Nightmare Before Christmas On Halloween

Last night, I went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3D. I’ve been a fan of this film since I first saw it during opening week back in 1993, and am just a bit troubled over how it has become an icon of teeny-bopper mall goth culture in recent years. I say just a bit because, well, nearly everything these days gets co-opted by some embarrassing force.

Over the last 13 years (God, where has the time gone?) I have watched the movie easily over 26 times (and all on VHS, mind you. I never did get around to the DVD.), and probably closer to 50. I like this movie. I have great respect, in particular, for Danny Elfman’s score (I was always really into Oingo Boingo), as well as the stop-motion animation technique, and the subtle, dark humor of the world Tim Burton created. Fast-forwarding to the animated features released in recent years (with a few notable exceptions by Pixar), every film seems to be another uninspired bunch of CG animals, banding together to fight the Man. I just saw a trailer for another penguin movie, for chrissakes! Will filmmakers ever again create something as original and wonderful as NBC? I hope so, but it is hard to find any evidence this might happen anytime soon.

How was the 3D? Amazing. Disney Digital 3D uses an innovative single-projector process (instead of the typical two projectors, with one image for your left and right eye, respectively), in which right and left eye images are alternated at a staggering 144 frames per second (read: really freaking fast). The result is a fantastically smooth three-dimensional effect. I was quite impressed with how well this movie translated into 3D. It was easy to forget I was wearing dorky glasses the whole time. The quality of the image was crisp, vibrant, and reminded me why I loved the movie in the first place. If, however, you’re looking to see insanely awesome 3D effects, this is not the movie to see. The effects are subtle, environmental, not flashy or over-the-top. Some of the moments of 3D are incredibly stimulating, still, like when we see falling snow, or when Jack races through the forest. But most times, you forget that it is 3D. That’s how good it is.

For awesome 3D, go no further than Captain EO (1986 - 17 minutes), a fantastic movie that also has the distinction of being, minute-for-minute, the most expensive movie ever made (something like one million dollars for sixty seconds). Plus, it stars Michael Jackson (yes, him). If you hear of it playing in a theatre with full 3D, go for it. I don’t think you’ll need the DVD, though. Not that amazing.