I didn't realise how big of a deal this film was before doing this review. It turns out that loads of people love this movie, there was even a showing for it in a cinema in Leeds on Halloween this year. Despite it being made close to 25 years ago in 1993, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is still regularly watched a talked about up until this day!
As for what I knew about this film... well I did know that "This is Halloween" was a thing. I had never seen the movie before, and to be honest, I didn't think I'd like it at first, but after seeing everyone recommending it, I was a bit more optimistic.
After the film's spooky "This is Halloween" intro, "The Nightmare Before Halloween" introduced us to the main character named Jack. Jack Skellington, who's also known as the Pumpkin King, is bored of scaring people and feels empty inside from having to do it over and over again every year.
After a few minutes of Jack singing about his problems, he comes across Christmas Land. This place opens his eyes to what else is out there, it fulls him with wonder but also confusion. Which leads up to him wanting to take Santa's place.
So we have to see how well (or not well) that turns out!
My Thoughts After Watching
The Nightmare Before Christmas was a short film at a 1.16-hour runtime, and unfortunately, I do think that the pacing wasn't the best. I mean it wasn't terrible, but some parts did drag a bit, but then some bits went too fast. That the thing, I feel like there is just the right amount of content for the film, but the timing of everything is just a bit off. For example, the first part of the film seems to zoom past, whereas there are some parts later on that drag a bit.
That doesn't mean that the story wasn't fun and creative. I liked the idea of a Halloween character getting bored and wanting to move over to another festive season. I also thought that the different lands for all the festive seasons' idea were creative too.
The script was also out of the ordinary too, and I'm not just saying that because most of the characters sung for most of the time instead of speaking. It seems different because it all sounds like a storybook. It uses that simple, easy to digest language found in short stories; it's a pretty nice touch that I think works well.
So while the story isn't perfect, it is fun to watch and creative. I just think that Disney messed up on its pacing.
The characters were likeable but didn't have much of a backstory and weren't that deep. They were fun in their limited personalities though.
Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon) is a Skeleton who's referred to as the Pumpkin King. He is tired of his repetitive life of scaring people, and always praise from Halloween town at Halloween. He's curious, jolly and cares for the townspeople. Everyone looks up to him, and he's the guy that everyone (even the mayor) goes to for help.
Sally (voiced by Catherine O'Hara) is a female humanoid ragdoll. Dr Finkelstein made her, but she doesn't like him and keeps trying to kill him. She looks out for Jack and the town and tries to advise them out of situations that she sees won't go well.
Mayor (voiced by Glenn Shadix), yeah that's his actual name apparently, is the (you guessed it) mayor of Halloween town. He's a kind of human looking, cone-shaped person, and even though he's the mayor he finds it really hard to make decisions for himself and usually relies on Jack to help him run the town. He panics really quickly if things aren't going as they should.
The visuals in this film are great; they are stop motion with some hand-drawn animation on top of it at some points.
The sets and characters look creative and unique and fit in with their Halloween or Christmas themes.
The camera-work was pretty good and helped to give the film a spooky vibe; the movie was also quite dark and desaturated at times.
This film is a musical in its purest scene. The characters sing for most of the film, and there are times when they talk along to the music, it's kind of like what you'd see in something like Les Miserables. Most of the songs in this film are very catchy; everyone knows "This is Halloween", but there's a song called "What's this" that is even more catchy in there. The voice acting is all great too, and the film score is well made.
The Nightmare Before Christmas was a straightforward film, while it was charming it wasn't at all deep, and there wasn't much to it. The stop-motion was well made, and there are lots of creative visuals throughout the films.
While not all of the songs were amazing, they all were still good, and some of them were catchy. The characters were likeable too, and even though they weren't well rounded, they were fun to watch.
The pacing wasn't the best, but it was ok.