Childish Fantasy
The Nightmare Before Christmas
.
Dir: Tim Burton
Star: (Voices) Chris Sarandon, Catherine O' Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix
Cert / Year: PG - PG / 1993
Format: DVD R2
'

Disillusioned with his seemingly mundane existence, Jack Skellington (The Pumpkin King) is bored with the traditional annual celebration's for his home of Halloween Town. Not exactly a healthy point of view for Jack to have as he is the centre of the towns festivities and the most highly regarded member of the "community" of vampires, ghosts and ghouls.

As the town sing Jack's praises after another succesful Halloween, he meanders away from town and his adulation feeling a little melancholy and keen do to conduct some serious soul searching. Losing all track of time, Jack walks all night and in the bright ray's of the morning sun he stumbles upon a clearing in a forest which has a series of tree's all with different pictures upon their trunks. Entering the door with the brightly coloured orbs upon a tree, Jacks falls headlong into the abyss and appears in a strange and vividly bright new world, covered in snow and with an elatious feeling.

After his experience in Christmas Town, Jack is fixated with this Christmas thing and sets about translating it for his fellow townsfolk in an attempt to take the holiday over for themselves..... with potentially disasterous results.

If you are not a big fan of musicals then you may be put off by the frequent singing, but it would be shame to let that stop you from watching this positively enchanting film. The occasionally jolly music is written by Danny Elfman who also provides the singing voice for Jack, and has provided some superb and lyrically stimulating music which combined with the fabulous stop-motion animation means that you tend not to care too much about the frequent singing.

Based on the story and characters created by Mr. Oddball himself Tim Burton the film is quaint yet enchanting in it's childlike simplicity and yet seems to work better than other similar stories notibly Dr Seuss' The Grinch That Stole Christmas. Directed by Henry Selick a long time friend of Burton and seasoned director of stop-motion animation the film is a captivating display of state of the art animation and unique design. Visually stunning from the monochrome landscape's of Halloween Town through to the vibrant atmosphere of Christmas Town this is an entertaining and highly watchable film that can be appreciated by both a more mature audience as well as kid's.

The vocal talents used are excellent and compliment the animation superbly, from Jack (Chris Sarandon) and Sally (Catherine O' Hara) the rag doll creation of Dr Finkelstein (William Hickey) through to the typically two faced politician in the shape of Halloween Town's mayor (Glenn Shadix). Stop-Motion is a laborious animation technique which is very time consuming, often overlooked during the current trend which leans more toward computer graphics but when it is done right like with this film then it produces some unique and unparralelled results. The character design and realisation is stunning as is the set design and cinematography, and although it may be a bit strange or weird to some viewers it is I think one of the better Christmas movies of recent years.

Definately one of those film's that you can watch every year to give you a nice warm and fuzzy feeling (if you like that sort of thing) and get you in the Christmas mood.

Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1:66.1 Sharp, grain free image. Look's great
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Marvellous
Features Interesting and quite in depth "Making of" documentary
Deleted Scenes and Animated Sequences
Storyboards & Image Galleries
2 early short film's by Tim Burton; Frankenweenie (boring but kitch) and the superbly poetic "Vincent" narrated by the late and very great Vincent Price (well worth watching)
Verdict Excellent film which is more likely to appeal to a more mature audience, and some good extra's.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home