The Nightmare Before Christmas Review

Tim Burton kids' films (I can't believe those words are in the same sentence) are like little kids' first introduction to what acid trips look like. And, I don't think acid trips are better represented than in the classic stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas. When you combine such a crazy director/writer with such a cheery holiday, you get a surreal, creative, overhyped musical hallucination.

I guess I should get on to the story. In the town of Halloween, the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) has become bored of doing the same thing year after year. He feels trapped inside his little world of doing nothing but scaring people and longs for something new. As he walks through the forest, he comes across a circle of trees, each with a door shaped like a symbol of each holiday. He opens a door shaped like a Christmas tree and is thrown into Christmas Town. He immediately falls in love with the holiday to the point of obsession. He describes the holiday in a way that gets all the residence of Halloween to help him steal Christmas. But, since they're all monsters and only know how to scare, they make terrifying toys for the children of the world, with Jack posing as Santa. I'll have to leave the plot there.

Now, I should point out that I NEVER saw this movie as a kid. I heard a lot about it, but never saw it until recently. I say this because, I honestly think that its like How the Grinch Stole Christmas; it's one of those specials you NEED to grow up with in order to look past the stupidly obvious plot-holes and just enjoy it.

Now, before you go rushing down my door to kill me, please here me out. I'm not saying that I hate this film; I just don't like it that much because there are too many distracting story elements. For example, there's this Frankenstein-ish lady (Catherine O'Hara) who's in love with Jack, but we never see them share any onscreen chemistry until the end of the film. We don't even know how long she's liked Jack; it just comes out of nowhere. On top of that, they share one segment of almost 45 sec of screen time, with neither of them talking, apparently meeting for the first time, and in the next scene when they meet, Jack somehow knows her name. What happened here?!

That's why I say that it's like How the Grinch Stole Christmas; in that, the Grinch, the Whos, and the world are all there. They're never explained, but I don't question it because I grew up with it. With me watching this now, I see all kinds of tidbits like that take me out of the experience. That, and the stop-motion animation. Because I have ADHD, stop-motion is really distracting for me because it takes so much preciseness and detail, and every detail demands my absolute attention. So, trying to focus on everything at once can really take me out of it.

Believe it or not, though, I actually think there's some good stuff in the movie. The premise itself is phenomenally creative. I believe that if Tim Burton had never thought of this, nobody would've done it. The stop-motion, while distracting, is very fun to watch, as well.

The point where the movie excels the most, though, is in the music. Composer Danny Elfman, who plays the singing voice of Jack, also wrote all of the songs and does a fantastic job. I could honestly listen to the soundtrack for the film over and over and be more satisfied than actually watching the movie. Needless to say, they're a ton of fun to listen to.

Synopsis: Yes, this film is totally overhyped and no, I don't know what parents are doing showing this to their kids. However, if you just buy the soundtrack, not only will you be entertained, but also glad that you weren't completely disappointed by this film because you didn't watch it. Yes, it has an entertaining premise but the plot itself doesn't exactly have a lot of meat to it. I'm sorry, fans, but this movie is just not for me or, in my opinion, anyone else who wasn't raised by it.

Score: 4/10


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