My Obligatory Nightmare Before Christmas Post

Hmmm...lessee here...it's October, almost Halloween, the leaves are brown and falling, the air has a slight cold nip to it -- yup, it's time to revisit my two-part review of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS! Back in November of 2004, when I started my blog, it seemed that I had oodles of time to spare and would work on incredibly lengthy posts. So please, by all means, check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you have gobs of time on your hands. I go into great detail about the design and characters of the film, as well as offer some filmmaker comments that I gleaned from the director's commentary on the DVD.

There's no need to reinstate that I love this movie. It's probably one of my top 10 favorite films -- a list that requires each and every film worth watching a million times over without my tiring of it. I see something different in the flick each time I watch it.

I took Ava to go see NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in 3D on a very busy Saturday. It was great to see NIGHTMARE up on the big screen again, even if it was because of the 3D gimmick attached to it. I was a bit underwhelmed by the 3D effect, with some scenes that I though for sure would pop out with flying colors become dull and flat; but surprisingly, other scenes that were quite subtle become alive with just the right amount of the 3D touch. Scenes such as in Halloween Town's townsquare where all the characters looked nice and dimensional up against the town buildings and the sky in the background. Another excellent scene that worked for me was the whole sequence of Sally going over to Jack's to give him her picnic basket. Dynamic shots with items moving towards or away from the camera worked really well. Graphic elements worked the best off of the 3D technique, like the 2D animated ghosts, smoke and the new portraits of all the characters during the end credits. Also, the countdown to the beginning of the show with the jack-o'-lantern-in-the-box was fantastic. But I think that that was done in CG -- which was made just for this presentation. So, the 3D was, for the most part, an interesting twist to an already perfect movie, but all in all, I would've preferred to have seen the original movie. It was a classic case of WHY? Just my opinion.

One nice thing about seeing it this past Saturday: there was a young mother sitting behind us who I could tell had not seen the film (the horror!). Since I have seen NIGHTMARE hundreds of times, the newness has worn off on me and I've since forgotten the parts that were funny and fresh the very first time. What parts garnered a response? When Sally's arm hits Dr. Finkelstein on the head as she runs off; Dr. Finkelstein opens up his head to give it a little tickle; Jack hits the Christmas Town sign post; Lock, Shock & Barrell nab the Easter Bunny instead and the Behemoth (big dude with the axe in his head) yells out "Bunny!"; the angel decoration being hung by the string lights when Jack lands on the rooftop; most of the Halloween Town gifts doing their dirty deeds in the "normal" town; the Behemoth and Undersea Gal creating snow angels in the snow. It was great to enjoy those moments again vicariously through this faceless person. Oh, and Ava loved the movie, of course. But she's not one of those kids who talk incessantly about the movie right afterwards. She bounces around a bit as we leave the theater, but she's always been low key when it comes to movie outings.

Hey, since you all are such nice people, especially by being patient with me during my two-part NIGHTMARE review, here's some extra framegrabs that I had sitting in the dark confines of my computer, gathering dust. They were from when I was working on the review and just didn't have enough time to post them. Be sure to click on each to view larger:

Here is the very last sequence in order, of Jack and Sally finally together, which I feel is one of the strongest in the film. Just check out the poses and staging. Excellent shots here:

There were a couple of scenes with panshots and so I grabbed the images and did some Photoshop to see what the whole thing looked like. Here are two (click on images to view larger):

Rats -- Blogger is acting up for me now, and I still have lots more images to share with you. Please come back later on today and I'll have the rest up in the post. Stay tuned...

Tomorrow: see horrors of Halloween past!


  1. Great post Ward... Love all the pics and the review which is so nicely done... Saw the movie in 3D and it is now in my Top #5 movie list.... Will keep checking for new posts... Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and unique ideas

  2. Hello fellow Nightmare fan! I went back and read through your previous post, very well put! You hit on a lot of points about the film that I've enjoyed but never thought about before until you took us a bit deeper into the film.

    Yeah,Tim Burton made such interesting little characters and a world that's melancholy but for those reasons you gave we would still like to visit.

    Did you like the Corpse Bride? I didn't as much as Nightmare.

    Maybe next year you can render a little Nightmare sketch. I'd love to see the Ward style!

  3. I, too, was disappointed in the whole 3-D thing, I realized quickly that it only works if images are held on the screen and 'Nightmare' has too many elements that fly off the sides(like when Oogie's shadow turns into the bats in the opening), but I never saw it on the big screen so I wasn't going to miss it.

    I can watch it hundred times and it never disappoints.

    Someday, I'm going to go as the Harlequin Demon for Halloween.

  4. bah! ward, as you know, i was in atlanta the weekend this openned in 3D, and i missed the big coraline crew outing where all my homies got together to see this, including a handful of NMBC veterans. bummer!

  5. I've got this "on deck" to watch (I usually try to split the difference and watch it sometime between Halloween and Christmas), but I haven't watched it yet this season. I noticed that it would be on the big-screen and was interested, until I saw that it was 3-D. Pass. I'll watch my DVD copy for sure, soon.

  6. Heath -- Ha! So the secret's out! Yes, that film has a great amount of followers since it's become a cult film. I'm glad. And I'm glad to see that we share the same sensibilities when it come to style and film. I did like Corpse Bride, but I knew going in that it would be hard to top Nightmare. And I'll have to do a variation of the Nightmare cast in my style. Never thought about that!

    jeremy spake -- Man! What were you thinking making a trip back here in silly ol' Atlanta when you could've been hanging out with the Nightmare croonies? That would've been keen to see the film with those guys.

    Klahd -- I want to see pics of you dressed as the Harlequin Demon when you do -- and you should have those curlers in your three tentacles/hair like he has at the end of the film.

    Jeremy S. -- I think you should at least check it out in 3D. Just so you could compare the two versions. It was interesting to watch what popped off the screen and what didn't.