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The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

  Directed by: Henry Selick
Written by: Tim Burton, Michael McDowell, Caroline Thompson
Starring: Catherine O'Hara, Chris Sarandon
Music by: Danny Elfman
Links: The Nightmare Before Christmas on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Spooktacular!" - a review by mino

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Tim Burton is one of the greatest filmmakers of the modern era, if not ever. Ignore the one blip on his radar that was the abomination Planet of the Apes (2001), and you're left with one of the most dazzling set of films you'll see collected in one place. Not all of them are genius, I think it's fair to say, but by god they're all good. As far as I'm concerned, if you can consistently produce good movies, it doesn't matter if they're not all great: being able to make good movie after good movie — and not just any movies, but movies that are so distinctively his, so infused with his essence, if you like — is pretty astounding.

Burton can take even an otherwise mediocre film and fill it with wonder and imagination; and the more he lets himself run wild and fill the movie with his own special something, the better it is. This is obviously the case with The Nightmare Before Christmas. While Nightmare isn't actually directed by Burton — and he in fact has only a writing credit — it's pretty obvious that his hand features very heavily in both the content and the look of the film. The fact that its full title is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas would be a giveaway, sure, but even if you ignore that, it's clear just from looking at the film how much it carries the hallmarks of Burton's fevered brain.

Nightmare is a wonderful little stop-motion film which tells the story of Halloween, a mythical town populated with all sorts of ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies whose job it is to come out every October and scare the little kiddies senseless on the day of the same name (there are some obvious comparisons to be drawn with Monsters, Inc. (2001) here). Halloween the day is a great occasion for the residents of Halloween the town; they spend the whole year preparing for it and take great delight in doing a good job. Well, most of them do. The one exception is Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the star of the town's annual festivities and champion scarer, who (unbeknownst to his neighbours) is having something of an existential crisis and starting to feel a bit flat. When Jack discovers another mystical town, though — the town of Christmas — he gets back a bit of his spark and decides that the townsfolk of Halloween can do their bit to make that year's Christmas even more special.

What follows, of course, doesn't go exactly to plan. The idea of frightening children is too ingrained in the ghouls, and they produce some rather horrific gifts. The plan to give Santa some R&R turns into a kidnapping plot, and soon Santa's very life is in danger. The only obstacle to the plan is Sally (Catherine O'Hara), a rather morbid young lady who secretly pines for Jack but thinks his plan is destined to be a disaster…

The Nightmare Before Christmas is an absolute treat, combining some of the best stop-motion animation you'll see anywhere with some brilliantly funny and catchy songs (courtesy of Danny Elfman, who also takes care of Jack's singing parts), some great lines and a rather gentle humour all through the whole thing. It's not perfect — I think the romantic subplot between Jack and Sally is rather tepid, and the ending's rather weak — but it's otherwise an entertaining treat which is almost guaranteed to delight.

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 14 Jul 2004

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Reader comments

  1. this is the best movie ever

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from stephy on Fri 24 Dec 2004 14:25 #

  2. The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the best Tim Burton films it's great i've been watching it since i was 5

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from claire on Sun 27 Mar 2005 22:00 #

  3. I think this hast to be the best movie of all thime the storyis so wounderful.. its so beutiful I think this shoudl be a classice for many years, and every one shoudl see it and school shoudl let us watch it at cristmas time. This movie is his best I hope the games just as good

    A comment from Neko on Wed 01 Jun 2005 01:50 #

  4. this movie is freggin awsome i am a huge fan i have alot of there stuff and im gonna make a sally costume for halloween and were it i also am gonna see the corpse bride i love all of burtons movies there all difrent with the the chareters act he has such a uniec mind that no 1 i mean no 1 can even come close to maken a better movies i loved the movie becouse it was dif it was unexspetted things and all the chareters were awsome! i could watch it over and over again!!!!!!!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from siobhan on Wed 14 Sep 2005 14:35 #

  5. I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH THEY SHOULD MAKE SECOND ONE LIKE WHEN JACK AND SALLY GET MARRIED

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from OLIVIA on Tue 21 Nov 2006 08:31 #

  6. This movie is amazing.
    Best thing of my life.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Dani on Wed 09 Jan 2008 14:48 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (5 ratings)

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