Urban Cinefile
"I had a middle class, suburban upbringing - which I loathed. I kept my sanity by watching old Hollywood movies on the tv, where everyone was beautiful and had great emotions, and all the staircases had 400 steps."  -New Zealander Martin Wells, co-writer, co-director of Desperate Remedies
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday April 15, 2019 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Halloween's Pumpkin King Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon, singing voice of Danny Elfman) is dissatisfied with his lot. He has become bored with the same routine each year and wants to take over Christmas festivities for a change. He cooks up a wicked scheme to kidnap Santa Clause, against the advice of Sally (voice of Catherine O'Hara), the lonely rag doll who has a crush on him. But even when Jack realises his mistake, he still has to contend with the evil Oogie Boogie, before holiday cheer is restored.

Review by Louise Keller:
Still as fresh as the day it was released in 1993 and now in dazzling 3D, Tim Burton's stop-motion animated Nightmare Before Christmas is a compelling feast of twisted characters and imagery. Danny Elfman's songs and the distinctly Burton-esque characters make this a visual and musical treat for the whole family.

With overlong skeletal limbs, Jack Skellington is a distinctive and surprisingly well dressed Pumpkin King. But to Jack, Halloweentown is a bit like dullsville; Christmastown with its cheer and sparkle, offers a new challenge. It is almost shocking to witness the kidnapping of everyone's beloved Santa. Once he is safely locked away, however, Jack cuts a strange figure, as he flies into the starry skies with his sleigh led by the team of ghostly reindeer. But his off-beat gift-giving ideas (tree-devouring snakes, shrunken heads and toy ducks with bullet holes) terrify the children, instead of pleasing them.

But all's well that ends well and Jack sees the error of his ways and rescues Santa and the little rag doll who are held captive by Oogie Boogie, a marvellous creature made up of insects and slime. Musically, there are some clever pieces, including a Quartet of Draculas singing in harmony, and a rendition of Ain't We Got Fun in a minor key. The 3D effects are seamlessly integrated, offering a brand new magical experience for all.

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(US, 2006)

VOICES: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens

PRODUCER: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi

DIRECTOR: Henry Selick

SCRIPT: Tim Burton (Story and Characters); Michael McDowell, Caroline Thompson


EDITOR: Stan Webb

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: (Art Direction): Deane Taylor, Barry E. Jackson

RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 31, 2006; re-release October 25, 2007;

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019