Jack, the Pumpkin King!

A movie review on a Halloween or Christmas classic: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993).

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Jasmine Washington

‘Twas a long time ago,

Longer now than it seems,

In a place that perhaps you’ve seen in your dreams.

For the story that you are about to be told

Began with the holiday worlds of old.

Now, you’ve probably wondered where holidays come from,

If you haven’t, I’d say, it’s time you begun.”

-Opening, Patrick Stewart, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 

 

Have you ever been in the mood for a Christmas movie in the middle of Halloween? Have you been opening Christmas presents when your mind suddenly thinks of candy? Well, a perfect blend between Christmas and Halloween is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. A family movie classic, the film’s combination of character development, favorite holidays, and a classical orchestra sets the perfect scene for a wonderful movie.

As the movie opens, we hear a voice (Patrick Stewart) explaining to us what we may be witnessed through the story. Giving us foreshadowing, audience members watch as eerie music plays in the ears; the eyes focus on a Christmas tree door on one trunk, and a Jack o’ lantern door on another.

The Halloween door opens, and one of the most iconic songs from the movie, “This is Halloween”, begins to play. I feel like this has to be one of the most exciting parts of the movie – being introduced to all of these characters that you’ve heard from urban legends and older horror movies; and it’s entertaining. A world of darkness, unease, and sinister being fill Halloween while the characters celebrate another successful holiday. They’re all waiting for who the town members admire most, Jack Skellington.

 

With a gallant introduction, our main character comes to life, and audience members learn he’s not really happy. As Jack states in his song, “‘Somewhere deep inside these bones an emptiness began to grow.’” He’s realizing that his life of terrorizing others and fear isn’t truly what he wants, all while Sally (acting like a female version of Frankenstein) watches her “friend” with awe.

Once Jack Skellington wanders upon Christmastown, he knows he’s found what has been missing. We follow Jack through the story as he quickly learns that no matter how hard you try, fitting into someone else’s world will never work. Jack fails in creating a good Christmas for children, but he does come to realize that his true calling is to be the pumpkin king, and that what was missing wasn’t this.

In his triumphant return to Halloween after defeating the Oogie Boogie man, Jack also comes to realize that Sally, his friend who supported him through it all and still did what was best, might be what he’s been missing all along. 

Personally, I’ve always really loved this movie. Even as a kid I would beg my mom to let me stay up on Christmas Eve just so I could hear that opening song. I think what really makes this movie stand out is the orchestra – something that can either be extremely cheerful or eerie and disturbing to hear. I also feel like this film had such amazing voice actors that it was bound to be a great movie.

And as for the reviews of The Nightmare Before Christmas, it’s clear the movie has done well! With an 8/10 on IMDb, 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 93% liking from Google Play users, and a 5/5 for Common Sense Media, it’s not a shock that this movie is a Halloween favorite! If you’re searching for a more mature family-friendly film or a new favorite, I definitely suggest hearing Jack, the Pumpkin King. 

 

Image Sources: 

Image One: Featured Image, Amazon 

Image Two: ChronicleLive

Image Three:DirectConversations

Image Four: Sally, Pinterest

Image Five: WikiFandom

Image Six: Insider

(Note: Sources may not be accurate to article order).