Film: The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Film:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Director: Henry Selick
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For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy. It is based on characters created by Burton, the former Disney animator best known as the director of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and the first two Batman movies. His benignly scary-funny sensibility dominates the…

Reviews

Amazon.com

For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy. It is based on characters created by Burton, the former Disney animator best known as the director of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and the first two Batman movies. His benignly scary-funny sensibility dominates the story of Halloweentown resident Jack Skellington (voice by Danny Elfman, who also wrote the songs), who stumbles on a bizarre and fascinating alternative universe called…Christmastown! Directed by Henry Selick (who later made the delightful James and the Giant Peach), this PG-rated picture has a reassuringly light touch. As Roger Ebert noted in his review, “some of the Halloween creatures might be a tad scary for smaller children, but this is the kind of movie older kids will eat up; it has the kind of offbeat, subversive energy that tells them wonderful things are likely to happen.” —Jim Emerson

Barnes and Noble

From the macabre mind of visionary eccentric Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) comes this tour de force of stop-motion animation that explores the world of holidays with gleeful black humor and stunning visual inventiveness. Conceived and produced by Burton and directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas chronicles the exploits of Pumpkin King Jack Skellington who, tiring of a life dedicated to bringing Halloween terror to children everywhere, decides to try his hand at Christmas instead. While he never quite grasps the essence of the holiday, Jack exhibits more true affection and imagination than the stern and workmanlike Santa Claus. The vivid imagery—the spindly denizens of Halloweenland; the greedy, chubby-faced children awaiting their presents; the chipper garishness of Santa’s workshop itself—lingers when the film is over, as do Danny Elfman’s wonderfully catchy songs. Functioning both as a sly dig at the mindless consumerism of Christmas and an argument for finding out what you do best and sticking with it, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a refreshing alternative to saccharine, mainstream holiday cinema. Amy Robinson

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