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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)



Reviews and Comments

With this claymated Disney film, director Tim Burton has created a rich, stunningly imaginative world where holidays are embodied in settlements characteristic of their respective occasions. The story concerns one Jack Skellington, a celebrity in the land of Halloween, stumbles across Christmas and witnesses what was missing in his life -- but misinterprets what makes Christmas special.

Unfortunately, the movie handles its characters awkwardly, and the result is that we never get to know them beyond a superficial level. And the climactic showdown with Halloween's most feared beastie hits all the wrong notes. Danny Elfman's score is fantastic, but his songs are repetitious.

Yet the amazing creativity that went into this world and its spectacular imagery more than compensates for these flaws. Halloween's characters are deliciously warped and quirky. In particular, the heroine (a worn out doll) and her keeper (a sadistic wheelchair-bound mad scientist) provide the film's finest moments.