My opinion on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The film begins in a middle of a forest and we see 6 trees that have very distanced doors that represent each holiday and lead into different worlds of those particular holidays as told by use through the narrator Patrick Stewart. We then cut to one of the tree doors in the shape of a Jack O Lantern as it opens and immediately it starts off with a musical song. The famous song "This is Halloween" is an introduction into to the most bizarre characters and their personalities as well as the town of Halloween itself and how its operated and your instantly sucked into their world. I think the song illustrates that these characters I assume have done this for decades or even probably centuries, and what I like about this particular song is that maybe these creatures aren't exactly what they seem in their own world as opposed to the human world, the line "Life's no fun without a good scare, that's our job but we're not mean in our town of Halloween" helps us have different perspective of what monsters under the bed might be like, it does back to the phrase "Never judge a book by its cover." We see Vampires, Witches, a Werewolf and a lot of other creatures are preparing for the festivities for the arrival of Jack Skellington The Pumpkin King as the song begins to close to an end, he's basically the most frightening thing to ever be witnessed dead or alive and is the go to guy when it comes to bringing new ideas for their holiday tradition/celebration and they chime in and make the plans work and really it gives you a sense of being in a community despite the fact that's it's being run by ghoulish creatures.
But there's something wrong with Jack, as we cut to him in a graveyard and calls his Ghostdog named Zero. He then sing a song (Jack's Lament) describing how much of what he's capable of just how terrifying he can actually be, but it seems that he's grown disinterested and bored with the Halloween tradition and the way things have been running for years, deep into his empty bones he longing for something else but does know what it is or where to find it or even how to find it. If he were to tell anyone he'd worry that they wouldn't be able to understand to point of view and that being put on a higher petistol isn't what is cracked up to be. But it's never that simple because if he were to leave everything he'd feel he's letting his town's people down but he also wants to be happy, so he's caught in a dilemma he can't get himself out of. One of my favorite scenes is Jack walking down the spiral hill almost as if it's coming to life and in a way actually the town of Halloween itself is also a character based on some of the architecture and how the creatures interact in their surroundings. As Jack sings, Sally is also at the graveyard and listens in on Jack's dilemma. She understands where he's coming from, the feeling of emptiness with no way of escaping.
So then we cut to Sally who is a living Rag Doll made by Dr. Finkelstein, whenever she has the chance she sneaks out but not without slipping deadly night shade into whatever her creator eats as illustrated in the beginning of the film where we met Sally. Jack continues to contemplate as him and Zero walk into the woods. Later in the morning the Mayor comes to Jack's house to discuss future Halloween plans, but there was no answer, the Mayor and the town's people begin to grow suspicious knowing that Jack has been gone for several hours. As thats going on Jack continues to wander through the woods he discovers a different part of the woods and notices the tree doors we saw at the very beginning of the film. But there is one tree door that immediately grabs his attention which has a shape of a Christmas Tree. So out of curiosity he opens the door to look inside but nothing happens, though seconds later he gets sucked in and when he's entered into the unknown world he takes a glance and is absolutely awe struck of what he witnesses. We then get tuned into another song sequence (What's This?!) as Jack is like a child in a play store, literally everything around him has him curious the people, the buildings, the toy the decorations, and just by the atmosphere of this town has him enthusiastic, it's like a breath of fresh air to him. Although it really isn't that much different from Jack's own Halloween world, there a few similarities, both worlds have a real good sense of being a great community and both those worlds have very welcoming citizens and seem to be very cheerful well for the most part, the only difference is this new world it isn't as dreary, gloomy, or grostesgue, we see Elfs throwing snowballs instead of heads the people are more except in this wor Jack then comes across a sign that reads Christmastown the name of the town that he's in and suddenly sees a figure from a distant who people in this town call Santa Clause.
