Posted on: December 10, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

The types of movies we get when Christmas comes around are diverse: everything from rom coms to action movies to children’s animation. Although romantic comedies get the most play, some of the best holiday films are animated. Today’s review will look at a film that combines two holidays not through computer generated animation, but the better (in my opinion) stop-motion animation. 

Andrew Pahl

Movie Reviewer

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” was directed by Henry Selick and was written and produced by Tim Burton. This is the story of Jack Skellington, the king of HalloweenTown who is tired of the same old thing every year. While walking through the forest, he stumbles upon doors leading to other holiday villages and becomes fascinated with Christmas Town.

The first thing that needs to be discussed is the animation style. This does have the Tim Burton creepy flair to it, but the real discussion is the stop motion animation. Nowadays when animated films are made, they are 100 percent computer-generated. It may look bright and vibrant, but when you compare it to stop motion, it seems much less grounded. It sounds strange to compare fantasies to reality, but it’s true. With so many amazing shots, sets, lighting techniques, it’s all marvelous.

Unspoken dialogue and symbolism also push the plot forward. The thing we can appreciate with movies when we pay attention closely is when a director shows us something and it is up to us to analyze and discover what it means. The only aspect of the movie I find questionable is the reason the Boogie Man’s kids are used to catch Santa. This action comes out of nowhere and never really leads to anything with them, but the plot had to progress in some way.

The great thing about the characters in this movie is hidden symbolism. Jack, for example, is suffering through depression and is craving something different. Sally is a part of a controlling relationship and wants to break free. The motivations for their actions are clear and concise. While Jack’s views on Christmas are skewed and imperfect, he is at least happy that there is something different he can look forward to. Sally is a sympathetic figure, the one who understands what is right and wrong. Even the mayor of HalloweenTown has hidden symbolism with the laugh-out-loud line, “I can’t make decisions myself. I’m an elected official.”

The aspect of this movie that most people love the most is the music. I can think of many other aspects of this film that come to mind first, but the music is the standout. Danny Elfman is the voice of Jack when he is singing and is responsible for the rest of the music which is great. The best song in my opinion is “What’s This?” There is so much character development in the scene where Jack realizes there is so much more than just his holiday and wants to celebrate it. His curiosity is electric and so fun to see. You can hear it in his voice, and there are so many memorable moments in that scene alone.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is an excellent film, and more filmmakers should revert to stop motion animation. I understand it’s a struggle, but when it is pulled off well, the film can look amazing. I’m giving this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

But one last question: What type of movie is this for you: a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? Let’s get this discussion going.