandy Claws.” Jacks tasks the three trick – or – treating children Lock (Paul Reubens), Shock (Catherine O’Hara) and Barrel (Danny Elfman) to kidnap Santa Claus (Edward Ivory) and bring him back to Halloween town. Sally has reservations about Jack’s plan but Jack ignores her and goes home to study up on Christmas.

Shock, Lock and Barrel do as their told but rather than bring Santa Clause back to Jack Skellington, they took him to Oogie Boogie (Ken Page), the gambling addicted boogeyman. Oogie Boogie comes up with a new game where Santa’s life is at stake. Finding out, Sally tries to save Santa and ask for his help but Oogie Boogie captures her too.

Meanwhile Jack delivers Halloween styled presents to the world but it ends up scaring the people rather than bringing joy. Military gets involved and tries to shoot Jack down. Jack escapes back to Halloween town. He finds Oogie Boogie’s lair. Oogie tries to kill Jack but Jack unravels Oogie’s string causing all the bugs to fall into the hot cauldron, ending Oogie Boogie. Jack gets Sally and Santa down. Santa returns to Christmas town, restoring peace. Santa even comes back to Halloween town and brings snowfall so the townsfolk to play with. Jack and Sally end up in the graveyard protecting their love. 

This is a hit or miss for a lot of people. You either love it or hate it. It is also constantly questioned on whether you should watch it during Halloween season or Christmas but its really both. Personally I love The Nightmare before Christmas because of what it took to make it. The Stop motion process is just a whole other level or complicated but brilliant the way Tim Burton and his crew managed it. I assigned this film for my next Film class and the kids will need to make their own short version. Also, there are a number of disney easter eggs and theories surrounding The Nightmare before Christmas. Signing of with my favorite song

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