Jack Skellington then returns back to his own world with some stuff he brought from Christmastown and calls for a town meeting with the citizens of Halloweentown. Everyone gathers for the town meeting including Sally who of course snuck out and Jack come up in stage to explain were he's been all day starting off with another song (Town Meeting Song) describing what he's found in the world called Christmastown, he reveals to them a Christmas Tree with some presents and are instantly curious, although Jack tries to explain to them the people just can't seem to grasp the concept of what Jack is explaining to them, they keep associating this new stuff to Halloween and there completely different, but it isn't their fault of not understanding, the way they operate in their own world is what they've been use to for years and to see Christmas stuff of course they aren't gonna immediately comrprehend the any of the Christmas things new because they've never been expose to that kind of stuff and never even knew a place like that even exists until it was acknowledged by Jack, and to an extant he himself doesn't even comprehend the concept of Christmastown and how it works. Jack then tells a little story about Santa Clause or "Sandy Claws" as the people call him in Halloweentown to get the crowd excited although he's still just giving more misconpeptions.
So after the town meeting he's in his room figuring the "true" meaning of what Christmas is about. So the next morning he visits Dr. Finklestein to borrow some aquipment to conduct some experiments. As Jack returns to his home he begins his experiments but there's no such luck of him getting any results. There's even a moment where Jack makes a Snowflake but instead it comes out a a Spider in a Spirderweb which I found kind of humorous. He's been working in these experiments all night but nothing. Sally takes notice of this and gives Jack a piece offering, it's clear that she has strong feelings for Jack but lately he's preoccupied with this whole Christmas thing. As Sally sits by the gate she picks up a dead flower and begins to pluck the flower and something magical happens as the dead flower has now changed into a little Christmas Tree, but really it's a preminision of what's to come. Later in the morning Jack is still locked up in his home as he sings (Jack's Obsession) baffled as ever having figuring out putting the pieces of what's the meaning of Christmas. But eventually he comes to his own conclusion that maybe their isn't any hidden meanings and that Christmas is whatever he makes it to be, he announces to everybody that they will celebrate Christmas this year and they cheer.
Later everyone waits in line for advice from Jack to help make Christmas, Jack recruits 3 mischievous little children named Lock, Shock, and Barrel for a top secret mission to bring Santa Clause into their world, although they sing a song (Kidnap The Sandy Claws) about planning their own hidden agendas of what they will do to Santa. Either take him to Oogie Boogie who is the ruthless creature in their world or maybe just torture him for fun. I think this illustrates maybe not everyone in the town of Halloween is as welcoming as some might be so there's definitely some corruption within their world as opposed to the town of Christmas where almost everyone in that world is very welcoming. Later that night as Jack helps everyone get ready for their very first celebration of Christmas Sally comes in and tries to warn Jack about her preminision, but Jack is so blindsighted within his spirit of Christmas that he doesn't heed any of her warnings. We then get another song (Making Christmas) describing everyone working together preparing for the festivities as though they were getting ready for Halloween, and what's funny is that their decorations aren't very different from their original Halloween decorations so their still a lot of misconceptions going on. We see a Duck with sharp teeth and bullet holes, presents wrapped with a spider bow, and hat made out of Bat skin. And you know the thing is none of these people really mean to cause any harm or to frighten anybody these creatures are simply just wanting to celebrating the Christmas spirit but they're just celebrating it the only way that they know how. Jack steps outside and is in awe struck of his own vision coming to life and has never felt this much joy and it might be the first time in so long that he was truly happy. As the song comes to a close they prep the sleigh and the skeleton reindeers are ready to take flight. So as Santa is ready to deliver some presents he the doorbell rings he answers it and sees Lock, Shock, and Barrell as they bag him. We then cut to Sally pleading to Jack to listen to her warning but Jack is still preoccupied, he sees The Boggie's Boys come back with Santa in the giant bag. He comes out of the bag and everyone is in shock seeing the real life Santa Clause in person, Santa opens his eyes and wonders where he is. The way they shot Santa's point of view to me always seemed he was caught into a terrible nightmare with no way of waking up. What I kind interesting is that both Jack and Santa have had a glimpse of each of their own different dimensions and that Jack first saw Santa's world as colorful, warming, and full of light, while Santa's first viewing of Jack's world is more of a hellish nightmare with no way of waking up. But neither is these characters understand how each of their others worlds work as Santa is being halted away to Oogie Boogie and questions his minions about peace on Earth and good will towards men. We then cut to Sally devising a plan to stop Jack while she sees Dr. Finklestein creating another being which I will get to later at the end of the film. Meanwhile Santa is being forced down a pipe leading him to Oogie Boogie as he sings a song (Oogie Boogie Song) about who he is and what he's gonna do to Santa. Oogie likes to gamble with people's lives before he kills or eats them but the thing is with Oogie Boogie is he cheats when things don't go well to his own favor so he doesn't always play fair.
