The Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D experience from an old fan

nightmare before christmas_Keyart_rev_1_The Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that I’ve grown up with from when I was but a wee lad, and this is coming from a person that normally hates musicals. So, how would the El Capitan’s presentation of the movie in 4D change an experience I’ve been through dozens upon dozens of times before in the past 20 years?

Well, to be frank, not very much. But, being able to see it in theaters again was at least a treat, and there was a few other additions to the showing that made it all the more appealing.

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Primarily, this would include the introductory segment hosted by Oogie Boogie’s voice actor, Ken Page, who came out to the stage to sing the Oogie Boogie Song, much to the delight of all the fans in the sold out theater. Page would host a quick panel with guests Frank Thompson, a historian regarding the movie itself, and Rick Heinrichs, who worked closely with Tim Burton on the movie as well as other projects. Each of them talked about the rise in popularity of The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well as their own experiences working on the film.

The movie itself was the same as I remembered it being, with the brilliant stop motion animation of Jack Skellington and the gang being portrayed in 3D on the big screen, whilst 4D effects infiltrated the theater. Personally, I’m not a big fan of either format, and I feel that 3D movies are an incredibly overrated fad that I really wish society would be done with already. Still, there were a couple choice moments in the film where the 3D does make a difference, such as when Santa first gets shoved down the pipe toward Oogie’s lair, and the witches flying towards the audience during the opening segment.

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The 4D effects, meanwhile, seemed like a missed opportunity. Effects meant to portray strong winds instead felt like a gentle breeze, scenes with fire only had cheap plastic flame effects (though in retrospect, having an actual flames spitting out would probably violate several fire codes in the small theater), and areas where the crackling of electricity resounded in the theater just created a humongous distraction where the loud noise took over the movie audio itself. The two scenes that really made a difference were the fog rolling into the theater when Sally poured the fog juice in the fountain, and the snow falling into the theater at the end of the movie itself.

Still, being able to see the The Nightmare Before Christmas in theaters again was enough of an enjoyable time, and even now it never gets old, as I kept finding myself running the lyrics in my head during the course of the film. The small gallery they had open inside the lower level of the theater even had pieces from the actual film set on display, open for everyone to glance at. The actual 4D elements could have been done up better, but it was still an enjoyable experience simply for being able to watch one of my favorite movies once again and taking a peek at some memorabilia.

Tickets are still available for purchase from the El Capitan website, though you best get them early before they sell out completely. The movie itself will be screened through Nov. 3. For a taste of what to expect, check out some of the images below, courtesy of my century old Canon Powershot camera.

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Michael Revis
Michael Revis 219 posts

Michael is a man of many things. Journalist, writer, gamer, professional procrastinator, cosplayer, super hero, whale wrestler, evil mastermind, and robot master. And that's just on the weekends.