(The Channel Awesome presents logo is shown and clips from the movie plays.)
ERod (vo): Greeting fanboys and fangirls, I'm ERod and I'm the Blockbuster Buster. It's time to finish off my holiday honest reviews with another of my all time favorite holiday movies.
(The title of the movie is shown.)
ERod (vo): Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
ERod (vo): As far as my aspirations as a filmmaker go, if I end up making the worst movie of all time but it ends up looking half as beautiful as this movie, I would still be very pleased. Legend has it that Time Burton came up with this particular masterpiece when he saw Halloween decorations in a store window being replaced by Christmas ones. And the Nightmare Before Christmas became one of his key dream projects. A lot of folks fall under the impression that Burton directed this one since his name is over the title. But, the truth is that due to scheduling conflicts, he had to hand over the reigns to Henry Selick who seems to be the go-to guy for stop-motion movies. Now, I've heard rumors that Burton did direct some key scenes but I haven't found any confirmation of said rumors.
ERod (vo): In a world where holidays are separated into their own parallel dimensions, Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, rules over Halloweentown but he is bored out of his gored. Hee hee hee. Get it, pumpkin, gored. Ummm, never mind. Where was I? Okay. Jack is bored and he's desperate for something different when he suddenly comes across Christmasland. He instantly becomes obsessed with the jolly holiday and decides he wants to take over as the spirit of Christmas. In a way, it's kinda like the Grinch in reverse. You see, the Grinch was trying to end Christmas by stealing presents and decoration but in the end, he doesn't stop anything cause Christmas is more then just the material possessions. Jack, on the other hand, is trying to promote the holiday but since he knows nothing about it, he ends up destroying it instead. Sweet irony!
ERod (vo): In true fairy tale style, there are only a handful of notable characters in this movie. But, Burton made double dog sure that every single character, even the ones in the background, had something interesting in the background. My favorite background character is the werewolf in the plaid shirt. Was he a lumberjack before he became a werewolf? Who knows. Point is, he looks awesome. A major honorable mention goes to the heroine of this picture Sally, played by the multi-talented Catherine O'Hara. Sally is not your run-of-the-mill damsel. She's one of those patchwork creatures like Frankenstein's Monster or Roger from Hellboy. Her master built her to be his companion but she won't accept that fate. She is outgoing and resourceful but she still has one simple flaw. She's incredibly shy and she has trouble speaking up. Even when it's something really important like warning jack, whom she is deeply crushing on, that his plan is going to fail miserably. On a side note, I have no idea why she is the only one who gets magical premonitions of bad things to come. As a kid, this is just something that I accepted. But, as an adult, I've given it a lot of thought and my interpretation is this. I think that this is the magic of the holiday worlds trying to prevent disaster by giving Sally a message to deliver to Jack so jack will notice her and realize that he's been missing is not Christmas. What he's actually missing is her.
(Crowd track of the word "Awwwww" plays.)
ERod (vo): Yeah, yeah, yeah. I may have destructive tendencies but I'm a romantic at heart. I absolutely love Sally design. In that every time she falls apart, fall leaves flow out of her. It's one of the most original and cool character designs I have ever seen. Now, on another note, even though this movie was released under the Disney banner, I can't help but tell you how much it burns my biscuits that every time they do their holly-jolly villain team-ups, they never include one of the greatest villains ever created. Oogie Boogie, played by Ken Page. Very much like Freddy Kruger, Oogie Boogie takes a great deal of glee when he performs his dastardly deeds. And the movie does a great job building him up. From seeing his shadow in the moon to him being ominously mentioned throughout the first act and a half.
Jack Skellington: And one more thing. Leave that no accountfull Oggie Boogie out of this.
Barrel: Whatever you say.
ERod (vo): The build-up kinda reminds me of Ganon in the first Zelda game but even after he shows up mid-movie, he still remains mysterious. We know 4 things about Oogie Boogie for a fact. He loves black lights, gambling and lady legs.
Oogie Boogie: Ah, lovely.
ERod (vo): I bet you anything, he's a Stacy Keibler fan. Oh, and what else? Oh yeah, he's evil. Pure evil. How evil is he? He plans to drop Santa Claus into a vat of molten lava. Now that is evil. Ok, so who's my favorite character? No surprise here. Jack Skellington. He's smooth, classy and optimistic. Jack is the essence of cool. Now, while Jack was played by Chris Sarandon, his singing voice was provided by master composer himself, Danny Elfman.
Jack Skellington (singing): And I grow so weary of the sounds of scream. And I Jack, the Pumpkin King -
ERod (vo): All I have to say is wow. Just wow. And also, I believe Jack holds the record for most awesome entrances in a single movie. Awesome. Mega awesome.
ERod (vo): My favorite line goes to Jack in the moment when he finally confronts Oogie Boogie.
Jack Skellington: How dare you treat my friends so shamefully.
ERod (vo): Now, this is pretty much a summation of Jack's character. Even when he's supremely pissed, he still remains the classiest skeleton in the room.
ERod (vo): Now, if you've ever taken a creative writing course, you've probably heard the instructors say that you have to get your audiences' attention as quickly as possible with your opening scene. This movie does so in spades. This is by far, one of the greatest opening sequences I have ever seen. It sets up the tome and atmosphere perfectly. You are officially introduced to Halloweentown and its residents. All the while, you enjoy a great Halloween song accompanied by the beautiful music of Danny Elfman. And right when you think this can't get any better, they set a scarecrow on fire which is followed by another great entrance by the Pumpkin King himself. And folks, that was just the opening.
ERod (vo): Now, I'm the type of person that is generally annoyed by musicals. Especially the kind where the songs serve no purpose to the story. However, the songs and music in Nightmare Before Christmas blend in so perfectly with the movie, that they are almost seamless. And I cannot end this video without talking about the animation. Stop-motion animation is, by far, one of the most difficult and time-consuming animations. Believe me, I've tried it. So, I respectfully bow my head to the men and women that animated this film because it still looks amazing. Every single scene is a feast for your eyes. My favorite animation moment is when Jack is singing in the cemetery while the camera is doing a 360 degree move. I can't even wrap my head around how they pulled that off. Its just breathtaking. Another amazing aspect is all the little details that were added in which served no purpose to the story. Like this section right here where the Mayor is trying to put his spider tie back on. Again, this has nothing to do with the story. It probably to them a month to film this 3-second moment. But, it makes their world all the more real. Which makes it easier to immerse yourself within your world. So, once again, animators, I bow to thee. And now, for the real question. Do I watch this movie during Halloween or do I watch it during Christmas? Well, what I do is I watch the opening sequence during Halloween as nothing gets me into the Halloween spirit faster then this spectacular opening sequence. And then I watch this movie as a whole during Christmas since the ending is very Christmas-ee. Now, I do want to recommend this movie to everyone but a few of my acquaintances, both young and old, have admitted while they agree that this is a well-made film, they find that a lot of the imagery, dreary and disturbing. Which is the absolute opposite of my point-of-view but hey, I'm the kid that grew up with the Universal movie monsters and reading Edger Allen Poe. So go figure. (The Badass-a-tude Meter pops up.) 10 points on the Badass-a-tude meter. If you're not faint at heart, check it out. All hail the pumpkin king.