Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara
Director: Henry Selick
Running Time: 76 mins
The Nightmare Before Christmas is an American film about the story of Jack Skellington, a resident of Halloween Town, who discovers Christmas Town on the other side of a secret door, however he and his fellow citizens struggle to understand the concept of the festival of goodwill.
Well, we all knew that Tim Burton’s imagination is totally messed up, and this is the perfect example of that, but it’s also the best use of his weird creepy humour to make a more entertaining film. Having said that, I personally still struggle to grasp his sense of humour, meaning that I wasn’t really laughing at all in this film, whilst the songs were also another part of the movie that bored me a little.
However, the best thing about this whole film is the story, which is a lot of fun and really engaging. It’s a clever little idea trying to blend Halloween and Christmas, two festivals that never go anywhere near each other, together, and it made for some laughs in the initial stages where Jack Skellington is first discovering Christmas, as well as an interesting contrast to watch.
The latter stages of the film are a lot sadder, but even more interesting than the beginning. This film was quite upsetting for me in the way that the mix of Halloween and Christmas ruin the festive holiday, however I was able to accept that because I knew the creepier characters well enough to understand their confusion with a well-spirited festival (however I didn’t like that at all).
Despite the strength of the story, which makes this film feel like a modern classic fairytale, the comedy, the characters and the songs are all a lot less entertaining and interesting. Starting with the characters, they’re all just an excuse for Mr. Burton’s weird style, and they aren’t particularly interesting or special in any way. Even Jack Skellington doesn’t need to be a skeleton, because apart from living in Halloween town, these characters just seemed like normal people.
Also, due to the fact that I just don’t really like this sort of humour, the comedy wasn’t much fun either. Basically, I’m sure that this is the best film possible if you’re a fan of Burton’s dark humour, but otherwise, it’s just a bit boring to watch, and never explicit enough to really get you laughing if you’re not a fan.
Finally, the songs were definitely a problem. They may have been catchy and very theatrical, but they were just another example of unnecessary musical numbers that added very little to the feel of the film. I really didn’t think that this should have been a musical, and that did bug me quite a bit throughout, so that, along with other issues, is why this gets a 7.1.