Editor’s Note: Please welcome guest author Matt Feige to The Disney Blog.
Last night was opening night for The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D at the El Capitan. The El Capitan runs The Nightmare Before Christmas for Halloween as part of an annual tradition. The line outside the theater was an eclectic mix of fans, not usually seen at Disney’s films, but a given for this film, now a too popular to call a cult classic.
As you file in, passing an authentic box office and beautifully decorated ceiling, you enter a completely different era, the golden age of Hollywood. The beautifully painted and sculpted interior is almost as welcoming as Rob Richards’ wonderful organ playing. Rob, who recently won the American Theater Organ Society’s Organist of the Year award, began with selections from Danny Elfman’s stunning Nightmare before Christmas score before moving on to more classic Disney fare and then finished with Hooray for Hollywood.
For opening night, we started with a panel discussion.
Don Hahn, a Disney figure in his own right, interviewed Director Henry Selick for about 15 minutes about the making of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the difficulty of making stop-motion films, and the exclusive use of in-camera effects. When Hahn referred to stop-motion as “painfully” built, Selick quickly interjected “Wonderfully.”
While explaining the subtle adjustments the animators make in order to make a character seem fluid and real Selick said the to be a great stop-animator must “Feel that Character in your whole body.”
After Ken Page, the voice of Oogie Boogie, appeared in a clip Don brought out Ken Page to perform “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” His onstage performance made clear the energy he brought to the role.
After Selick and Page left the stage Kahn acted as if the movie were about to begin, but the stage began to fill with fog and a candelabra floated across the stage. The Disneyland Dapper Dans then launched into a stirring rendition of “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”
While the performances and appearances were amazing and set the stage for this wonderful film, as always Disney’s details sold the show. It was the Christmas wreaths and pine garlands strung on the walls of the theater that got me in the mood to experience a film that has achieved Disney Classic Status. I highly recommend that you check out The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D at the El Capitan before November 1st when it is gone for another year.
When not busy turning Christmas into Halloween, Matt Feige can be found chattering on twitter.