Friday, December 16, 2016


Welcome to Day 16 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series, where we will be taking a look at holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, I'll be discussing the beloved, Tim Burton animated classic...THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

As a child, this was one of my absolute favorite films.  I watched it so many times, I lost count.  And as an adult, it still holds a very special place in my heart.  It's one of those films that I make a point to watch at least twice a year, once during the Halloween season and once during the Christmas season, because, as anyone who has seen it knows, it's the absolute best of both worlds.

The film follows a very melancholy Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, as he searches for purpose in his life.  He stumbles upon the doorway to a strange land known as Christmas Town and discovers there's more to life than he thought.  But he soon learns that changing who he is isn't the answer.

This is by far my favorite Tim Burton film.  His unique animation style, which he's used multiple times, and the amazing music are what make this film so memorable for most, including myself.  They perfectly set the tone for the events of this film.  It takes on a surprisingly dark premise for what many view as a family film.

Nightmare is also one of the few widely popular animated films that uses a mostly unknown cast of extremely talented voice actors.  Nowadays it's all about the star power, but Burton didn't rely on that here, unlike his other animated film, Corpse Bride, which saw his typical casting choices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

And boy, what a great job this cast did.  The lead character, Jack Skellington, was portrayed by two different people, Chris Sarandon, who voiced Jack's speaking scenes, and the very talented Danny Elfman, who besides scoring the film, also gave Jack his beautiful singing voice.  Sarandon brought a regalness to Jack that showed why the rest of the characters in Halloween Town respected him so much.  And then there's Danny Elfman.  Aside from his amazing talents as a composer, he proved here that he could carry the weight of performing all of the singing in a feature film.  And with such memorable songs as "What's This?" (my personal favorite), I think he was the perfect choice.

We also saw a casting return in the form of Catherine O'Hara (previously seen in Burton's Beetlejuice) as Jack's love interest, Sally.  It wasn't until recently that I realized this was her, and I have to say, she has a great singing voice.  But what even fewer people realize is that she played double duty in this film, also voicing Shock alongside Paul Reubens as Lock and Danny Elfman again as Barrel.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a must watch during the holiday season and for anyone who's a fan of the macabre style of Tim Burton.  I highly recommend this for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, and for those who have, go ahead and watch it again.

The Merc's Score: 9/10

Be sure to stay tuned throughout the rest of the month! We're posting a new Christmas review every day, both old and new! Check back to see what movie we'll have you singing carols next!

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