*THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS REVIEW*

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What’s this, what’s this? (See what I did there).

A brilliant Halloween/Christmas film? Or both.

Yeah, I’ll get my coat.

24 years? Really? Well, despite that shocking revelation, The Nightmare Before Christmas is still a beautifully creepy, macabre (get me with the fancy words), musical masterpiece that I would happily watch again and again. And again. You get the idea.

It had been a while since I last viewed this with the family, but as soon as the opening song began, my feet were tapping and I was singing along, much to my parents’ annoyance. Once I got over the depressing fact that this film is as old as my little bro. Yikes.

I’m surprised that the West End or Broadway haven’t adapted this to the stage. I’m sure they did something at Disney for the 20th anniversary? BUT I digress . . .

We join Jack Skellington in the wonderfully gruesome Halloween Town as he battles the growing anxiety that something is missing in his life. Unhappy, he stumbles across doors that open portals to other towns, one being Christmas Town.

Elated that he may have found that missing link, Skellington tries to explain the concept of Christmas to the ghastly town with eerily hilarious consequences. A particular highlight being a little boy unwrapping a shrunken head, a very hungry Christmas wreath and toys that don’t quite gasp the concept of “play time”.

It may be a little frightening for children of a younger age. Saying that, my brother’s nearly 24 and it still freaks him out! Funny enough, this never did for me. (As a side note, the one that did was Toy Story. I know, right? Sid and Scud scared me and oh God, Babyface. Still shudder now, just typing the name).

Understandable that this world could only be brought to the screen by none other than Tim ‘Beetlejuice’ Burton and Henry ‘Coraline’ Selick.

BUT the pair fill these delicately creepy characters with such life and heart that make them so funny and entertaining from the delightfully satirical two faced Mayor (Glenn Shadix) to the (appropriately titled) Evil Scientist (William Hickey) with an abnormally sized cranium.

Packed with a wonderfully musical soundtrack by, one on the Burton checklist, Danny Elfman (who actually sang for Skellington. Sorry, Chris Sarandon fans).

I always use the excuse that this is a seasonal film just to watch it. Well it does feature Halloween, Christmas and Easter (well it’s got the Easter Bunny in it!) and . . . It doesn’t matter a film like this can be watched anytime.

Beautifully haunting, great songs, great story, just a great film.

5/5 (Whatttt?)

Oh, a little parting gift as I can’t get this out of my head now . . .

 

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA REVIEW

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Brilliant, heartwarming, an unexpected treat.

Fifth grader Jesse Aaron’s (Josh Hutcherson) hopes of becoming the fastest runner in his class are dashed when new girl Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) outruns everybody, including him. However, they soon become friends and create an imaginary world called Terabithia, filled with fantastic creatures.

Firstly, I will admit that I have never read the book so I cannot make comparisons. BUT . . .

The most important thing when watching this film is to remember being a kid. As soon as the pair embark into the forest and create Terabithia, it made me nostalgic of when I once played crazy adventures in the garden.

At first, we see the kids using their imagination and pretending pine cones are grenades BUT as they keep going back, the forest becomes bigger and bolder. Their imaginary kingdom comes to life. The special effects are varied, from slightly cartoonish to visual delights (Understandable to an extent as it is now seven years old).

The film begins with the usual story of isolated bullied school kids who become friends, which makes for a slightly corny if very watchable first hour. The pair tackle their bullies, confront their fears and find escapism from their preoccupied families and stressful situations in a small forest near their homes.

It is a clever touch to see the ‘inhabitants’ of Terabithia reflecting a lot of their problems, with some of the evil crow creatures and trolls mimicking their bullies. An enjoyable romp that in one moment became so much more. I don’t want to say too much about the story because I want people to see this.

There was a twist that actually surprised me. *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* An unexpected tragedy transforms this film from a simple journey of two friends bonding and escaping their worries to one of preparing for the dangers of the real world, grief and growing up.

A subject matter that is delicately dealt with and brilliantly performed with emotional gravitas. A beautiful drama that mixes fantasy with the real world that may be unexpected for the little ones, so be warned.

An uplifting, emotional family drama that is worth a watch. Great writing and a great cast featuring the likes of Robert ‘T-1000’ Patrick as Aaron’s emotionally detached father and the beautiful Zooey ‘New Girl’ Deschanel as the zany music teacher (Why am I not surprised?).

It is great to see how far the young leads Hutcherson and Robb have progressed from this beautiful little film to featuring in bigger affairs such as Hunger Games and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

A surprise for a change.

3.5/5