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The Nightmare Before Christmas Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this offbeat, stop motion-animated movie is one of the great family films for all ages. That said, it does have scary Halloween creatures in it -- characters take off their own heads and limbs, and there are skeletons, nasty toys, and a creepy villain named Oogie Boogie. A Christmas tree even burns up. Some little kids who aren't old enough to distinguish this fantasy from the goings on at Halloween (or those prone to nightmares) might steer clear, although you can always pause the TV and talk about what's scaring them. The special 3D version is identical in content and storyline to the original, but the enhanced visuals may add marginal spookiness and could further blur the line between fantasy and reality for some younger kids.

  • Families can talk about why we celebrate the holidays we do. What does your favorite holiday mean to you? Has anyone ever tried to ruin one of your holiday experiences, and how did you overcome that? When you get tired of something, what are some creative ways to bring excitement back into it?
  • Why did Jack's experiment fail? Is it fair to expect people who have done something the same way for a long time to change quickly? Could Jack have tried his ideas a different way?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The main character, Jack Skellington, wants to take over Christmas, but learns the lesson that the grass isn't always greener. It advocates thinking before you act and being grateful for what you have.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The hero, Jack Skellington, is a kind-hearted and likable character. He makes mistakes but through the course of the film learns from them and corrects them. He doesn't act out of malice and he is enduringly innocent. Sally, Jack's love interest, is the only character to speak out against his plan to take over Christmas and she also helps Jack to correct his mistakes at great risk to herself.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Characters take off their own heads and limbs.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not applicable

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable