Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

In this animated holiday fantasy, each holiday has its own town and ruler, entered through special doors in a ring of trees. Jack Skellington, the PUMPKIN KING, a thin, skull-faced character, is the ruler of Halloweentown. Stumbling into the ring of holiday doors, Jack is drawn to the Christmastown door. In Christmastown, he discovers a warmth and a joy inside he's never known. Jack decides to take control and perverts the joy sharing at Christmas. He sets his ghouls to toy-making; creates a coffin-shaped sleigh; has a mad scientist create skeletal reindeer; and even has a ghost dog with a glowing pumpkin-nose to light the way. The trick-or-treat trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel kidnap Santa and give him to Oogie-Boogie the Boogieman. When he causes fear instead of joy, Jack realizes that he should stick to his own holiday. But can he save Santa in time to correct the wrong? Somewhat entertaining in its novelty, Burton misses the mark by focusing too much on Jack's world and not enough on Christmas.

Like Tim Burton's BATMAN movies, this holiday feature is not a cartoon for young children. Using stop-action animation rather than cartoon graphics, Burton brings many nightmare characters and images into his film. Vampires, witches, werewolves, skeletons, monsters and mad scientists populate his Halloweentown. The images could cause even older children to have bad dreams. The tree doors suggest a relationship between New Age nature worship and the holidays. Sally, one of the main characters, is a sewn together creation of the mad scientist. Her hands or legs are often pulled off and function even while detached, but she can sew herself back together. Sally also frequently poisons the scientist to get out of the house, but the poison only puts him to sleep. The evil character of Oogie-Boogie is a bag stuffed with bugs and worms. On the positive side, Jack is enthralled and warmed by the joy of Christmastown. Unfortunately, the film focuses on Jack's perversion of Christmas rather than the true warmth and joy of the season. Jack shows remorse when he realizes his version of Christmas is all wrong, but it's not enough to keep this film from being objectionable.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Buena Vista (Disney/Touchstone), 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Exclamatory - Twice

Violence: Many times - Cartoon violence (characters pull off head, arm, leg, etc. and put back on, Santa stuffed in sack, threatened with knives & cooking, torture suggested, presents attack children)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Leg put through gate to entice evil character

Drugs: None

Other: Halloween/nightmare characters (witches, vampires, monsters, werewolves, etc.)

Running Time: 76 minutes
Intended Audience: Age 6 and up

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