Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is one of those classic movies from my childhood that shaped my view of art. It kept me enamored with animation for my entire life, opened up the world of stop-motion animation and made me love musicals. This new, 3-D version doesn't add any new scenes or change any of the plots. Instead, it makes an already visually impressive movie even more visually impressive.
For those not familiar with the "Nightmare Before Christmas," it follows the story of Jack, the Pumpkin King, a kind of a ruler/administrator for Halloween Town, the source of Halloween. As an immortal, he's been causing fright since Halloween first began. He's been at his job for centuries and he's not just good at it, he's the best.
However, Jack has long since become bored with scaring people. He wants to find something new. So, after one Halloween, Jack wanders away from Halloween Town and winds up in a forest that serves as a nexus for the towns of the different holidays. Curious, Jack opens a door shaped like a tree and falls into a wonderland of joy, color and snow.
After exploring this Christmas Town, Jack gets it in his head to celebrate Christmas instead of Halloween this year and returns home to explain it to the other denizens of Halloween Town. Unfortunately, none of the citizens of Halloween Town understand the holiday as well as Jack does, and Jack barely understands it at all. This leads to a near disaster on Christmas Eve as Jack goes on his journey of discovery.
The new version adds nothing to the movie, which is something of a blessing and a curse. None of the excellent songs or characters is altered in anyway. However, it still has the same problems the plot did in 1993. Oogie Boogie's role is still underplayed, which is something of a problem because his role is something of a mystery. He's not really the main antagonist, that would be Jack's misguided ego, but he's still a bad guy. It's as irritating now as it was 14 years ago.
Of course, what's important is how effective the new 3-D element is for the film. For the most part, it doesn't really add anything. It just makes some of the scenes look pretty neat. However, there are a few scenes where the added depth of the third dimension really adds to the picture.
The best example is right at the end when it's snowing. I felt like I could reach out and pluck the snowflakes right out of the sky as they fell. It was beautiful.
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