Tag Archives: Tim Burton

My Thoughts on: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

After all these years, I finally knocked a long-standing entry off my “to watch” list by sitting down and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. Please don’t ask me why it took me so long to watch this classic, I honestly think it’s just a case of “I simply never got around to it”  believe me there was nothing personal keeping me from watching this film. And now that I’ve finally seen what all the fuss is about, I’m so glad I did, because The Nightmare Before Christmas is amazing and holds up extremely well for being made in 1993.

To quickly summarize, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animation film set in a world where each holiday resides in their own distinct “land.” Most of the story is set in Halloween Town, where Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, is lord and master of all things Halloween. However, after overseeing Halloween festivities for more years than he can count, Jack is tired of doing the same old thing and becomes enamored of the Christmas holiday when he accidentally stumbles into Christmas Town. As you might expect, chaos ensues.

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I’ve been a fan of stop-motion animation since almost before I can remember, and this film does it so well it makes the concept look easy (would you believe it took them THREE YEARS to take this film?) The movements are so fluid and lifelike, there’s no trouble believing that characters like Jack and Sally are very much real. I found myself fascinated by Sally in particular, the idea of a living rag doll that can stitch herself back together impressed me. Of all the characters in Halloween Town, she’s the only one that I don’t find “scary” in any sense of the word. Even though Sally is stitched together, the fact that she’s only stuffed with leaves inside makes it completely not scary when her limbs come off.

One sequence that especially impressed me is “Oogie Boogie’s Song” which apparently takes place in a blacklight environment that brings out a slew of colorful details in Oogie Boogie’s lair. And speaking of Oogie Boogie, I absolutely love the moment when the would-be villain comes face to face with a pissed off Jack Skellington at the climax of the film. All of that bravado is OUT the door and it is too funny to see how quickly it happens.

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All told, I love The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I hope with all my heart that the proposed sequel/reboot/remake/whatever Disney is trying to do never, EVER happens. This film is pure magic and it would be a shame to ruin its perfection by creating a sequel or, God forbid, a live-action remake. The soundtrack by Danny Elfman is a lot of fun also, and I loved all of it.

Let me know what you think about The Nightmare Before Christmas in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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The Nightmare Before Christmas “This is Halloween” (1993)

Here’s something I’m slightly ashamed to admit: to date, I have still not seen The Nightmare Before Christmas. I know it’s a classic, I know I should have seen it long since, but somehow I’ve just never gotten around to it, and I admit at this point I have no excuse. However, to somewhat make up for it, I thought I would start looking into the songs that appear in that film, some of which I am quite familiar with.

“This is Halloween” is the first major song that appears in the film, and as of right now is the song I’m most familiar with. It serves as our proper introduction to Halloween Town and its spooky denizens, where Jack Skellington rules as the Pumpkin King (it’s like Santa Claus and the North Pole, only everything is based around Halloween).

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It’s our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween

I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under your stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

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In typical Tim Burton fashion, the characters in Halloween town are all really creepy, but in an almost charming type of way. Even so, it’s probably for the best that I didn’t see this movie when it was new, because I can only imagine what younger-me would’ve thought of it all (I scared so easily at that age).

In this town, we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
In this town, don’t we love it now?
Everybody’s waiting for the next surprise

Round that cornerman hiding in the trash can
Something’s waiting now to pounce, and how you’ll…
Scream! This is Halloween
Red ‘n’ black, and slimy green

Aren’t you scared?

Well, that’s just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night

Everybody scream, everybody scream

In our town of Halloween…

I am the clown with the tear-away face
(deeper voice) Here in a flash and gone without a trace
I am the “who” when you call, “Who’s there?”
I am the wind blowing through your hair…
I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright!

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

Tender lumplings everywhere
Life’s no fun without a good scare

That’s our job, but we’re not mean
In our town of Halloween

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In this town, don’t we love it now?
Everyone’s waiting for the next surprise!

Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back and scream like a banshee, make you jump out of your skin
This is Halloween, everyone scream
Won’t ya please make way for a very special guy?
Our man Jack is king of the pumpkin patch
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

In this town, we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, Halloween, Halloween! [Repeat two more times]
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…
Whee!

This song has to be one of the coolest introductions of a place and character (Halloween Town and Jack Skellington) that I’ve ever seen. Any time I listen to it, I’m instantly in the mood for Halloween (pity I’m too old to go trick or treating). And I have to say, for being made in 1993, the stop-motion animation in this scene holds up spectacularly well.

Let me know what you think about “This is Halloween in the comments below and have a great day! I’ll try to share more songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas this weekend.

See also:

The Nightmare Before Christmas “What’s This?” (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas “Town Meeting Song” (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas “Jack’s Obsession” (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” (1993)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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My Thoughts on: Corpse Bride (2005)

I’m fourteen years late to the party, but I’ve finally been able to watch Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, a film I’d seen clips of but never watched all the way through until recently. I’m kind of surprised I put it off this long, because I’ve been a fan of stop-motion animation for years and this film is one of the best examples made in the last 20 years.

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The story revolves around the misadventures of Victor van Dort (Johnny Depp), a shy man who is meant to be marrying Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) the next day. Except, while practicing his wedding vows in the wood, Victor suddenly finds himself married to an undead bride named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who is determined to make the marriage stick despite the fact that she’s, well, dead, and he isn’t!

While a lot of Corpse Bride is hysterically funny, particularly some of the sequences in the Land of the Dead, there is much that is deadly serious and, in keeping with Tim Burton’s style, quite dark. For example, Victoria’s parents are clearly terrible people who have no concept of love, not even for their own child. Victor’s parents aren’t much better, they’re far too focused on moving up in society. And then there’s the story of Emily, the titular Corpse Bride. Her story is so sad: a mysterious man convinced her to grab her family fortune and run away with him to elope. All well and good, except he killed her and ran off with the money! Poor Emily died before she really had a chance to live, and it makes me so sad just thinking about it.

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And then there’s Lord Barkis Bittern, quite possibly one of the most despicable villains I’ve ever seen. Just from the way he struts around, you know he’s up to no good, but he’s actually far worse than you think. Once it comes out that he’s the one who killed Emily all those years ago (and he would’ve done the same to Victoria except she doesn’t have any family money), the expectation is that something terrible should happen to him as punishment. And oh boy, does Tim Burton ever deliver. After mistakenly drinking poison while mocking Emily, Bittern ends up dead as a doornail and is dragged off screaming to the Land of the Dead, to a hopefully gruesome fate. I’ve rarely seen a comeuppance more fitting.

Another thing that makes Corpse Bride a lot of fun to watch is the awesome soundtrack provided by Danny Elfman (who has collaborated numerous times with Tim Burton). Elfman also plays Bonejangles, the singing skeleton who tells Victor the story of Emily. And speaking of music, I absolutely love the duet that Victor plays with Emily, not only is it beautiful music, the animation that goes with it is simply flawless.

If you haven’t seen Corpse Bride, it really is worth watching. Even though the film is 14 years old, the stop-motion animation holds up very well, and I’m already looking forward to watching it again.

What do you think of Corpse Bride? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook