Mid-Life Crisis (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993)
At the time when Disney was still experiencing their 2D Renaissance, Tim Burton and Director Henry Selick brought us this stop motion classic.
The story follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town (in a world where Holidays all have their own town). As another Halloween comes to a close, the monsters of Halloween Town celebrate. But Jack feels like life is missing something…and while wandering through a forest, he discovers Christmas Town. Jack believes this is the answer he has been looking for and aims to step in and give Christmas Town some time off.
Jack has Halloween Town citizens creating toys and decorations…but because they are monsters, they make scary toys and decorations. Of course, nothing quite goes the way Jack had hoped. One citizen, Sally, is in love with Jack and tries to steer him from making a terrible mistake…but Jack is one determine skeleton.
Visually, The Nightmare Before Christmas is darkly beautiful. The stop motion puppets have a delightful and yet scary design. The songs, by Danny Elfman, are infectious (try and not get sucked into singing This Is Halloween or Making Christmas) and yet heartfelt. Part of what makes it work is how earnest Jack is. He is genuinely enthralled by Christmas Town. He really thinks he is doing a good deed.
This is a real joy of a film, having earned it’s place as a Christmas Classic.