Is Nightmare Before Christmas Really That Great?

Everybody praises it around Halloween time, but more and more people don’t get why. Is Nightmare Before Christmas really as good as they say?

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About Doug Walker

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

121 comments

  1. Without even seeing the video: I say yes.

  2. Nostalgiaween is HERE!

  3. Had anybody already de-Cipher-ed NC’s message in the openning?
    This openning is a lot of fun, very nice recreation. Good work.:)

  4. I think the genius of Nightmare is it gives us the “My life is boring and routine/get a makeover” trope with an ending that shows you can change your life without totally changing yourself – while not hitting us over the head with the “You should always be yourself” message.

    I don’t know if I made that perfectly clear. It sounds better in my head than written down.

  5. This video is either going to be great or piss me off. Lets find out!

  6. I love the opening! I’m not a big fan of Gravity Falls, but it’s a great tribute.I know I’m a very small minority, but can you do one of these for the Miyazaki films?

  7. Hey, I got a question, what’s is that calming background music? It’s not the first time I’m hearing it on NC videos? Does anyone know the name of that song?

  8. Yes, the imagery is creative and interesting. But thats about all this movie is. The songs are hit or miss, with only “This is Halloween” and Oogie’s song (that I forget the title to) standing out. The movie itself isn’t good. The biggest problem being the shoehorned in romance subplot. Jack and Sally have maybe 3 conversations, and most of those are Jack ignoring her. Everything else is Sally pining after and stalking Jack. And we, the audience, are given no reason to think they’ve interacted any more before the setting of the film. So it looks like Jack just goes “oh hey, you’re a person I’ve talked to a few times. I love you!” which is stupid.
    There are plenty more things wrong with this movie that make me not like it, but that was the biggest one and this comment is already longer than it needs to be

    • Here’s my biggest issue with this film, and it’s something the final climax of All Dogs go to Heaven did too with Killer: why did the main villain’s henchmen suddenly switch sides? Hard as it is to believe, there was an explanation for Bladebeak’s transformation in Quest for Camelot. He has a second-long moment with his wife. It’s really brief and I can understand why people would miss that, but it’s there. Here, we see Lock, Shock and Barrel rescue the good guys for literally no reason, no previous conversation hinting at it, no scene showing them see Jack’s return and freaking out or anything like that, no, they just switch sides. I’m not a big fan of a shoe-horned romances either, so yeah, that’s definitely an issue, but for whatever reason, this one bothers me more. I can’t help but love this film, but yeah, it does contain quite a few problems I never noticed as a kid.

      • I think the idea for Lock, Shock, and Barrel’s turn is that they didn’t really hold any loyalty to Oogie to begin with. They just like seeing him be bad. But if he acts too bad for even them, then they would probably run away ’till they change their minds.

      • Really? I know I’ve seen the movie several times but I do not recall L,S, and B rescue anyone – I thought they kinda disappeared after delivering Sandy Claws.

        • Well, it’s not technically a rescue, but after Oogie is defeated, the three show up with a rope so Jack and Sally can climb out of his lair despite having no real way of knowing that their boss is dead at the time. They even apparently led the mayor right to them. I even remember watching a commentary years ago where this scene came up, and both commentators were like ‘What side are they on!?’

      • thatchickwithlonghair

        Lol Killer never “switched” sides really….his boss was killed so he didn’t have much to do after that…

    • Jack and Sally’s romance is weak as hell. I disagree with the description of the songs as “hit or miss” though. For me, they’re all miss.
      But as the NC pointed out in the video, Nightmare Before Christmas paved the way for a lot of what Laika’s doing nowadays, which I hadn’t given it credit for. Even if it’s not very good, it ushered in some films that are genuinely great.

      • If it were a short film instead of feature length, it would be a fantastic movie. The art direction is probably the best thing about it. Plus, like you said about studio Laika, it did influence some great movies.

    • I have to disagree with your comment about Jack and Sally. In the lyrics they both address themselves as dearest friends so for all we know they probably did have some kind of conversations before. The film leaves it open for you to make your own idea of how they know each other and what kind of friendship/relationship they have. The film has potential for a whole universe, in fact Disney wanted to make a sequel but Tim Burton talked them out of it. So I say there’s nothing wrong with it but instead open your mind and let yourself think of what happens before these events and after.

      • Except everything shown in the movie makes it seem like they almost never interact and Sally is just stalking Jack. When they actually do interact, Jack just pretty much ignores her the whole time. And then suddenly that ending romance scene that came out of nowhere for no reason at all.

        • While yes the film shows it that way it can also be thought of real life or even like children in love. Usually the girl wants to show feelings and the guy ignores what right in front of him and doesn’t realize it till later on. Also if you look at Disney’s romance formula many princesses marry a man with very little conversations so in a way Nightmare Before Christmas is being like that to even though it’s under the Touchstone name it’s still a Disney movie. In some lists Sally is considered an “unofficial” princess which adds even more to the fact that it’s the old formula of falling in love with someone you just met. But I still feel there’s more and that a sequel if done right would’ve been great the same with even a prequel so we can see this connection Jack and Sally have.

  9. Blaze The Movie Fan

    Absolutely, in my opinion it’s one of the best Christmas and Halloween movies out there. The fact it can mix the two holidays so well is something I give the movie big fucking credit for.

  10. tastetherainbowmothafuka

    The Gravity Falls Opening!!! 😀

    Ps: I played the title card backwards. It says “you really played this backwards? What’s wrong with you??” XD

    Yes, because gravity falls has forever made me an amateur code breaker. Gone but never forgotten <3

  11. Well done on the intro! Go sit under a cow and give yourself a pat on the back.

  12. Hey, you actually referenced something popular you’re a fan of! I mean “Gravity Falls”. Why didn’t Dipper get with Pacifica? He desperately wanted a girlfriend and failed miserably! He said he got everything he wanted and he insulted all of us by lying! Sorry, but that still makes me mad!

