Nightmare Before Christmas – Disneycember

This is Halloween…or Christmas?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

80 comments

  1. Hey, Doug, are you ever going to get around to Muppet Treasure Island?

  2. My second favorite Tim Burton movie (after Bettlejuice). I also like what Burton did. He made a movie that is really intended for two separate holidays; Halloween and Christmas.

  3. And goddamn “The Oogie Boogie Song” is catchy as hell

    • I don’t know. Yeah, it’s catchy, but most of the lyrics boil down to Oogie Boogie saying, “You’re funny, I’m laughing” over and over again. That’s not to say I don’t like the song, but it’s what stops me from loving it like other villain songs.

  4. I actually remember the book…okay not really. I own the Blu-ray release of the movie. A special feature of the movie is that there’s an animated retelling of Burton’s original poem… narrated by Christopher Lee

  5. Yup, this is a huge hit for us nerds and geeks, but even musicians as well. They released a compilation album of various famous musicians doing their covers of the movie’s music and such. My favorites are definitely Marilyn Manson’s “This is Halloween,” KoRn’s “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” (yeah I like this band but not as much as before), and Rise Against’s “Making Christmas.” They really made these songs their own and I love them.

  6. I’d say that one or two of the characters have a little more complexity, particularly Sally. It’s just that a lot of the complexity is unspoken. I didn’t catch on to it as a kid, but the scene where she jumps from the tower could be seen as an allegory for suicide as an ‘escape’ from her circumstances. I don’t want to read to much into things that might not be there, but that is the implication I got from the way the scene was built up. To me, this adds some layers of complexity to her situation.

  7. I always remember trying to watch this as a kid and never getting the chance and even trying to record it at night during Christmas and it only recording 30mins of it. I finally brought it on DVD when I was 16 after getting a part job and SO glad I did.I still have it and I watch it every Christmas 😀

  8. doug pretty much summed up why i don’t like this film; it looks good & sounds good but it’s not good imo. the characters and plot are thin, the love story is worse than twilight (edward & bella spent a lot more time together onscreen in the first movie than jack & sally ever did) & things just happen with no explanation of how or why; how come sally can get psychic visions ? never explained. yeah, yeah fairy tale logic, that doesn’t make this movie better.

    • I completely agree with you.

    • No, while Edward and Bella spend more time in their 3 romance-based films together, I’d still say that Jack and Sally are a better couple. All Edward and Bella ever care about is “lets have sex and who cares about anything else?”, even though it ends up harming both of them and countless others to be together. Edward doesn’t care if she’s safe or even if she’s happy, he just cares if she’s alive and if he can get to her. Same goes for Bella, she doesn’t care what she puts Edward through or how much it torments him, she just wants to get with a vampire and tries to directly kill herself just so he’ll show up, making the little bastard have to watch her 24/7 to make sure he can stop her from jumping off of another ledge.

      Meanwhile, Sally actually is shown to care for Jack’s well being, even if she has to go against the will of her father figure. When she sees Jack’s in danger, she tries to stop him. When Sally’s in danger from actually trying to do the right thing, Jack goes to save her. It’s not the most complicated romance, but at least it’s something. Which is more than what Twilight ever did.

      • Yeah, I feel that relationship is the heart of the movie and makes it more than just a crazy kids film. Twilight’s relationship is “yay, we’re in love”, but Sally and Jack’s relationship is “I need you in my life and will protect you no matter what”.

  9. Dumbledore the Grey

    “Bare-boned” Was this intentional?

  10. While I’m definitely not as “into” the movie as I was as a kid, at the same time I remember just how into the experience of it I was. Also, prior to mass merchandising, it was a bit of a calling card among friends. I remember how enthused I was to finally see it come back via Kingdom Hearts.

    If I did want to change one thing, I would have gone with the original ending where Oogie Boogie was controlled by Dr. Finklestein. It honestly made a lot more sense than…well, bugs…and while you could argue the odd result might be more fitting the Finklestein ending made more sense as far as story. Without it, the only constant throughout is Jack’s mission to run Christmas.

  11. I was hoping he would bring up that joke that they made where Jack delivers the first gruesome toy, and the police man asks, “Attacked by Christmas toys? That’s strange. That’s the second toy complaint we’ve had.” I reckon that’s a reference too “Child’s Play”, a Christmas film with Chucky the killer doll. And it’s made funnier because the cop in “Child’s Play” is the (speaking) voice of Jack Skellington!

  12. Just so you know, Tim Burton didn’t actually direct this; Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach) did. Burton produced it and even wrote the book it was based on, so you call it a Burton film.

    This was one of my favorite films as a kid, and it still holds up today. Certainly a classic for years to come.

    • What’s kind of funny is that the advertising for “Coraline” took full advantage of this confusion by constantly saying it was “from the director of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas'” without ever clarifying who that actually was. (His name is even hard to find on the DVD case; it’s buried in those skinny credits that are hard to read.) Selick may be the only director ever to benefit from people NOT knowing he worked on such a popular movie.

  13. What I love about this movie is that this is Jacks story. We can all relate to feeling like we’re in a rut and just need something new. To see him go from sadness to instant child like joy in a snap is really amazing to me. I also like how at first he tried to explain why it gave him joy by logical means. Really appeals to the skeptic in me. The scene where he has been shot down by the freaking army and then acknowledges that he may have ruined everything. Saying that he was just trying to give them all something amazing, then realizing that maybe Christmas isn’t meant to be his shtick. He then bursts out in pride, knowing who is truly is after his batteries have been recharged. The rest is truly great to, but for me personally, its Jack who makes the movie for me. 🙂

  14. its funny i watched this Movie so many times that i know it by heart

  15. I’ve read that The Nightmare Before Christmas was going to come after Aladdin in the Disney Animated Canon, but it was deemed as “too scary”, so they put it under the Touchstone label and the next one was The Lion King. It’s a load because while TNBC can be scary, TLK was rather intense. There is a fine line between scary and intense, and I find the latter word to be harder to go through.

