Part #2 of the 2017 Christmas Countdown.
It must be incredibly difficult to make a regular stop-motion animation feature. Constantly and painstakingly tweaking models, slowly moving them from pose to pose must be an ordeal, but to use that technique to craft an excellent musical is truly a remarkable feat.
Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman), the hero of Halloweentown, secretly pines for something he can’t put into words. When he accidentally finds himself in Christmastown, he realises that what he is longing for can be found in abundance here; Christmas cheer and goodwill. In a misguided attempt at recapturing the magical feeling of Christmastown, Jack kidnaps Santa Claus and tries to bring Christmas to Halloweentown.
Musicals are heavily reliant on the quality of their songs. Not only must they be catchy and entertaining, they must also drive the story forward. Luckily, composer Danny Elfman produced some of his best work on The Nightmare Before Christmas. Two songs in particular stood out for me, the ensemble introduction and Oogie Boogie’s (Ken Page) ominously upbeat tune towards the end. Both are completely different to one another, but both fit perfectly into the story.
Every second of The Nightmare Before Christmas oozes originality and inventiveness. It’s unmistakeably the brainchild of Tim Burton – from the gothic feel to the loveable misfit protagonist, this has his fingerprints all over it. However, it took an extraordinary effort from the director, Henry Selick, to bring it all to life.
There are elements to The Nightmare Before Christmas that might upset younger children, but there’s an infectious energy here that makes it a must-see at Christmas time.