(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Doug (vo): It's the holiday classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Boy, talk about a film that only did okay at the box office but just exploded in cult merchandise. Every year around Halloween, you see this stuff advertised and, hell, every year around Christmas, you see it advertised as well. Somewhere, the appreciation of this film just went through the roof, and now, everybody loves to draw the characters, they love to sing the songs, it's so iconic. But, once again, I almost feel like that can backfire and build it up too much for audiences that might be expecting something else. In a sense, that's kind of what I went through when I first saw it, and I saw it when it first came out. It was advertised on TV, Tim Burton's name was plastered all over it, and it came out around the same time that movies like Aladdin, Lion King, and so many other animated groundbreakers came out. So, with that said, I thought there would probably be a few more adult jokes thrown in there. You know, like what they did with Robin Williams improvising and so on. But that's not the kind of movie it is. It's more a warped version of those stop-motion Christmas specials that you see every year, except dragged out to an hour-and-a-half.
Doug (vo): It seems all the holidays are given their own land, Halloween Town, Christmas Town, all that kind of stuff. The leader of Halloween, Jack Skellington, is finally getting tired of his holiday and wants to try something new. Thus, he accidentally stumbles across the Christmas holiday and decides he wants to take it for his own. Showing the people of Halloween what he's discovered and even kidnapping Santa Claus himself, Jack decides he's gonna transform a merry Christmas into a scary Christmas. Instead of bringing treats and toys, he's gonna bring creeps and scares, ultimately resulting in a disastrous catastrophe.
Doug (vo): The movie has a lot going for it. First of all, the story's wonderful. It's so simple in its setup and yet allows for so much creativity. It's bizarrely very easy to explain and even easier to grasp. The visuals, of course, being a Tim Burton production, are gonna be wonderful, and not only that, the music's gonna be spectacular.
[The film's song sequences are shown]
Doug (vo): This is the first time in years Danny Elfman has been allowed to write songs again, and, man, do they knock it out of the park. You know these songs. "This is Halloween," "What's This, What's This," "Making Christmas," the list goes on. Elfman himself does the singing voice of Jack, and he adds so much character to him. This whole film is practically his movie.
[The film's clips, mostly showing the settings and the stop-motion animation, is shown]
Doug (vo): But what people might be turned off by, especially those who have had it hyped up, is that it is...maybe a little too simple, at least for what people might be expecting. The movie doesn't have a lot of inside jokes or super-clever writing, it's sort of very bare-boned. Because of this, it doesn't allow for a ton of character or a ton of surprises, but that's not really the focus. It's supposed to operate more like a very basic fairy tale, like a book you'd read to your little kid. In fact, hell, it was originally a book, and in rhyme, too.
[The cover of the book is shown]
Doug (vo): Some might have a problem with this, and it's understandable. They could've updated it a little bit more, they could've made the characters a bit more interesting. But for a lot of people, the simplicity is what draws them to it. It's a timeless story that can be told to anyone, and anyone can grasp it very quickly. It's similar to something like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. You don't need to know the boy's backstory, you don't need to know his character, you just need to know the very simple layout. Now, is that good for an hour-and-a-half movie? Some would debate no. Me, personally, I think there's enough creativity with the songs, the atmospheres, the designs, and even the very basic characteristics that I think it works okay.
Doug (vo): I'd be lying if I said this was one of my absolute favorite Tim Burton films. I mean, it's good, and I really like it, and I could hear those songs over and over. But it's not something I really watch because the characters are so deep or the emotions are so rich. I'll watch something like Batman and Edward Scissorhands for that. Nightmare Before Christmas is just a very simple yet still very clever and creative kids' story. And like I said, the simplicity is what helps it sell and what helps it stay around for so long. I think it's one of the reasons it wasn't a monster hit when it came out, but people still seemed to talk about it and buy merchandise from it all the time. They appreciate the basicness of it, in the same way they appreciate the basicness of Santa Claus, and can immediately connect it to the holiday, or in this case, two holidays. I'd say I appreciate it more than I like it, but I do still enjoy putting it on every once in a while. The songs, the imagery, the creativity, they're just a little too strong for me to resist. It's a simple film that knew just how much to deliver and how much to let you take away from it, and it doesn't look like it'll be leaving anytime soon.
[The film's final scene, showing Jack and Sally standing together on a hill as Zero flies into the sky and turns into a star, is shown]