Everyone gathers around for the celebration while Sally pure Fog Juice into the water fountain. As Jack is about ready to take flight the fog starts to grow fast that it becomes too misty for the skeleton reindeers to see within an inch of their noses, Jack is saddened by this as everyone else is. But then Zero comes to him and Jack notices something about Zero, his Jack O Lantern nose is bright enough to lead the way for him and the reindeers so Jack put Zero as the head of the team, a clear wink to the audience of the story of Rudolph: The Red Nose Reindeer. Sally is then devistated and she sings (Sally's Song) of her fears of what will come to Jack and the citizens of Halloween. As much as she understands his pain and that he just wants to be happy she's still has her doubts, and she even questions will he ever acknowledge her love she has for him. I think the song illustrates Sally as character representation of oppression, she has to poison her creator and sneak out of her house just to go places or events she never allowed to attend, she's constantly being controlled by Dr. Finklestein and she has no free will of her own. And I think what I got from that she's learn to oppress certain feelings she has, mostly towards Jack Skellington, and you start to feel sad because of just the sense of hopelessness and it's very dark and depressing.
Jack rides off into the night to deliver the presents, he then lands on the first house he spots and makes a noise that wakes up a little boy and assumes it's Santa. The boy runs down stairs and is caught by an unpleasant surprise of a Skeleton man dressed as Santa. Jack gives the boy a present as he takes off, the boy's parents come downstairs and ask their son what Santa brought him, the boy opens the present and finds a shrunken head and the parents freak out. Since then there have been a number of complaints to the police about being attacked by Christmas toys as they believe this was done by the works of an imposter destroying their holiday which causes them to take military action.
Sally gets wind of this from looking through the Witch's pot and goes out to find Santa Clause. While that's going on the military men switch on their search lights and load their tanks to take down the imposter, the military commence firing but Jack thinks their congratulating him on spreading his Christmas cheer not knowing that they are trying to kill him. We then cut back to Oogie Boogie's lair as Sally attempts to distract him so she can rescue Santa, failing she also gets captured by Oogie Boogie. Back into the human world Jack and his reindeer head higher in the night sky although one of the searchlights spots him and the military shoot him down, Jack's sleigh blows up and he begins plumiting to the ground. The town's people witness this and assume he's dead, the Mayor breaks the bad news to everyone that Jack Skellington I'd dead. The human world is also delivered with bad news that there's no trace of Santa Clause and that they have to cancel Christmas. What I got out of watching the scenes of Jack portraying Santa Clause is that it's somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The only differences are that both The Grinch and Jack Skellington both have different intentions and both outcomes of that are reversed. The Grinch wanted to destroy Christmas by stealing presents, food, and decorations but people were still able to celebrate the holidays regardless, while Jack wanted to bring his own Christmas cheer with the best intentions but the outcome of that leaves everyone feeling extremely sad and creates a very bleak scenario for everyone for not just the human world, but the Christmas world and the Halloween world as well as Jack Skellington when he realizes the damage he's done as we cut to him singing (Poor Jack) about how he failed everybody including himself as we see him on top of a statue of an angel in a cemetery where his sleigh crashed landed. But he also ecknowledged of how he nearly did the impossible flying through the sky and leaving new tales to tell, it's at that moment when he fully embraced who he was truly was meant to be The Pumpkin King which kind of inspires him to bring in new and terrifying ideas and be more creative with them, but there one little thing he has to fix first, save Santa Clause.
