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The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D
Reviewed by Todd Shearer, © 2006

Format: Movie
By:   Tim Burton
Genre:   Stop-Motion Animation (In 3-D!)
Released:   October 20, 2006
Review Date:   October 24, 2006
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

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.

After his prolonged Haitian vacation, Todd Shearer, resident pixel-pusher and occasional reviewer for RevSF, will soon be applying for a job in Halloween Town as a zombie movie theater attendant.

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