Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director: Henry Selick
Often referred to as ‘Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas‘, which I believe to be unfair, this is probably the greatest film ever made about the festive time of year and also the most twisted.
The reasons that Burton’s moniker is unfair is down to the fact that most people miss, he didn’t direct this film! That work wen’t down to Henry Selick. Yes, we can see Burton’s visual stamp throughout the film and yes he did have a major part in principal development and writing but this film was a team effort all told. Australian director Shane Acker was quick to make sure his name was recognised on his beautiful animated film ‘9’ when Burton was involved with production but it’s something Burton has learnt from with this year’s ‘Frankenweenie’ stating him as director although we know he was on the set of ‘Dark Shadows’ throughout that film’s entire shoot… we digress… Burton is a bit of an attention hog… let’s leave it at that…
If you’re struggling to pick a good crimbo film from the dregs of awfulness then I must recommend this as the embodiment of all things Christmas. The story follows Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King of Halloween who on leaving the Halloween kingdom wanders into the North Pole through a festive looking tree. Bored of scaring and terrifying the people of the world Jack decides to take over Christmas and give Santa Claus a much needed break, so he kidnaps Old St. Nick, steals his hat and sets his monster friends onto building their own set of xmas toys. However, the inhabitants of Halloween kingdom have been scaring for too many years and can’t come to grips with making the young boys and girls of the world happy. Unknowingly they nearly destroy Christmas and all that it stands for. Whilst all this is happening The Boogie Man voiced expertly by Ken Page has taken Santa Claus from Jack’s custody and has trapped him in his under ground lair. As Jack realises that they key to saving Christmas is setting Santa Claus free he must venture to The Boogie Man’s torture chamber for a final showdown to save the festive world from evil.
Stop motion animation films have never been better than this, the wacky and wonderful creations Burton creates are a joy to behold on screen. All the little details in a scene are made with such care and dedication. The musical numbers are orchestrated masterfully, Jack’s singing voiced by hit composer Danny Elfman will have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Jack’s love interest Sally (O’ Hara) has a fun and touching story all of her own that is not to be missed and Page as the infamous Oogie Boogie is just the most sinister villain you could hope to come across. Forget your Darth Vaders or your Moriartys… The Boogie Man is truly the scariest of them all… and equally hilarious.
All in all a twisted tale that represents all of the morals that we sometimes need reminding of, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ teaches us that it’s ok to be different and strange. That not everyone is the same but we must, at this time of year, come together for the greater good and relish in the fun times that we all share.
Got that fuzzy feeling yet? We thought so…