TV Tropes Org
site search
The Nightmare Before Christmas back to reviews
Comments
Great in design, but has some problems
Let's get this straight. The nightmare is not a bad movie by any standards. The designs especially stand out as incredibly detailed and beautiful, as do the characters. Many of its songs have become christmas classics, and there is nothing contestable about that. However, there are still some problems that can have a negative impact on your story experience. The main character, supposedly one of the scariest things in the world with a scream that terrifies all, is portrayed as a friendly, creative man at all times, with the only supposed scariness being expressions he holds for less than a second, which makes him feel like a bit of a waste in design. Many of the musicals, while having great music, have no real idea what to do with the character, who is just twirling around in a single location. The main villain is incredibly underwhelming in design and plans (seriously, a ghost-shaped cotton bag who, for some reason, has a gambling theme?) and does not deliver. The movie also has big problems with its tone at times, with single scenes switching tones or suddenly cutting off, which can make them feel disjointed. Even the animation, normally very good, has several notable drops in quality. However, I still recommend this movie for at least a single watch, even if it is just to see all the nicely designed characters.
I'm not a huge fan of this movie (I like it, but the hype over it can get a bit ridiculous at times). That said, I heavily disagree with some of your points.

The main character, supposedly one of the scariest things in the world with a scream that terrifies all, is portrayed as a friendly, creative man at all times, with the only supposed scariness being expressions he holds for less than a second, which makes him feel like a bit of a waste in design.
That's kind of the point. Halloween Town really isn't that scary, they just try to be that way because they feel happy doing it.

Oogie Boogie is really the only one who is intended to be threatening.

Many of the musicals, while having great music, have no real idea what to do with the character, who is just twirling around in a single location.
I heavily disagree. "What's This" and "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" both have plenty of movement and changing of sets. For "What's This," you have the snowy Christmastown, the factories of elves, the rooftops, and the insides of the cosy little houses. For "Kidnap", the characters actually sing the song while traveling to a different location (Oogie Boogie's house), and once there we get scenes of both the room they enter and Oogie Boogie's room.

The only song I remember being particularly confined to one spot was the Oogie Boogie song.

The main villain is incredibly underwhelming in design and plans (seriously, a ghost-shaped cotton bag who, for some reason, has a gambling theme?) and does not deliver.
I actually agree; Oogie Boogie's role feels very outside of the general plot, and he doesn't really have any connection to Jack's fascination with Christmas. I don't think his visual design was bad (I rather like the detail on the sack), but he really felt forced in just so they could have a villain.

The movie also has big problems with its tone at times, with single scenes switching tones or suddenly cutting off, which can make them feel disjointed. Even the animation, normally very good, has several notable drops in quality.
Could you note specific places where either of this happens? I remember the animation being quite jerky for the scene where the toys attack the kids.
comment #13017 Scardoll 1st Mar 12
I said many musicals, not all. 'Poor jack' probably stands out the most as being limited to one location, which really doesn't fit, especially in the second half.

Scenes suddenly changing tone: the finale, when it suddenly switches from a song that felt like it was building up to something (increasing tempo, etc), to Jack slipping after Sally and a romantic song. Jack changing his singing from describing happy things about christmas to the horror that is Santy Claws with no warning. Those are two of the worse examples, but frequently, it feels like I'm missing a couple of seconds from a scene (at least, thats how I experience it) Suddenly cutting off: The first conversation we see between Sally and Finklestein. Just after Jack finishes singing to halloween town about christmas for the first time, he goes quiet, in what appears to be the start of a more subdued personal song, sings one line and... scene ends. Jerky animation: jack eating the snow, jack falling down the snow hill, the part where Sandy has the vision of the burning christmas tree (is there ever any explanation given why she has that?)
comment #13019 ijffdrie 1st Mar 12
Now that I remember it, you're right about "Poor Jack" (It's also one of the songs I don't like as much).

However, "This is Halloween", "Making Christmas", "Kidnap the Sandy Claws", that sad song near the beginning where Jack walks down the tentacle hill, and "What's This" all featured a variety of sets. That's a nice number for me.

Jack changing his singing from describing happy things about christmas to the horror that is Santy Claws with no warning.
The crowd wasn't interested in that scene because they didn't understand Christmas; that's why he changed his narration so abruptly.

Suddenly cutting off: The first conversation we see between Sally and Finklestein. Just after Jack finishes singing to halloween town about christmas for the first time, he goes quiet, in what appears to be the start of a more subdued personal song, sings one line and... scene ends
I don't remember the Finkel scene, so I'll take your word on it. For the song, that's just how the song is. After veing very bombastic, we see only a small glimpse of what Jack really wants.

Jerky animation: jack eating the snow, jack falling down the snow hill, the part where Sandy has the vision of the burning christmas tree (is there ever any explanation given why she has that?)
Meh. It's very hard for me to criticize the animation (Considering the amount of time and effort that went into it), but I see what you mean.

Also, the burning Christmas tree symbolized how Jack's plan was going to end up ruining Christmas.
comment #13021 Scardoll 1st Mar 12
I'd accept that as the reason if it wasn't clearly shown in the rest of the movie that he didn't understand squat about christmas either, by kidnapping santa claus, giving children murdrous toys and all that.
comment #13051 ijffdrie 4th Mar 12 (edited by: ijffdrie)
You're right that Jack only gets the surface details of Christmas (The snow, the happiness, the lights, etc), but doesn't get the core. You'll notice that even before he changed the way he talked about Christmas to a more scary description, he was still just talking about the imagery like packages and trees. Jack is desperate for something new. However, the other residents of Halloween town don't even understand why those surface details are appealing when they've spent every Halloween Night trying to be scary-looking.

Jack kidnapped Santa Clause because he wanted the imagery of Christmas; the townsfolk created murderous toys because they didn't really know any better. It's all a classic case of imitation without understanding.
comment #13053 Scardoll 4th Mar 12 (edited by: Scardoll)
In order to post comments, you need to Get Known
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy