The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


Innovative and smart, plus catchy songs. Jack Skellington, Pumpkin King of Halloween town, ventures into Christmas town and tries to hijack the delivery of Christmas from Santa.

Beware the following will contain plot detail.

For fans of cinema, there’s a new year to look forward to and one that will surely start it with a bang is Martin Scorsese’s Silence. For now, here’s one perfect for those reminiscing about Christmas.

To jump straight in, The Nightmare Before Christmas (TNBC) introduces us to the fantasy holiday worlds where the holidays themselves come from. Jack Skellington is the well-respected leader of the Halloween world but after delivering another successful Halloween, he has fallen a tad tired of the monotony. One of the opening songs sums it up with Jack saying “the fame and praise come year after year”. Having seemingly achieved and seen it all, he wanders through the woods only to discover Christmas town where he’s amazed by the new sights, sounds and smells. Reinvigorated, he rushes back to recreate it in his own town and steals Santa’s job. Watching Jack’s fascination of Christmas is a treat as he shares his newfound ideas, which involves creating Christmas presents from Halloween leftovers and of course kidnapping Santa.

With a stop-motion animation as special as this, the plot detail doesn’t describe the full story. A majority of TNBC is made up of entertaining songs which are upbeat and filled with festive joy. At the same time, they cleverly move the plot along like the best of Disney films. The modern equivalent would be Frozen (2013) and, in fact, both have spawned live productions of some form although their similarities end there. Aptly named Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, his creativity and imagination encapsulate each holiday fittingly as well as adding his own flair. Furthermore, every character is well thought out thus what could be dark is instead light-hearted fun.

Having never seen anything similar, I found it completely original, enjoyable, and was impressed enough to check out more Tim Burton films. To finally list a negative, the love story between Jack and Sally wasn’t the strongest but it’s understandable because the whole film’s duration is so short. Other than that, I struggle to find faults. Its success is a great example of why some ideas never change.

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