Kewl, 3-D. I've not seen a 3-D movie since Jaws 3-D
and Friday the 13th Part 3 (am I aging myself?), but
I'm a sucker for a good gimmick, and the idea of watching a
bag full of vermin named Boogie Oogie dance around in 3-D and
black light holds real appeal.
If I had not seen A Nightmare Before Christmas when
it was first released, almost 13 years ago, I would have been
every bit as excited as the gaggle of giggling middle-school
girls I took with me to the theater — a friend's kid and
her closest posse of eight or nine friends. You can only appreciate
a good Disney flick if you go with kids.
We sat in the theater dressed in Halloween costumes (it was
a special premiere, after all) playing with the polarized glasses,
and I took in the thrill in the theater. Something about kids
made this re-release almost as much fun as the first time out
for Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars prequel.
Finally the lights dimmed and a short animation told us to
put on our special glasses. The animation of the opener really
seemed to pop out of the screen. I mean this knocked my
proverbial socks off. A cute 3-D cartoon followed, and finally
the main feature . . .
Gods, how disappointing. While the movie itself was as terrific
as I remember, it was not filmed specifically for 3-D, and it
shows. Though a few scenes with overlaid animations are truly
eye-popping, most of the scenes are only slightly three-dimensional,
and it struck me that converting this movie to 3-D was an awfully
big waste of time. Disney could have simply re-released the
movie as it was (one of my faves), counted the easy money, and
then put together a new blockbuster designed specifically for
the 3-D format.
But I suspect I am just jaded. I took off my glasses about
halfway through the movie and took a glance along my aisle and
saw face after dazed face staring hypnotically into the screen,
fascinated by the movie and the 3-D effects. So, properly reminded
of my age by the glazed eyes of hundreds of kids and many adults,
I returned to the movie and enjoyed the ride. Jack Skellington
stole Christmas, Boogie Oogie stole Santa, and it was all as
much fun as I remembered the first time around in 1993.
As we rolled out of the theater so this aging kid could get
the circulation running in his legs, the gaggle of girls clustered
around talking about this scene and that, sticking splayed hands
into each other's faces to emphasize the 3-D effects that stunned
and thrilled them. As I piled them into my Jeep they continued
to cackle and talk about things popping out at them. The latest
Hot Topic clothes, tomorrow's English test and Sally X's latest
boyfriend were temporarily forgotten. They were still singing
"This is Halloween" as I dropped them off at their houses, and
I was truly impressed at just how well Disney had judged the
market on this one.
Even if you've seen A Nightmare Before Christmas before,
or have it on DVD at home, it is worth a visit to the theater
to catch it this time around. If you have never taken the time
to watch this movie, I highly recommend you remove your slowly-spreading
butts from in front of the computer and go enjoy a fun night
at the movies.