Late Movie Review: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: It feels like nothing is happening in reverse in this film
I either wasn’t allowed to or couldn’t afford to see most popular movies when they came out. I am catching up and reviewing them today.
Since my college years people have always told me that I should watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. There’s entire stores dedicated to merchandise for it at the Disney parks, so I have to imagine it’s very popular. It has probably a thousand times more merchandise than Disney’s Haunted Mansion itself.
Netflix finally had it on streaming so I watched it today. Or rather I tried to. I got 52 minutes in before I rage quit.
The Nightmare Before Christmas looks gorgeous and is technically stunning, but the film itself is like a paint by numbers of everything that I absolutely can’t stand. I personally loathe musicals where the people never or rarely speak to each other like actual human beings – and that’s exactly what happens in this film. The music almost never stops the irritating singing and honestly, the best thing that I can say about the music is that it’s boring. The truth of the matter is that the songs are repetitive, flat, and uninspiring. It’s like being clubbed on the head with a music box that smoked too much pot.
The film centers around Jack Skellington, who is surprisingly voiced by Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo. Jack is bored for no real reason that is illustrated visually to us – it’s all told to us in the laziest speak-singing possible. Sally, a sewn together creature girl of some kind looks on passively from the shadows. To me she is neither interesting or compelling. She’s boring and wishy-washy. It’s obvious immediately that what is going to happen over the next hour and a half is that Jack is going to learn a Christmas lesson when trying to take over Christmas Town and fall in love with Sally.
Who gives a shit?
Perhaps if I had seen this when it came out or as a child my opinion would be different. Tim Burton has done the same ideas over and over again such that he has almost become a cliche. Watching this film in 2014 for the first time – it is impossible not to view it through eyes that are really damn tired of seeing the same flowy dark shit thrown together with the music box sounds. All this film needs to fit with Burton’s last billion films are Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter farting out some steampunk. Again.
This is the first film that I have seen recently that I had to stop. I could make it all the way through Hostel 1 and 2 which are films that I feel robbed me of hours of my life that I will never get back. I just couldn’t make it through this. The key here is that there was no carrot of curiosity that inspired me to stick it out. I don’t even care what happens in it or how it ends. That might be because the ending and entire plot is obvious from the first 2 minutes of the film. It feel more like a tech demo that should have been made into a single music video for perhaps the actual Oingo Boingo band than a standalone film rooted in narrative.
It feels like nothing is happening in reverse in this film. If I hadn’t been doing my nails during it I would have shut it off sooner.