“The Nightmare Before Christmas” a review

Story by Emily Gresbrink

You know what’s the worst? That awkward time when it’s not Christmas and not Halloween, but you’re still in a holiday mood. Thanksgiving, yeah … but we don’t deck the halls and wear cheesy t-shirts and have treats and presents on that day.

Well, Tim Burton solved this holiday limbo nearly 20 years ago! Betcha didn’t know that. Or maybe you did … either way, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the answer to this problem.

“Nightmare” is a 1993 Henry Selick (who directed “James and the Giant Peach” and “Coraline”) film produced by Tim Burton. It is considered to be the first full-length stop-motion film and opened in 1993 to critical acclaim. Since 2006, Disney has re-released the film in theaters almost annually;  the film continues to hold a large and loyal fan base that keeps expanding.

Burton is responsible for the original concept of the story, which began as a poem written in the early ’80s. The story surrounds Jack Skellington, who is the “Pumpkin King” known for his scare tactics on Halloween. One Halloween, though, he begins to realize his life is more than scaring children and their families one day of the year. As he walks through the forest, he finds a door with a Christmas tree on it … and is transported to a mysterious place called Christmastown. After returning to Halloweentown, giving a lecture to the citizens and some serious “science” and questioning, Jack decides to take over Christmas  and help “Sandy Claws.”

Entwined within that storyline is a colorful cast of characters, including a charming ragdoll named Sally (who is in love with Jack), a ghost dog named Zero and one hella terrifying villain trying to take down Jack — Oogie Boogie (the Boogeyman). Backed with a delightful score by Danny Elfman, this movie is a one hour and 10 minute wonder for the eyes, ears and imagination.

So if you can’t tell by now, I really do love this movie!

I’ve been infatuated with it for many years, mostly because of the visual aspect. I’m a huge sucker for animation and different animation styles, so I watch this movie for the detail and work put into it — 27 miniscule movements in each frame to make one second of film? That’s impressive, my friends.

But the story itself is also wonderful, too — it is easy to follow, charming, innovative and actually has good messages behind it.

Sometimes it gets a bad rep as an ‘emo kid movie,’ but it really isn’t. Just because Hot Topic is the main purveyor of t-shirts and Jack Skellington relics does not mean that those who shop there are the only ones who like it.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a quick escape from the hell that is finals week — it’s short, entertaining and (as always) free to attend in the Davies Theater at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Now that your holiday limbo is solved … go see it! And, may your days be scary and bright.