Sunday, October 30, 2016
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
For all the movies I've seen (and I've seen a looooooot), there are still quite a few glaring blind spots. One in particular was A Nightmare Before Christmas. Well I'm glad to say I've finally watched it, and was mostly not disappointed!...
Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, is feeling dissatisfied with his current lifestyle. When roaming in the woods after Halloween Night, he discovers the land of Christmas, and is immediately fascinated by the holiday, wishing to replicate it himself. He gets the rest of Halloween Town behind the idea, even kidnaping Santa Claus so Jack can take his place, but the patchwork woman Sally, Jack's would-be paramour, is convinced his plan is a bad idea...
A Nightmare Before Christmas is a highly enjoyable movie, though not without some faults. Getting to the positives, the story is fun, albeit a bit underwritten, thanks to the length. I love the film's/characters' ghoulish take on Christmas, though I'm not sure why Jack gives out terrifying presents if the whole reason for his interest in the holiday was fatigue from scaring people year round.
At around 75 minutes, the movie is a little too short for my liking. Sometimes films of that length can be fine, but in this case, I feel the story would've been better if it had more time to tell it.
The soundtrack here is quite good, with many ooky songs, courtesy of Danny Elfman, giving the movie lots of life. Unfortunately it's one of those musicals where the majority is sung! I usually find that pretty annoying, because it can be really restrictive when there's little to no actual dialogue in the story. There is some here of course, as not every scene is musical, but not really enough. I don't like how it takes over half the movie before Jack and Sally even speak. Even more annoying is that it turns out they already know each-other, meaning that after all that time waiting, there's no scene with them finally meeting and getting to know the other, but rather it's a pretty random conversation.
I was fine with most of the plot we do get though one part annoyed me. I was excited to see that Sally was the one saving Santa from the clutches of Oogie Boogie rather than Jack, which would be nicely against type, but nope, she gets captured and it's up to Jack to save them. Another thing I found weird is Jack's inability to understand Christmas despite having read/listened to all the holiday's books, and music. If he's read and listened to all of that, how the hell doesn't he know?
The characters in this film are a ball of fun, from the overexcited Jack, to the more levelheaded and lovelorn Sally, her somewhat deranged creator, the literally two-faced mayor, gambling lord Oogie Boogie, the three mischievous ghoul kids, and of course, Santa himself.
The look of this movie is fantastic! The settings are wonderfully ghoulish, and the character designs look great, from the spindly and skeletal Jack Skellington, to Sally's patchwork nature, and many more. The animation is fantastic, as is Henry Sellick's direction!
And finally, the acting is good all-round, with no bad performances.
A Nightmare Before Christmas is most definitely a fun treat for both Halloween, and Christmas, and its status as a classic is well-deserved...