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Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas: The Film, the Art, the Vision

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On-screen, Jack Skellington leaps with joy, singing with wonder at his discovery of Christmas Town. He seems so real, so alive, that we believe both he and his fantastical worl must somehow exist. But in reality it is not Jack who is the star of the show; it is the over 140 artists and technicians who spent more than two years bringing Jack and all his cohorts to life on th On-screen, Jack Skellington leaps with joy, singing with wonder at his discovery of Christmas Town. He seems so real, so alive, that we believe both he and his fantastical worl must somehow exist. But in reality it is not Jack who is the star of the show; it is the over 140 artists and technicians who spent more than two years bringing Jack and all his cohorts to life on the sceen. Every gesture Jack makes was created by a human hand, by an animator who moved the puppet in tiny increments from fram to frame. Every character, every set, every prop - even the candy dances - had to be designed and then actually fabricated by someone. This book tells the true story of the film, highlighting the art and the vision that make the movie so memorable.


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On-screen, Jack Skellington leaps with joy, singing with wonder at his discovery of Christmas Town. He seems so real, so alive, that we believe both he and his fantastical worl must somehow exist. But in reality it is not Jack who is the star of the show; it is the over 140 artists and technicians who spent more than two years bringing Jack and all his cohorts to life on th On-screen, Jack Skellington leaps with joy, singing with wonder at his discovery of Christmas Town. He seems so real, so alive, that we believe both he and his fantastical worl must somehow exist. But in reality it is not Jack who is the star of the show; it is the over 140 artists and technicians who spent more than two years bringing Jack and all his cohorts to life on the sceen. Every gesture Jack makes was created by a human hand, by an animator who moved the puppet in tiny increments from fram to frame. Every character, every set, every prop - even the candy dances - had to be designed and then actually fabricated by someone. This book tells the true story of the film, highlighting the art and the vision that make the movie so memorable.

30 review for Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas: The Film, the Art, the Vision

  1. 4 out of 5

    Parka

    (More pictures at parkablogs.com) This is the dark yet wickedly cool making-of book for The Nightmare Before Christmas. There are three parts to the book, The Film, The Art and The Vision. The first part is on how Tim Burton came up with his story and characters, the process of getting approval from movie studios to get his idea, asking Henry Selick to direct. If you still remember the tunes from the movie, this section contains the lyrics and you can sing along (if you want to). The second sect (More pictures at parkablogs.com) This is the dark yet wickedly cool making-of book for The Nightmare Before Christmas. There are three parts to the book, The Film, The Art and The Vision. The first part is on how Tim Burton came up with his story and characters, the process of getting approval from movie studios to get his idea, asking Henry Selick to direct. If you still remember the tunes from the movie, this section contains the lyrics and you can sing along (if you want to). The second section is the art. This is where you'll see the nitty gritty details on art direction, creating sets, sculpting characters and all sorts of post production work. The creative illustrations, film stills and photos aren't limited to this section as they are throughout the whole book. There's a good amount of artwork drawn by Tim Burton himself, in his usual scrawly scratchy style. The last part is additional commentary on the film with Tim Burton, Henry Selick (director), Danny Elfman (music), Caroline Thompson (screenwriter), Kathleen Cavin (producer) and Denise Di Novi (producer). They analyse the film from their own unique perspective and expertise, looking back at the challenges and fun working on the set. This is a nice visual companion, especially if you like the movie.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Having read this before and loved it (not to mention the fact that this is my favourite movie), I of course loved it all over again. The details and insights this book provides are superb and show the progression of the movie from Burton's original poem through the storyboarding, design, scripting and filming process. Not to mention showing the level of skill and dedication that everyone who worked on it had, which is more than impressive by itself. Not to mention that it gives me all the song l Having read this before and loved it (not to mention the fact that this is my favourite movie), I of course loved it all over again. The details and insights this book provides are superb and show the progression of the movie from Burton's original poem through the storyboarding, design, scripting and filming process. Not to mention showing the level of skill and dedication that everyone who worked on it had, which is more than impressive by itself. Not to mention that it gives me all the song lyrics so I can completely sing a-long next time I watch it...not that I would do that kind of thing mind you...!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hope Strickler