    • The Real Silverstar

      The creators never said that Dipper and Pacifica were going to get together. That was a conclusion that shippers jumped to themselves.

    • Alex Hirsch never said that he intended for Dipper to get with Pacifica. You can’t be mad at the show for not doing something that was never promised in the first place.

      I’m personally glad that didn’t happen, because that would have come off looking very forced and fake. Just because Dipper and Pacifica no longer hate each other, that doesn’t mean that they were going to fall in love. It wouldn’t been very believable for the 2 of them to go from being enemies to courting each other in such a short space of time. Dipper and Pacifica don’t really have much in common either. It is possible for a boy and a girl to just be friends.

  13. I believe another reason why it is so memorable is because it came from a great mind–the film’s producer Tim Burton.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas was derived from a poem he wrote. In every single frame (especially in a stop-motion animated film), you can see Burton’s surreal but artistic vision breathe life into Halloweentown and its denizens.

  14. This video is based on a faulty premise. Depictions on clothes, shot glasses, and other adult merchandise is less an indicator of how adult a movie is and more an indicator of how stupid the average consumer is.

  15. Short answer: Yes! Long Answer: I have only seen the movie twice, but I think this a great “Christmas” movie. I personally don’t see it as a Halloween flick, but rather a Christmas film with Halloween imagery. You COULD see it the other way around, but it’s just my thing. Regardless, I enjoy the songs and animation the most, it’s a beautiful film to look at.

  16. Victoria Heckman

    First of all, I love that Gravity Falls reenactment at the beginning.

    Second, I really appreciate this editorial.
    I’ve known people who didn’t like this movie either because of the story pacing or because puppets freak them out. And that’s understandable. Not everybody likes puppets or musicals.
    I was six when I saw this movie, and I just loved it as a bizarre but fun holiday special with cool design work, great music and songs, and charming characters.

    These days it has a very special place in my heart because it’s what first inspired me to want to study film and animation. Great things can begin from the most simple ones.

  17. Yes, it simplifies an idea that’s hard to explain…the concept of cultural appropriation.

  18. “Nightmare” is not a very good Halloween movie, but it’s the best Christmas movie there is!

  19. I also hate it when stores have both Halloween and Christmas products out at the same time. Halloween isn’t that big of a thing in Australia, but at least it keeps Christmas merchandise under control, at least a bit.

    Like with the editorial about the Charlie Brown Christmas special last year, I can’t help but feel the title of this is a bit click-baitey. It somewhat implies you don’t think it’s as good people say it is, but then you proceed to say you think it’s better than even fans give it credit for.

  20. I still haven’t seen Gravity Falls or Nightmare Before Christmas. Probably should get on that. Anyway, Nostalgiaween is here, and I look forward to what you have in store Mr. Macritic.

  21. I always watch Nightmare Before Christmas during Christmas. Sure, it starts on Halloween, but it ends on Christmas.

  22. Oh, you just wanted an excuse to parody the “Gravity Falls” opening. 😛

  23. I actually didn’t like The Nightmare Before Christmas when it came out. It wasn’t until I was much older that I came to really appreciate the artwork and such. As a child it just bored me and turned me off, but as an adult I really appreciated the effort put into the movie and was able to look pass the ‘horrible animation’ and simply enjoy it.

  24. Is there anyway you can review the Japanese versions of Ironman, Wolverine, X-men and Blade?

    Can you also talk about the MTV series Good Vibes and Daria?

    And on a side note, I mention this all before, why don’t you review a classic horror like this one I’ve finally found after all these years after just seeing a few scenes of it and never knowing how it ended. It’s called Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. You might like it. Maybe.

    Also what do think of these TV series shows called:
    John Doe
    Forever Knight
    The Misfits (British Show)
    Misfits of Science (Movie and series)
    and The Zeta Project
    (I think some of these shows are like Sonic the Hedgehog a.k.a. Sonic Sat a.m. They all have incomplete ending.)

    P.S. Is there anyway you can review the Japanese versions of Ironman, Wolverine, X-men and Blade? I’d also really like to hear what you think about the FX series Archer and Chozen.

    P.S.S. And I never found out if you were going talk more about the Disney Afternoon shows Gummi Bears, Chip N Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Talespin(even the hour uncut movie special I found about it) and Darkwing Duck. Also you never answer my question, If you hate the Goof Troop song: “Gotta Be Gettin’ Goofy” then does that mean you hate The Darkwing Duck Rap?

  25. One of the reasons it gained popularity and is looked back at over the years, especially in the early 2000’s, was because of Kingdom Hearts.

  26. There’s nothing to question about it.

  27. I don’t think you tried to answer the question. It was like, “Hey, this flick looked cool. Some people really liked it, and the design work in general, and some didn’t get it. I’m the Nostalgia Critic. My catchphrase is lame and doesn’t make much sense if you think about it, so please don’t.”

    • The Real Silverstar

      Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Haterade much? If don’t like the Nostaligia Critic or his editorials, then why watch or comment on them in the first place?

      • Why does Doug bother watching movies he hates and launches into apoplectic rants over them if they torture him so? Even if it’s just for laughs, why is no one allowed to criticize the critic? This piece was so much nothing. And his catchphrase IS lame.

  28. There’s nothing to question about it. The Nightmare Before Christmas is both a Halloween and X-mas movie. It’s fun for all on Halloween and X-mas. So let’s not make a Big deal.

  29. Seriously? You just can’t resist a gravity falls open parity could you? Although the nostalgia critic as Stan fits remarkably well.

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