The Nightmare Before Christmas
Take a Trip to Halloween Town in this Tim Burton Classic
By Jack Kelly
It's become a yearly debate - when is it too early to start celebrating Christmas? Is it the moment Halloween is over, or should Christmas trees only be allowed to go up after the Late Late Toy Show? Many an opinion piece has been written about the matter, so I'll spare you any further ramblings on the matter. (to be honest, if it was up to me, we'd start celebrating Christmas in June) However, this very idea inspired producer Tim Burton (yes, I couldn't believe he didn't direct it either) to imagine the world of 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.
The story follows Jack Skellington, the star of Halloween celebrations in 'Halloween Town' - a town inhabited with monsters, werewolves and witches. After Halloween finishes for yet another year, Jack has grown weary of the celebration and strives for something else. A chance visit to 'Christmas Town' later, and Halloween Town is soon making plans to celebrate the holiday season.
Right out of the gate, watching this movie is a feast for both the eyes and ears. The stop motion animation is absolutely gorgeous and imbues the creepy cast of characters with life and energy. It's difficult to put into words, but the personality that this form of animation gives to the movie is second-to-none. Likewise, the movie is filled with toe-tapping songs, with my personal favourites being 'What's This?' and 'Town Meeting Song'. Having said this, however, I don't think every song is all that great and most songs (even the good ones) suffer from sounding very similar to each other.
A special shout out has to go to the character designs. A movie like this lives and dies on its creature design, and there are some real gems in TNBC. Naturally, you have your classic werewolves, vampires and witches - but you also have monsters that live inside another monster's hat, or a love interest that can sew herself back together or a mayor that gives a whole new meaning to 'split personality'.
I guess this kind of ingenuity epitomises TNBC. It's what I would call an 'idea movie' - which is to say, there are a host of legitimately great ideas present in the movie's 76-minute runtime. Does it do everything possible with those ideas, or develop them fully? It definitely does not, but do you really care when the concept is as good as it is? So, no matter when you think we should start celebrating Christmas (I'm telling you, we should dust off a bit of Michael Bubl√© in June), start off celebrating it right by watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.