    The nightmare before Christmas is about a skeleton named jack who lives in a land of Halloween. One day he went on walk in the woods with his dog zero. Jack found trees with holidays on them. Jack found one with a Christmas tree on it. He opened it fell in and he suddenly was in a land with snow and joy fullness. He went back and told everyone he want to have Christmas not Halloween. Everyone got ready for Christmas. And jack made himself a Santa suit. And sent 3 kids to get Santa so jack can be San The nightmare before Christmas is about a skeleton named jack who lives in a land of Halloween. One day he went on walk in the woods with his dog zero. Jack found trees with holidays on them. Jack found one with a Christmas tree on it. He opened it fell in and he suddenly was in a land with snow and joy fullness. He went back and told everyone he want to have Christmas not Halloween. Everyone got ready for Christmas. And jack made himself a Santa suit. And sent 3 kids to get Santa so jack can be Santa. On the night of Halloween he went to Christmas town and when he gave kids toys they where terrifying toys. Everyone was finding jack. Jacks sleigh came down and when he go. up he realized he could not be Santa. So he just stayed himself. I recommend this book because the nightmare before Christmas is awesome. It was full of surprises and had lots of holidays. It is a popular book and movie.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Qt

    Very interesting and informative--and loaded with pictures, sketches, and photos!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    It's October, so I figured that there would be no better time to read about Tim BUrton's crossover holiday movie the Nightmare Before Christmas and I was definitely right! I enjoyed delving into the making of the film so much so that I just had to go and rewatch it. Knowing all the nitty gritty details about how it was made actually made the film even more enjoyable to watch, since I started noticing all the production details and could appreciate the huge amounts of effort put in by the crew to It's October, so I figured that there would be no better time to read about Tim BUrton's crossover holiday movie the Nightmare Before Christmas and I was definitely right! I enjoyed delving into the making of the film so much so that I just had to go and rewatch it. Knowing all the nitty gritty details about how it was made actually made the film even more enjoyable to watch, since I started noticing all the production details and could appreciate the huge amounts of effort put in by the crew to make the first feature-length stop-motion animated film. As per usualy with these types of book, I was left wanting more, but Thompson collected an admirable amount of material and presented it in a highly accessible (and readable) manner.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Incredibly captivating dive into the world of stop-motion animated film. Nightmare is one of my all-time favorite movies, it's one that I'm so completely bewitched by that I find myself returning to it multiple times every year. If you find yourself in a similar love affair with this film- then this is a great book to pick-up to learn more about the talented artists who worked tirelessly to bring this world to life. Lastly, if you're interested in learning more about stop-motion animation, story Incredibly captivating dive into the world of stop-motion animated film. Nightmare is one of my all-time favorite movies, it's one that I'm so completely bewitched by that I find myself returning to it multiple times every year. If you find yourself in a similar love affair with this film- then this is a great book to pick-up to learn more about the talented artists who worked tirelessly to bring this world to life. Lastly, if you're interested in learning more about stop-motion animation, storyboarding, and armature building- this would also be an excellent choice. Happy reading :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julius

    My 5th grade teach had me read this book. I like this book because the author wanted to make this book funny. The main character that I liked was jake the skeleton because he was able to come alive from nothing. What was most important thing i liked was when jack was taken to the boogie monster. The author mayed this book amazing

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    I actually enjoyed this book surprisingly, as I hate the movie. It was a quick, easy and fun read, the ending was sweet. It would have been better if it was a tad bit longer but overall it was great.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    It's a great book and fun to learn the behind the scenes in how the movie was made. The Nightmare before Christmas is one of my favorite movies

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    Necromancy, trees of life, archetypes...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie

    Beautiful book for the most beloved movie.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    Well balanced overview of the entire production of The Nightmare before Christmas from story, script, songs and character creation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alexxandria

    One of my favourite art novels, I have taken so much inspiration from this book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Drew Graham

    'Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems in a place that perhaps you have seen in your dreams, for the story which this has to be told began with Tim Burton's holiday worlds of old. Now you've probably wondered where stop-motion movies come from. If you haven't I'd say that it's time you've begun! For movies are the result of much fuss and hard work for the casts and crews who create them for us. Well, you see now, quite simply, that's all that they do, making one unique movie especially 'Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems in a place that perhaps you have seen in your dreams, for the story which this has to be told began with Tim Burton's holiday worlds of old. Now you've probably wondered where stop-motion movies come from. If you haven't I'd say that it's time you've begun! For movies are the result of much fuss and hard work for the casts and crews who create them for us. Well, you see now, quite simply, that's all that they do, making one unique movie especially for you. But once, a masterpiece ever so great occurred when several geniuses met... more or less on purpose. (u c wut i did ther?) So after Tim Burton had this idea of his rumbling around his brain for a few years, he was finally given the go-ahead by Disney to get it made into a film. This book outlines a lot of the details behind the movie, the artistic inspiration and execution, and the general art of this well-known and well-loved holiday cross-over movie. Stop-motion animation always sort of blows my mind with the level of detail and craftsmanship and the painstaking nature of the process, but this book made me even more exhausted in that respect than watching the movies does. The work that these filmmakers put into every step of the process is just incredible, and this book does a good job of getting that across, not only regarding the artistry, but also the technological and technical details that are required to complete a project like this. I thought the balance between text and art was a little too heavy in favor of the text, but it was always pretty interesting, and it also contained an outline of the script, including song lyrics (some of which were oddly inaccurate, at least according to the finished product), and parts of the original poem on which the film is based. I think if this book were to be made nowadays it would probably be a lot bigger, and include more art and less text. This is a great book for fans of Tim Burton's Halloween/Christmas extravaganza, or for anyone interested in the painstaking and impressive process of stop-motion animation. I thought it was a little text-heavy at times, but it still had a lot of great art (from concept stages to finished sets and characters), and interesting details about the making of Tim Burton's animated masterpiece.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I read this picture book of her own to a four-year-old I was babysitting, but then the father returned and was disturbed that I was reading this to her. He said there were "much better choices" of Christmas stories to read to her than this one, and removed it from the playroom. I had assumed that since she owned the book it would be OK to read to her. The mother didn't know how they had come to possess the book, but thought it had been a gift from someone. I could see how some of the pictures mi I read this picture book of her own to a four-year-old I was babysitting, but then the father returned and was disturbed that I was reading this to her. He said there were "much better choices" of Christmas stories to read to her than this one, and removed it from the playroom. I had assumed that since she owned the book it would be OK to read to her. The mother didn't know how they had come to possess the book, but thought it had been a gift from someone. I could see how some of the pictures might be disturbing or scary to a four-year-old, and would probably have chosen more uplifting Christmas books for our own kids at that age, but I wouldn't have a problem with them reading the book and laughing now. Our youngest is eight. This particular four-year-old did not seem frightened by the book, but did ask why Jack was a skeleton. I didn't have an answer for that. Her older brother, seven, routinely watches and reads scarier stuff, including Star Wars, so I think she's been toughened up by inadvertent exposure to scary stuff. OK - enough of the debate surrounding this book. My personal opinion: I thought it was funny and creatively done. It definitely does not portray much of the deeper meanings of Christmas, if that's what you're looking for in a book. If your kids are old enough not to be scared and want a brief laugh at something before delving into the more serious meanings of Christmas, then this book would fit. If you really wanted a positive message from the book, I would focus on Santa's forgiveness of Jack and the others.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

    This book is a most beautiful and heart-warming tribute to a movie that is powerful that not even the most omnipresent and blatant commercialization has been able to strip it of its magic and craftsmanship. An excellent balance between texts and images makes this book a most enjoyable reading. Tim Burton's original sketches, matched with illustrations and photographs from the whole production process, mixed with the (almost) complete lyrics from the soundtrack and Frank Thompson's caring and ins This book is a most beautiful and heart-warming tribute to a movie that is powerful that not even the most omnipresent and blatant commercialization has been able to strip it of its magic and craftsmanship. An excellent balance between texts and images makes this book a most enjoyable reading. Tim Burton's original sketches, matched with illustrations and photographs from the whole production process, mixed with the (almost) complete lyrics from the soundtrack and Frank Thompson's caring and insightful prose, make this an essential reading for any Nightmare's fan, as well a required reading for anyone interested in contemporary stop-motion animation. An updated version that included an essay on the legacy of the film would improve upon a delightful book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marta

    Tim Burton - an out-of-this-world visionary, Henry Selick (the director of the movie) - a hard working genius, and Danny Elfman (the composer, lyricist and singer) - magical masterpiece of a mind, and many many more talented creators who brought this incredible story of Jack Skellington to life - THANK YOU!!!! This movie is so much more intricate and complicated than it seems at first sight, and with all the meticulous work that's been invested in it, Nightmare Before Christmas still appears to Tim Burton - an out-of-this-world visionary, Henry Selick (the director of the movie) - a hard working genius, and Danny Elfman (the composer, lyricist and singer) - magical masterpiece of a mind, and many many more talented creators who brought this incredible story of Jack Skellington to life - THANK YOU!!!! This movie is so much more intricate and complicated than it seems at first sight, and with all the meticulous work that's been invested in it, Nightmare Before Christmas still appears to be effortless. The book by Frank Thompson is a must read for everyone who truly want to understand what lies beyond the screen and for those who want to see why animation should be praised higher, for every page you turn, you can't help but say: "What's this?"! ;-)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I loved this book, It has copies of some of the lyrics from Danny Elfman's songs in the film. The Thompson went into alot of detail into decribing how the puppets were created, how they work ect. And over all I found this book really interesting. There were also quite alot of photos from a production stand point. I would have liked a copy of Tim Burton's original poem included as well as some more of his sketches. But other then that I thought it the book was really well done and it makes me app I loved this book, It has copies of some of the lyrics from Danny Elfman's songs in the film. The Thompson went into alot of detail into decribing how the puppets were created, how they work ect. And over all I found this book really interesting. There were also quite alot of photos from a production stand point. I would have liked a copy of Tim Burton's original poem included as well as some more of his sketches. But other then that I thought it the book was really well done and it makes me appericate the time and effort that went into the making of this film even more. And it's STILL one of my favouriet movie!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rose English

