Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas Countdown: Film #14 - The Nightmare Before Christmas & Film #15 - Miracle On 34th Street

At Halloween this year we first watched The Nightmare Before Christmas because it occupies that nice position between Halloween and Christmas film. It's one of those ones you can pull out to watch in the run up to Christmas when it's still a bit too early to start on the Christmas films and CDs.

It's one that I'd love to get on blu-ray at some point, the sort of animation that it is must look fantastic on blu-ray. But the version we have looks very nice, I bought it for Mr. Click's stocking a few years ago. It looks pretty much identical to this:
I have to admit that this film does kind of creep me out. I was given the option to see it in the cinema when I was much younger and I'm very glad that I didn't, it probably would've given me nightmares. It really reminds me of the more modern Corpse Bride and now I've seen it twice in just a couple of months, I think I'll have to get a copy of that on DVD or blu-ray as well.

One of my favourite things about this film has to be the music. The story is pretty straightforward but the music is what makes it really special. The songs are the sort that worm their way into your head and you find yourself humming and singing them for days afterwards.
I really love the way that it's animated. Nowadays when we're so used to computer animation, this really stands out, especially when you think about the amount of time and effort that would have had to go into producing this one. It's so well done that you forget that you're watching something that was created by hand. It's so distinctly Burtonesque as well, with the curls and curves and zany architecture. I have a huge soft spot for Tim Burton's films and I fully intend to expand my collection!

The other film that we watched, just yesterday, was Miracle on 34th Street, the more recent one that was made in 1994. This is another traditional Christmas film for me, I've seen it pretty much every year since I was eight.
As much as I love the original, this is my favourite version. It's been very well done to make it feel rather timeless. Little things, like the children's clothes, are designed to look slightly old-fashioned, so although it's made in the 90s, there's not really anything standing out immediately as being from that particular era. It feels as though it could be happening ten years ago, or right now.

Richard Attenborough is Santa Claus for me. Everything about him is just how I imagine the man himself would be. He's really lovely and I much prefer the modern version of the story to the original one. I prefer Kris defending himself against the other Santa and being set up, rather than just attacking the psychologist as he does in the original. I also prefer the way that it is resolved with the Judge deciding that he can't really rule either way, rather than the whole thing hinging on the decision of a couple of guys in the Dead Letter Office.
Unfortunately, age is making me into a bit of a cynic so there are some points that stand out rather more now than they have on previous viewings. We did joke, as we watched it, that this could have been called Home Alone 3, Susan's mother seems to have no problems leaving her daughter apparently on her own on Christmas Eve.

Brian's proposal to Dorey seems to come a little out of the blue as well, judging from how surprised she is by it. You get the impression that you're seeing their story from about halfway through and that perhaps there has been something between them, but as we're not told what that might have been, their relationship is a bit confusing. I mean, they obviously love each other and get together by the end, but I really wish I knew what the deal between them was.

Other than that, it's still a magical film. It's still one of my absolute favourites and I'm glad that I've not missed out on it this year.

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