The Nightmare Before Christmas – Is It Worth Watching?

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Is It Worth Watching?

Yun Wai, Staff

This is Halloween! This is Halloween!

Gather around, curl up with your family, and get ready to be spooked by The Nightmare Before Christmas. The stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy was produced by Tim Burton, along with Denise Di Novi in 1993. The story follows Jack Skellington, voiced by Chris Sarandon, as he discovers Christmas Town when he becomes bored of the same routine year after year. This film was originated from Tim Burton’s poem that was written in 1982 as he was working as an animator at Walt Disney Productions. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a must-see film that is favored by both children and adults.

The film starts out as the “Pumpkin King,” Jack Skellington, makes a grand entrance by emerging out of a fire-breathing dragon-themed fountain. He is very respected in Halloween Town, but he describes how he has “grown so tired of the same old thing.” The only person who understands how he feels is Sally, a rag doll, who overhears his singing monologue. Jack wanders around the woods the morning after Halloween and stumbles across seven trees. Each tree contains a door that leads to different towns that represent various holidays and he decides to open a portal and finds Christmas Town. Jack orders the citizens of Halloween Town Christmas-themed jobs and tasks a mischievous trio, Lock, Shock, and Barrel, to abduct Santa Claus. Sally attempts to rescue Santa from Jack’s plan to bring Christmas to the world. However, Jack’s plan eventually leads to the military taking action and taking him down. Jack eventually apologizes to Santa and lets things go back to normal. Santa visits Halloween Town and shouts, “Happy Halloween!” which Jack replies by shouting, “Merry Christmas!” The film ends with Jack and Sally declaring their love for each other in a graveyard.

Jack Skellington is a respected king in Halloween Town and his overall appearance is a skeleton dressed in a black striped suit with a bow tie that resembles a bat. He breaks the status quo and tries to take over Christmas to eventually find out his skills are best suited for Halloween since his plan failed miserably. Sally is a humanoid ragdoll created by Dr. Finkelstein is made of various pieces stitched together and is stuffed with dead leaves. She is in love with Jack Skellington but has a difficult time showing her affection towards the king. The two characters eventually fall in love and share a passionate kiss on top of Spiral Hill. Lock, Shock, and Barrel are a mischievous trio of trick-or-treaters who have masks on their faces and live in a treehouse above Oogie Boogie’s lair. Jack leaves the trio in charge of kidnapping Santa and keeping him safe, but they take him to Oogie Boogie, a sinister burlap sack shaped like a starfish, filled with bugs and has a snake for a tongue. Apparently, he is the shadow on the moon at night who doesn’t believe that Halloween should be a fun holiday and he goes as far as to actually harm humans, which the citizens of Halloween Town are against.

The stop motion animation took about three-and-a-half years to make due to the film being stop-motion. The animation took about 18 months it added up with pre-production, where every shot was storyboarded. About 120 people worked on it and that included 12-17 animators. They had to shoot 24 frames per second, which meant that animators had to create unique motions for 110,000 frames in total. It took about a week to shoot one minute of the movie. Jack Skellington’s suit was supposed to be black, but to have the character stand out more, his outfit was changed to a black suit with white pinstripes. The film was actually supposed to have a different ending where Oogie Boogie was initially supposed to reveal himself to be Dr. Finklestein in disguise.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. The movie was entertaining with fictional characters and musical numbers that convey different messages that build up the film. There is a possible unintentional message to this film which is: don’t take risks. This isn’t an ideal message movie tend to convey since the key to success is taking risks, pushing limits, and overstepping boundaries. However, The Nightmare Before Christmas goes on to convey that when people are unsatisfied with the status quo, they feel the need to make a change. Jack Skellington wants to move on and go in a new direction because he has been doing the same job for years and years. Many could relate to Jack. Imagine having the same routine every single day with no change. Wouldn’t you want to go on an adventure to find a new life? In this film, they convey a message that we may have ideas and intentions but there will always be people in our lives who are going to bring us down, but we have to get back up and always do our best.