    A MUST for all fans of this amazing animation, from the weird and wonderful mind of the master Tim Burton. This bright, colourful beauty not only contains illustrations from the movie and early storyboards, but also has the Complete Lyrics from the film. Jack's Lament is one of my particular favourites. 'And since I am dead, I can take off my head To recite Shakespearean quotations No animal or man can scream like I can With the fury of my recitations.' Go on tell me you are not singing or at least hum A MUST for all fans of this amazing animation, from the weird and wonderful mind of the master Tim Burton. This bright, colourful beauty not only contains illustrations from the movie and early storyboards, but also has the Complete Lyrics from the film. Jack's Lament is one of my particular favourites. 'And since I am dead, I can take off my head To recite Shakespearean quotations No animal or man can scream like I can With the fury of my recitations.' Go on tell me you are not singing or at least humming along by now? Very Highly Recommended

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This book takes you into the fantastical world of the Nightmare Before Christmas, it tells how Tim Burton's original idea and poem became the much loved film, from how the music was written to how the characters themselves were made and animated. The book includes illustrations showing the sequence from Burton's original sketches through the artists hands to the final scenes and photos from the sets themselves without losing any of the magic from the movie or the story. A very interesting read t This book takes you into the fantastical world of the Nightmare Before Christmas, it tells how Tim Burton's original idea and poem became the much loved film, from how the music was written to how the characters themselves were made and animated. The book includes illustrations showing the sequence from Burton's original sketches through the artists hands to the final scenes and photos from the sets themselves without losing any of the magic from the movie or the story. A very interesting read that adds yet more depth to Burton's masterpiece.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimmy

    A fascinating look at the creation of the film, including many of Burton's original drawings, song lyrics, and production artwork. The book focuses on the work of the director, screenwriter, Burton's story work and Danny Elfman's work on the music as well as discussing the methods of making a stop-motion animation film of this scope and the difficulties and tricks of filming when every single item must be created from scratch.

  22. 5 out of 5

    TheReadingDemon

    Wow! This is one of my favorite movies of all time and this book supplies every detail you could ever want about the process of making this story come to life. With beautiful pictures, informative subtitles that introduce the next topic, and the topics themselves, this book is compelling and rewarding. I'm a Disney buff, so reading this book brings me more into the hidden nuts and bolts of Disney films. If you like this movie as much as I did, I highly suggest this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma B

    Have you ever wondered how the amazing story of Jack skellington came to life in its breath taking stop motion movie?Well, if you have, this book is perfect for you. It shows you how the puppets were made,Danny Elfman's music,secrets to stopmotion, even Tim burton's old art work! I think this book is great, and would recommend it to all the Tim burton fans out there.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allison Morris

    This book is filled with lots of behind the scene pictures and goes into exact detail on how the movie was made. I enjoyed Tim Burton's Forward to the book, and the fact that the book was mostly composed of quotes from Burton, Danny Elfman and Henry Selick. It was a quick and informative read that I'm looking forward to keeping packed with my Christmas book collection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha snyder

    this is a book about a guy name jack who lives in Halloween land and now he found another holiday and is trying to make it his world and he catches someone and when they catch the right person someone comes back to bring it to the boogie man

  26. 5 out of 5

    Malak Aly

    No stars for the story, which is a typical Disney adventure, not a bit more. Hardly interesting to me. Exceedingly predictable. But two stars for the well-executed illustration in fabulous black and white patterns =)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sally Tibbetts

    This story is full of whimsey and fun---the music from the movie is marvelous and the book itself, illustrated from the movie stills, is terrific. I loved the idea of Jack looking for the real meaning of Christmas and what he actually finds out. All the characters are creepy fun.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    I have this and I have to say that this is a must own for any TNBC fan. I learned a lot about the making of the film, more than I ever thought happened in the production. It's a pleasure to read and was a great gift from my mom.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lacy Lovelace

    I am in love with the Nightmare Before Christmas so I was so happy to get and read this book! The book is the back story/ behind the scenes look into how NBC came into being! Great pictures! Interesting process!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kassandra

    I loved all of the pictures in this book and I had to read it because it is one of my favorite movies ever! I learned a lot about how Tim Burton came up with the idea for The nightmare before Christmas. I recommend this book if you love Tim Burton's films.

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