Dave's Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D Review
by Dave Minkus
October 22, 2006
Chief resident of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, has just completed another successful Halloween with the entire town rejoicing. So why does he feel like something is missing? While pondering this, he stumbles into a place he's never been and learns of a glorious time called Christmas. As he embraces it the only way he knows how, will Christmas ever be the same anymore?
Ok, the movie is 13 years old. You already know if you're going to see it or not. You want to know if it's worth seeing and paying the extra charge for the 3-D glasses, right? I promise I'll get there eventually.
I have to be upfront and say that I've never been a big fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It certainly has its charming moments (especially as Jack discovers snow and Christmas), but the film never really connected with me outside of these occasional moments. This film is important because it's one of the first times that I realized that not every movie was meant for me. The execution of the stop motion for this film is amazing. Never before had a stop motion film given its characters such a sweeping range of motion, most notably during the musical numbers. This film has a lot in common with 2001: A Space Odyssey for me. I understand and appreciate that both films are achievements and mean the world to those who love them.
Now we get to the part everyone wants to know about. Probably the most disappointing part of the film is that it didn't look better. That isn't to say that certain parts of it didn't look spectacular. The scenes in Christmas Town and in Oogie Boogie's lair looked pristine and magical. Why the rest of the film didn't look the same way is something I don't understand. If this is Disney's first entry into the theatrical 3-D realm, why wouldn't they make sure it looks as good as possible? It didn't help that the Pixar short in front of it, Knick Knack, is probably the best thing I've seen in 3-D yet.
An interesting approach was taken to the 3-D in Nightmare. It seemed as if it was like watching a film in a shoebox. Instead of the entire film poking out from the screen, it seemed to go inward, which really helped give depth to the film. There were the couple times when something would jump out at the audience, and everyone screamed as they should. What made this choice work so well is that it made the landscapes look very realistic. You will almost believe you're looking at the set as they filmed it. Unfortunately, whenever the camera is spinning or moving very fast, your eyes may end up bugging you some. I had to take the glasses off twice during the screening to rub my eyes.
In the end, Nightmare fans will love this, not as much because of the 3-D, but because they get to see the film on the big screen again. Don't get me wrong, the 3-D was impressive, but I wondered, what if they had taken a Pixar film like Monsters Inc or The Incredibles for their first 3-D attempt instead - that would have been downright amazing.