Jack and Zero rush to Oogie Boogie's lair to rescue Santa and Sally, Oogie Boogie attempts nearly almost kills them but in a mid second Jack saves them. Both Jack and Oogie have a showdown as Oogie sets up these elaborate traps. But Jack manages to escape them, he finally defeats Oogie Boogie by pulling a loose string and a pile of bugs fall down into the lava. Jack then apologizes to Santa for nearly destroying his Holiday and Santa tells Jack that Sally is the one person that has sense in this town and that he should listen to her more often which goes back to Jack never having to acknowledge any of her warning and how Sally truly feels about him. So as Santa leaves the Mayor and Oogie's ex-henchman find Jack alive. Just in the nick of time Jack and Santa were able fix the holidays and set thing back to the way things were. So after that everyone gathers around to find Jack Skellington alive and well. Then out of nowhere it starts snowing which has never happened in their world, guess they were able to have a Merry Christmas in the end, we see creatures making snow angles, playing hockey with a pumpkin, and throwing snowballs. And what I got from watching that scene was that it's nice to have traditions but there's always room for something new for a change and that sometimes there can be exceptions to the rule. So after that Sally then walks to the spiral hill and Jack follows, we see Sally curiously pick a dead and begins to pick the pebble until Jack arrives and offers to join by her side and both realize they're meant to be together and we end the film, what I saw in that particular scene when she's picking the pebbles from the flower was that maybe it was gonna end up another preminision, but as she put the flower down I think she realizes that maybe its sometimes best not to know every single outcome of the future and that everything isn't set in stone.
A few things watching the film is that it's mostly about discovery and rediscovery either good and bad. Here's what I mean, Jack Skellington has grown bored if Halloween ways and yearns for something different, he goes into a different part of the woods and find a door way to another world and discovers Christmastown and tells the town people of this new world. Sally picks a flower and pulls pebbles off of it and becomes a Christmas tree but then it bursts into flames and Sally discovers this premonition of what's to comes and tries to warn Jack about it. Jack tries to spread his own Christmas cheer but discovers that maybe it just wasn't meant to co-exist the way that he wanted it to, but later rediscovers his roots and embraces his thrown as The Pumpkin King. As Jack rescues Santa he's able to discovers his love her Sally. And in the near end of the film the creatures discover that it's snowing which is really new in their world.
There's one thing I haven't really talked about a lot, the animation. The animation goes back to those stop motion Christmas specials played on television and they still hold up to this day even though it was made over 20 years ago. You really get sucked in to the world with its distinctive designs and characters almost as makes you forget your watching a claymation film. Also the songs in this film are truly remarkable because they they aren't just songs, they serve a purpose to the story and represents how some of the characters are like and tells us some of the characters thoughts, feelings, motives, and objectives each song has a point of being put in the film when it's needed.
A few facts to throw out, originally it was made as a peon by Tim Burton and wanted to make it into a film but Disney at the time wasn't up for the idea.
Henry Selick ( who directed James and The Giant Peach, Monkeybone, and Coraline) directed this for those who don't know, Tim Burton couldn't direct it because he was busy directing Batman Returns.
At the time this film was released it didn't get as much good reviews now in this day in age it's considered a timeless classic and it is, it was way ahead of its time in my opinion.
So overall, I like this film a lot better than when I first saw it and I liked this film even back when I first saw it, I'm always finding new things whenever I watch this film. I watch it almost each year on the month of either September or October. In fact most of the artwork I've done in the past I took inspiration from this film. I'll give this film an A. It's definitely worth viewing for Tim Burton fans and fans of animation.