[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
The Nightmare Before Christmas

A very spooky animated feature

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

November 1, 1993 -- Tim Burton's ``The Nightmare Before Christmas'' is the latest show to hit town (as of Nov. 1), and while it is no gem, it is better than I expected it to be.

``Nightmare'' has a truly unique look. It has the best stop-action animation I've ever seen. Stop action animation got its first big exposure in the 1933 classic, ``King Kong.'' Willis O'Brien used miniatures, moving them fractions of an inch for each frame of film, creating the illusion of movement in the big ape. Ray Harryhausen learned from the master and went on to create fanciful action scenes in films like ``The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad'' and ``Clash of the Titans.''

Burton brings stop-action animation to a new level in this film. The action is so smooth, the characters seem to have a life of their own. Visually, the film is stunning and there is some good visual humor and even a little romance.

The film is reminiscent of an earlier Burton film, ``Edward Scissorhands,'' but it falls short of the warmth and humor of that film.

The film is meant to be a quasi-musical, with songs and dances, but they are not very memorable. There's not much of a story, either, but the kids in the theater (I saw it on Halloween) laughed with delight on several occasions.

In many ways it is a very clever film, but it never lives up to the promise of its visual brilliance. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]  
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
    [Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)