This weekend I had a hard time deciding what movie to watch. I am still feeling some residual Halloween holiday movies, but Christmas is quickly approaching and I've already made a list of those holiday movies I plan to watch this year. With these mixed holiday feelings there seemed to be only one movie to choose… The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman and Chris Sarandon) longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere!
This is another of those movies that I didn't see until I was older, and haven't really watched since. I was honestly really creeped out by all the monsters even as a young adult and I really wasn't all that fond of Santa being kidnapped! But watching it again this week I was able to see the movie in a new light. Especially now that I fully understand the workings of stop-motion animation, I was blown away by the skill that went into making this movie. Below is part one of a really great behind the scenes video for the making of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is a little long (25 minutes in 3 parts) but is definitely worth a watch! Did you know there were over 400 heads made for Jack Skellington? They were changed out to make his various expressions throughout the movie. So much work and such unbelievable skill!
The musical numbers in this movie are awesome! They are both gruesome and hopeful, a perfect match for the film. My two favourites are the classic "This is Halloween" and "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". I understand that it is odd that one of my favourite songs is one of the reasons I didn't like the movie the first time I saw it. All I can say is that I found it really catchy and found myself singing it for hours after the movie was done! Even though I do still find Lock, Shock, and Barrel very scary they do make one good musical number!
What I love most about Jack is his enthusiasm. Sure, he lets things get a little out of control by trying to take over Christmas. But he does it with his full heart- no holding back! And once he finally realizes the error of his ways, he immediately takes action to set things right. And Jack has got some serious skills! It was very impressive watching him avoid the traps set by Oogie Boogie!
I also love the finale. In true Christmas spirit Santa helps bring Christmas to the citizens of Halloweentown, even though they kidnapped him and attempted to take over Christmas. Everyone is able to experience Jack's wonder and excitement over something new and different. Then there is of course the beautiful finale between Jack and Sally. Who doesn't love a happily ever after?!
Honestly though, this isn't one of my all-time favourite movies. I'm not sure if it's just my lack of nostalgic connection to the film, but while I find it entertaining it isn't a movie I'm going to sit down and watch for anything other than a special holiday movie once in a while. But the world Tim Burton has created is so wonderfully unique and the characters that inhabit it are both terrific and terrifying. It is because of this that I do enjoy the film, though it is mainly because of my appreciation of the amazing talent that went into making this work of art.