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TGIF to an extent

August 29, 2008

I’m on vacation so I suppose TGIF is unnecessary. Perhaps it should be, damn, 1 day closer to returning to work. 

What my vacation means is that I haven’t been reading too many comics lately but I have taken the time to catch up on my movie watching. This includes several animated films and today I’ll be looking at a “classic” Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Background: Released in 1993 this film is often hailed by fans as one of Burton’s greatest works, some would even say his masterpiece. Don’t believe search for the movie on Imdb and read the reviews. I’ve never seen such a ridiculous amount of 10/10s. 

Danny Elfman provides the score and the songs for the musical and voices the main character with actor Chris Sarandon. 

The film is made entirely in claymation, animation using clay figures and set pieces and runs at about 75 minutes. 

The Movie: Despite its brevity Burton does manage to shove a full plot with likable characters into the movie. Jack Skellington, the main character, is bored with Halloween stumbles across Christmas-town and sets out to make Christmas his own and almost gets Santa Claus killed. Bares bones summary.

The claymation is well done in this film. If there were a ranking of claymation films (not that there are terrible amount of them) I would place this one in the top 10. However, it would be behind Wallace & Gromit. Those guys have their claymation down.

The songs are cheeky and fun to listen to and dialogue is decent enough. Tim Burton’s unique turn everything into fantastical bullshit style actually fits this film well and doesn’t feel like a hinderance, unlike many of his other movies which leave you wondering which is a bigger character Burton’s world or Johnny Depp. 

For myself and several of my friends the problem with Nightmare is that after the first couple of viewings, it begins to bore. I find it hard to sit through even the first 20 minutes of the film anymore. It’s brevity should make it breeze by but many times I feel as though I’m wallowing through the it. It’s like checking your watch during the Opera hoping to get to the end so you can carry on about how wonderful and what a masterpiece the music was. 

There’s a charm to Nightmare but once you’ve seen it I feel that the charm wastes away with each successive viewing no matter how much time is placed between them. 

I used to casually enjoy Nightmare and nowadays I casually despise it. Mostly it’s due to Hot Topic and the soul-seeking they do to franchises. For an “anti-establishment” store Hot Topic is amazingly good at ruining things. I haven’t let them destroy my love of Family Guy yet but I imagine that a few more crap t-shirts and buttons from them might push me over on that front.

I remember when friends and school acquaintances enjoyed the film for it’s fantastical world and the funny songs. Now, it seems as though people only enjoy because Jack Skellington’s head looks good on a t-shirt or poster. Oooh, check out the awesome Skellington action figure.

Yes, Skellington was a major part of the film but it seems like you’re missing something when that’s your only focus. Remember Zero, the dog? The sewn together chick whose name I never remember? The mayor? Boogeyman?


My Recommendation: Claymation fans should see this film. Stop-motion fans should see this film. People who like whimsy and fantasy should also see this film. Jaded, consumerist teenage whores who shop at Hot Topic should see this film and then stab out their eyes whilst bemoaning the emoistic beauty of Burton and how he gets them. 

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣


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