    Stop-motion isn’t generally my cup of tea, but I can always make an exception for this one. I was rather fond of Jack and especially Sally. She just wants to see the outside world and absorb as much as she can. Also, she can survive falls and sew her limbs back on, which is pretty cool. =)

  16. Not to split hairs, but this movie is only 76 minutes. (I’m sure the animators had more than enough after only that long.) A bit short by film standards although “epic” by stop-motion movie standards (at least at the time).

    I think you made a good point about the “simplicity” though. And it worked out well in this case. It might be a better path to tread in the future, as it seems when remakes add “more back story” nowadays it usually doesn’t work out so good. I think I’m in the same camp as you, too. My personal faves for Tim Burton movies are “Beetlejuice” and “Batman”, but yeah…this one is definitely high up there too.

    And on a side note…I always just found something appealing about the villain being a Southern gambler.

  17. PhantomOfTheKnight

    One of my five favourite films of all time, though I thought this Disneycember was gonna focus on more underrated Disney films alongside the Ghibli films. If you want an underrated Burton film under the Disney label, look no further than Frankenweenie.

  18. I really like this movie. Though I do agree that the characters aren’t that complex, I think they are really likable. Jack’s really fun and Sally’s cute and sweet. The stop-motion is great and the songs are amazing and memorable.

    It’s a fun little fairy tale.

  19. I honest to god feel like I am the only one who just does not like this movie. Don’t get me wrong, the stop motion animation is great, but this bored me to death when I saw it as a child and can’t even sit through 1 minute of it as an adult. I just consider it vastly overrated.

  20. Anyone notice that Lock Shock and Barrel DISAPPEAR for 34 days?! They grab the Easter Bunny in like an hour, but when they are sent back we get the Making Christmas scene which starts the clock at 35 days and they don’t grab Santa til Christmas Eve!

    I still absolutely LOVE this movie though.

  21. Anyone know what music Critic used for the background in this review? Its so perfect and I love it!

  22. Despite his name being plastered on the title, this is hardly a Tim Burton movie. Like, at all. He didn’t direct it, he didn’t produce it–heck, he didn’t even write it (he only wrote the original poem, which was later adapted into a screenplay by different people). He was barely even on set the entire time the film was in production.

    It’s better not to refer to this as a Tim Burton movie, since he had jack squat to do with it.

  23. Nightmare Before Christmas is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Since I am artistic, musical, and loves good visual story telling, this movie has all the elements I enjoy: Art, music, and great story telling through visual presentation. Plus, I grew up watching this movie and I still watch it every Halloween and even Christmas.

    I love Transformers, but this tops it off. It shall always be my favorite movie ♡

  24. This movie was spoiled for me. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I couldn’t get past the half an hour mark! I know that I’m in the minority with that. I mean, I LOVE the visuals and stuff but this movie never grabs me. Also, this is one of the only musicals that I don’t like!

  25. My Childhood. Right there on the screen everytime I see it.

  26. This movie was unfortunately a big let down for me. It was one of those few movies that escaped my childhood and when I finally got around to watching it, I was a little bewildered at why ppl hailed it as one of the greats. However, like Doug, I love the visual creativity, the songs, and the concept itself it just awesome; again, just wish it had a bit more substance to it.

  27. Didn’t expect so much singing when I first saw this film, but once I got into it I found it really enjoyable. Jack as a character is very eccentric, so that’s always a plus.

    There’s a very good review for this film here that says more about it than I ever could, but be warned that it’s a long read. Worthwhile though:
    http://anthonydellarosa.com/?p=83

    One of the key points of that review worth sharing on its own is the concept of Jack as a character and his struggles in the film being that of an artist. He’s like a symbol of many an artist, author, critic, performer and overall creator in the world who struggles through phases of dissatisfaction and self-loathing in their own work, before stumbling across a moment of inspiration and finding themselves rejuvenated to try something new and to experiment.
    For people who relate to that, this film can be very cathartic.

  28. This one is definitely my third favourite Disney movie, only beat by the fox and the hound and TRON.

    I just love the style, designs, music and I love Sally. Blocking any live action or ghibli characters she probably is my favourite female Disney character, she’s in my top 10.

  29. I adore this movie, I’m the opposite of most I feel where I didn’t think much of it as a kid but grew more to like it more as I aged. Can’t explain it.

  30. I remember my mom telling me that when she first saw the trailer for this film, she thought it looked horrifying and refused to take me to see it because she thought it would scare me. Fortunately my dad was able to convince her to give it a chance (he at that point already loved Tim Burton as a director for Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Batman), and ever since then, the movie has become one of our family’s biggest holiday traditions, just as much as specials like the Muppet Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker ballet, and the How the Grinch Stole Christmas. What I love so much about this film is just how perfectly it captures the pure, simple feelings of childhood. Jack’s enthusiasm for Christmas is just like the enthusiasm I think most children have for the holiday, every child likes to be scared at least a little bit, I think just about everyone feels like something is somehow missing in their lives at least once, and the hopelessness of failure is universal, but especially pertinent to children, who are still learning about boundaries, how to tell right from wrong, and who they are as people. And what is Christmas, but looking back on the simple joys, innocence, and goodness of childhood? It always gets me in the holiday spirit! 🙂

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