‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Review: But What Does It Mean?

Posted in Screening Room by - December 25, 2014

Today’s entry for the Kulture Shocked Christmas Movie Marathon is the 1993 classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Chris and I have discussed in our reviews and numerous episodes of The Kulturecast, that it is actually extraordinarily hard to review good movies. It’s rather easy to shred mediocre films for bad acting, bad script writing, bad set design, lame music, etc. But, when a movie has so many things that are simply fantastic, reviewing gets a tad more difficult. Mostly because as a writer you simply want to say “It’s great, go see it!”. However, with The Nightmare Before Christmas, a fantastic movie that’s been out for 20 years, I’d probably be hard pressed to find people that haven’t seen this movie, so simply saying “It’s great, go see it!” is rather asinine. 

For those that don’t know, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Tim Burton masterpiece that tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King from the Town of Halloween. Jack grows tired of his success at Halloween due to there not being anything “new” for him. He stumbles into a wood that has doors to different holidays, and get’s sucked into Christmastown. He discovers the holiday of Christmas and is so entranced by it that he attempts to create his own “better” version. As the story progresses, Jack realizes his love of Halloween, saves Santa Claus, and by association Christmas. All in all, a great holiday film and has been a December staple for my family for years.

To me, the best part of this film is its soundtrack. I’ve written before about the greatness that is Danny Elfman, and this film is no different; he delivers a timeless classic in his soundtrack. Not to mention Elfman lends his singing talent to the role of Jack Skellington. Music and sound design are always the first thing I judge a movie on. Actors can warm up into their roles, script writing can improve as the story unfolds, however music & sound design is post production. There are no second chances, and the paragons of film music are able to hit it out of the park every time. Think about your favorite films. I would be willing to wager that their scores were written by either John Williams, Danny Elfman, Michael Giacchino, Hans Zimmer, or James Newton Howard.

I know this review is a little shorter, but it’s Christmas Eve and frankly I shouldn’t be writing this & you shouldn’t be reading this. Instead you should be watching The Nightmare Before Christmas with your family or enjoying any other holiday traditions you take part in. If you love this movie, be sure to share it with your kids one day. If you’ve never seen, go find it and watch it by Christmas Day, you won’t regret it.

Final Say: Watch It & Merry Christmas from Kulture Shocked



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