Tim Burton's movies always has grand visuals, wit, clever songs and genuine pathos. When a talent like that is combined with a innovative stop-motion director Henry Selick, we might have surrealistic three-dimensional sets, superbly imaginative graphics, a poem-script and a non-glossy fairy-tale called, "The Nightmare Before Christmas"(1993). Different from normal animation this movie has a fabulously creative model figures move within constructed sets in concert with animated effects, all to the rhythm of Danny Elfman's rambunctious score.
Written by Tim Burton, the movie takes place in "Halloween-land", where a skeleton known as Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) a.k.a. the Pumpkin King, rules over an energetic population of ghouls, gremlins etc devoted to scare the children of the world. Skellington has plenty of neighbors, friends and a ghost dog, Zero. He was bored with his life and of the repetitive routine of giving kids a scare each Halloween. One day strolling though the forest Skellington stumbles into Christmas-town, where he finds the radiant joys of Santa's workers in frenzied preparation for their own upcoming holiday.
This visit provides him with a tantalizing prospect. He plans to usurp the holiday town. He decides to kidnap the Santa Claus and all of his little elf helpers and recruits his friends in Halloween-town, bands of ghouls and goblins, to deck out Christmas for themselves. The only one who seemed to realize Jack's wicked and bad idea is Sally (Catherine O'Hara), a goth-looking zombie girl, who also pines for Jack.
The narrative in this 76-minute film and its animation is always rapturous. The story is based on a poem written by Tim Burton, which owes more to the classic horror movies than to the classic fairy tales. The look and the sets look like surrealistic charades on 19th century engravings and etchings. All the creations are realized to delicious perfection, from the brittle frame of Skellington to the frightening Oogie Boogie. The scrupulous skill of director Henry Selick gets all the elements right and moves the film at a brisk pace. Danny Elfman's wonderful score, along with his 10 songs captures Jack's obsessive dream of passion. The operatic quality of the songs is compliments Selick and Burton's Gothic visual density. More than120 animators and technicians deserves the credit, whose combined efforts produced a decidedly singular vision.
For kids, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a fantasy celebrating two holidays and for adults, it's an opportunity to experience some light entertainment, and a perfect antidote from the standard festive fare.
The Nightmare Before Christmas - IMDb