Misunderstood Monsters

April 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm (the Nightmare Before Christmas) (, , , , )

“I found that most monsters were completely misunderstood.  They usually had more sensitive souls than the human characters around them.”

Tim Burton

Tim Burton did not direct The Nightmare Before Christmas though he produce it.  The director Henry Selick does credit Burton with the story concept, character design, look and tone of the film.  In this post I would like to discuss the concept of misunderstood monsters as well as the message given in the film.

When you explain The Nightmare Before Christmas to someone they may feel that it sounds too morbid and or scary for children.   Selick states in the bonus features of The Nightmare Before Christmas. that , “As gruesome as these characters may look, none of them are actually are cruel, with the exception of Boogie.  Most of them are sweet, kind of like misunderstood monsters.”  What needs to be understood is that these creatures are doing their job in Halloweentown and desire to do what they do best, even if it is to hide under your bed.

As a child these monsters were not scary and that is because Tim Burton gave them souls, feelings and passion.  We see deep sadness as Jack Skellington enters the grave yard and sings, “Oh somewhere deep inside of these bones, an emptiness began to grow.”  At this point we also see Sally the rag doll display empathy for Jack and his feeling of needing something more.  As with most of Burton’s main characters, Jack feels misunderstood.  He tried to become something more by becoming something he is not.  Jack discovers in the end that is harder to be someone you are not then to just be yourself.

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