Howdy ladies and gents, we’re in the jolly Christmas time of year and with that in mind I want to review a film that I’ve loved since I was a kid which has gotten a lot better as I’ve gotten older. I am of course talking about The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, a being from “Halloween Town” who has grown tired of scaring every Halloween and one day he opens a portal to “Christmas Town” and decides to celebrate the holiday, with some dastardly and comical consequences.
The story is really simple and yet at the same time is really complex and layered. Jack’s story is one that is easy to relate to and also has a few life lessons to be learnt too and it is done in a very effective way because of good pacing and interesting subplots that take place during the main story. You can really tell this has Tim Burton’s style written all over it even though he didn’t direct the film, the tone, story and characters are so rich, full of life and it feels like everything is really well-established even though it is just part of one film.
The cast also do a great job at bringing these animated characters to life and making you care about them. Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington is great, you can see that he’s just a guy looking for a new outlet in life but doesn’t quite know what he’s looking for. Skellington is very bright,well-mannered, if somewhat misunderstood and Sarandon does a good job with the voice work (besides the singing of course). Catherine O’Hara as Sally is a truly wonderful character, Sally is a free-spirited character always under the control of Doctor Finklestein, she admires Jack from afar but can’t quite express her feelings towards him. O’Hara brings a lot of dramatic weight to the character and she is easily just as sympathetic as Jack is if not more so.
William Hickey as Doctor Finklestein is interesting as this weird scientist constantly trying to keep a hold of Sally, I think he means well but comes across as a bit of asshole. Glenn Shadix as Mayor of Halloween Town is great as he’s this very nice guy but has constant mood swings depending on his face which switches from happy to sad. Ken Page as Oogie Boogie is a super charismatic character who is evil, always up to no good and has one killer voice thanks to Page and the kick ass soundtrack. Ed Ivory as Santa Claus is nice though I wish he sounded I dunno a bit more jolly and lively.
When it comes to the presentation it is incredible on both the visual and audio side of things. The stop motion animation in this film is very intricate with loads of very interesting, creepy, dark and varied locations, along with crazy, awesome and strange character designs and some bloody good cinematography. The film moves and looks lovely. But what might be even more impressive is the soundtrack by Danny Elfman who not only composes but lends his voice talent too. For the longest time I’ve loved Elfman as one of my all-time favourite film composers and this has to be one of/if not his best one. His soundtrack is full of musical numbers which are fun, hilarious, strange, sad and so much more, there is a great level of depth to some of the music which at some points really get me emotionally, “Sally’s Song” is one of the most beautiful and melancholy songs I have ever heard, it breaks my heart and makes me teary-eyed every time. Besides the awesomeness of “This Is Halloween“, my other favourite song would be “What’s This“, it is just an incredibly fast, feel-good happy kind of song which embodies my youthful love for Christmas.
In conclusion The Nightmare Before Christmas is a film I just love because of its unique premise, great animation that still holds up pretty well today considering the techniques used and it has one of the best soundtracks to any film ever. I’m annoyed that I don’t watch it more often. I recommend this to anyone young or old as it is one of those film you have to experience in life, period.
Rating: 8.5/10 (A bloody good bit of animated fun, watch it now!)
So what did you think of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Have you seen it (and if you haven’t shame on you!) Also do you like it or not? Whatever your thoughts drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. 🙂