Critic Reviews



Based on 31 critic reviews provided by
Time Out
This beautifully realised confection will delight grown-ups of all ages.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a major step forward for both stop-motion animation, which is stunningly well used, and for Mr. Burton himself. He now moves from the level of extremely talented eccentric to that of Disney-style household word.
The director of the film, a veteran stop-action master named Henry Selick, is the person who has made it all work. And his achievement is enormous.
Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas restores originality and daring to the Halloween genre. This dazzling mix of fun and fright also explodes the notion that animation is kid stuff. The history-making stop-motion animation in this $20 million charmer transcends age. It's 74 minutes of timeless movie magic.
The Nightmare Before Christmas has something to offer just about everyone. For the kids, it's a fantasy celebrating two holidays. For the adults, it's an opportunity to experience some light entertainment while marvelling at how adept Hollywood has become at these techniques. There are songs (even if they aren't nearly as noteworthy as they should be), laughs, and a little romance. In short, The Nightmare Before Christmas does what it intends to: entertain.
A stop-motion charmer.
If it were a normal holiday animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas would be an entertaining, amusing, darker-than-usual offering indicating that Disney was willing to deviate slightly from its tried-and-true family-fare formula. But the dazzling techniques employed here create a striking look that’s never been seen in such sustained form, making this a unique curio that will appeal to kids and film enthusiasts alike.
Burton seems to waver between rooting for the scary guys and the cuddly ones, and his indecision makes it hard for us to respond on an emotional level. The result, though refreshingly different from mainstream animated fare, is ultimately more trick than treat.
Slant Magazine
Whereas the film is a marvel to look at, it’s unfortunately not much in the song or story department, as Danny Elfman’s musical numbers are—save for the opening’s boisterous “This Is Halloween”—generally banal and unmemorable, and the plot, despite only having to fill out a paltry 76 minutes, ultimately as emaciated and insubstantial as its leading bags of bones.
All gothicky, christmassy, romantic and Burtonesque. Worth a look.

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