“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is one of those movies that I watched so many times as a child but hadn’t seen in over a decade. I’ll be honest, I’m glad that it’s been so long because it felt like watching it for the first time: I had forgotten just how marvelous and spell-binding the whole thing is from beginning to end. It’s a masterstroke of originality, blending two distinct holidays and their respective iconographies into a seamless whole that somehow manages to respect both without pandering to either. The musical segments are still enchanting, from the opening “This is Halloween” (which masterfully introduces the internal world we’re being dropped into without overloading the viewer with too much information) to the show-stopper “Oogie Boogie’s Song” (not to mention my personal favorite “Kidnap the Sandy Claws”), every single song is a knockout that’s impressively delivered by a once-in-a-lifetime combination of gorgeous stop-motion animation, first-rate direction, and narratively potent lyrics. It’s easily one of the most imaginative movies I’ve ever seen, one that can be watched over and over without losing its power to entertain.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)