Logline: Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas.
While working as an animator at Walt Disney Studios in 1982, Tim Burton wrote a poem entitled The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was later developed into a stop-motion animated film. Burton conceived the story and characters and produced the film but was unable to direct the project due to his commitment to Batman Returns (1992). Burton hired his old Disney colleague Henry Selick to direct the film and the rest is history. The Nightmare Before Christmas remains one of my favorite animated films of all time.
Stop-motion animation is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. The Nightmare Before Christmas was a true labor of love, which is apparent in every frame of the film. The level of detail is amazing and the voice work is second to none. The vast array of unforgettable characters is splendid. Some of my favorites include Dr. Finkelstein, Oogie Boogie, the Mayor, the trio Lock, Shock, and Barrel, Zero, Sally, and of course, Jack Skellington.
The film opens with a brilliant sequence that plunges the viewer into Burton’s dark, imaginative world and features the film’s best song, “This is Halloween.” The film is a delightful musical and every song is a winner. Composer Danny Elfman, who scored the film, provides the singing voice for Jack Skellington.
The Nightmare Before Christmas has been a personal favorite of mine since I was a child and my admiration for it has not diminished with time. Like the best children’s films, The Nightmare Before Christmas appeals to viewers of all ages. It doubles as both a Halloween and Christmas classic and remains one of the most unique animated films of all time.