The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Captivating and unforgettable. The stop-motion musical is one of the most creative and unique works of animation ever to be squeezed within a mere runtime of 76 minutes. Despite how short it is, there are so much being told thanks to the incredible storytelling. But most importantly, gratitude has to be given to producer Tim Burton for his excessively ingenious vision and for his idea of making characters sing through their dialogue and poems as if there are doing a play, making the film feel unique through its songs and dramatic delivery. Accompanied by low budget stop motion and a genius score (Danny Elfman OUTDID himself here!), it is one fantastic animation that I'd highly recommend to everyone who wants to see something enjoyable yet not too childish.
The score is really majestic, also the way the characters sing through their lines in a musical is very enticing to see. The musical pieces are distributed evenly throughout, contributing to the dark, scary ambiance. Yet, the music also seem to be what prevents the film into an too scary horror flick. There were scenes where the music added a cheerful tone to potentially frightening, disturbing images and make it somehow enjoyable. For example, the villain appearance might prove to be a bit too scary, but as soon as you realized he was just one of those chanting and bantering characters you'd overlook that fact. All these testifies how well executed is the movie, walking the trampolines between film elements of horror and family-fun. Release in 1993, before even the release of Pixar's first feature film, the animation should prove to be one of the freshest animated pictures ever to have shown on the big screen at that time.
I do believe, however, that the film lost a bit of its momentum as the climax kicks off, as if Burton couldn't conceive of the best way to end. Why should the villain begin mutiny? What got Jack enamored with Sally? Didn't it feel forced? What was with Santa Claus' inexplicable act of gratitude and kindness towards the village he abominates, raining snow over the land just after he censured the kidnappers for their diabolical act?
But regardless of some unexplained storylines and an average climax, you guys should be watching this film just in case you get bored of watching the same genre all over and over. Here's something new, even after 23 years since release.