This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-01-06.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2001 >> The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2001
IMDB Name:
Nightmare Before Christmas, The (1993)
Henry Selick
adventure, animated-feature, musical
MPAA Rating:

Extraordinary Effort

Feature-length claymation represents an astonishing amount of effort. The Nightmare Before Christmas was in production for three years to capture the insane level of detail in hundreds of shots. Nightmare also incorporates incredible visuals with multiple types of animation superimposed on a single negative. The animators pushed the claymation envelope further by using computer-controlled cameras to remove the limitation of fixed perspectives. Best of all, the animation is used to bring to life the vision of one of the world's most inventive motion picture creators-- Tim Burton. The result is certainly impressive and original from a purely visual standpoint. Some of the sequences, especially the delivery of the gifts on Christmas Eve, are very funny.

It is then with reluctance that I conclude that the movie doesn't quite work for me. I think there is a point past which the macabre ceases to set the mood and starts to drag things down. Danny Elfman, a composer whose work I often find exceptional, can't even find the right balance between the exuberance of the characters and the demands of creating the Halloween atmosphere. The story and songs can't soar the way they must to make the movie really successful. The character design is part of the problem. While Jack's face is much more expressive than a proper skull would allow, the drinking- straw design of the rest of his body makes him a singularly uncharismatic hero. Couldn't they at least give him a rib cage?

Other Opinions

Copyright 2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.