Saturday, May 31, 2008

Christmas Movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before ChristmasImage via WikipediaOnce in a while, a creative soul comes along who has a vision of Christmas images unlike anyone who came before. Tim Burton is one of those people. Whether you like his style or not, you have to give it to him that he's unique. I happen to like the way he expresses himself, because he somehow makes the creepy acceptable and even cozy.

That's the case with The Nightmare Before Christmas. There's a warm-fuzziness about the netherworld Burton filled with oddball animated characters. But he loves contrast too. He created his main character, Jack Skellington (who not surprisingly is a skeleton) and a colorful world of ghouls and goblins who lived for Halloween, and then plunged them into a world unfamiliar to them: Christmas. The effect is calculated and it works. The juxtaposition of ghostly and sometimes even gory characters with the sweetness of the people who live in Christmas Town could soften the heart of
even the most hardened Goth.

But sentimentality aside, one of the main reasons to watch this movie is to see the cutting edge animation. It was the first film to
be fully animated using a stop-motion technique that had previously been used just for special effects. As a result, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects -- only to lose to those darn Jurassic Park dinosaurs. No problem; awards don't mean anything in Christmas Town. The movie is just as wonderful whether Tim Burton's animators have Oscar statues on their mantels or not.

Here's the trailer for The Nightmare Before Christmas:

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