A live-action ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ could be in the works
Reportedly, Disney is now considering making a live-action version of the Nightmare Before Christmas. That’s right, Jack and Sally, in the flesh (or skeletons if you will).
The 1993 movie has been rumored to be possibly getting either a sequel or a remake. Well, the big Disney bosses are discussing it at least. That means that pretty much thirty years after the original, the franchise may be being renewed once again.
Disney has done this and succeeded before. Just look at Star Wars, Beauty and The Beast and Alice in Wonderland. However, there are issues with making a live-action version of The Nightmare Before Christmas film which isn’t quite as prominent in the other Disney properties.
For one, Tim Burton has always been adamant that there was not to be a sequel for The Nightmare Before Christmas, for the simple reason that frankly, it doesn’t need there to be. The film works well as a stand-alone movie and it’s part of why people love it so much. Other Disney movies swim in and out of public favor, one minute less apparent in the world and the next moment, part of a huge planned revival. Yet unlike the other Disney properties, this doesn’t describe The Nightmare Before Christmas at all. The Nightmare Before Christmas has never wavered from being loved by millions. It’s never fallen out of public adoration. We all love it.
With some of the live-action remakes, you can see how these can create renewed interest in a forgotten or older movie for new generations, but Nightmare is still being watched by new generations and it has avid fans, even more, today than when it was first released. It doesn’t need the popularity boost that a remake provides, in fact, it brings in so much revenue from merchandise and sales that it’s not like Disney needs to promote its worth.
A sequel does seem unnecessary for these reasons, but also when you look at the story. It was wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end of the film and there was no thread there to make any sequel. There’s something to be said for quantity and not quality here.
It also seems hard to contemplate the notion of live action when applying it to The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie was made using stop-motion animation. It’s this technique that gives it its charm and also means it is a movie of character design, craftsmanship and art.
How can this possibly be made live-action? In terms of Disney’s huge roster of planned remakes, so far we have dealt with either CGI animals or real human beings. Even the genie from Aladdin is a real-world Will Smith, but The Nightmare before Christmas features neither animals or real people. It’s the curious world of Tim Burton’s imaginings and own designs. You can dress a real person up as Jack Skeleton but they will never actually look like Jack Skeleton. You could use CGI to create Jack but then how is this going to be any more real life than the original stop-motion animation? It would still be voice actors speaking the parts of an animation, which is exactly what Nightmare already is.
Do I also need to mention that a real-life version of Nightmare would actually be scary? As it is the movie is accessible to children and adults alike, but how is Disney going to adapt it to the screen without taking realism too far? Where will they draw the line? The style of art and character design in Nightmare is so distinct, that it is hard to imagine how a live-action version could possibly capture that same style, uniqueness, and distinction from other movies which is what makes the original so loved.
If it gets the go-ahead, it will be interesting to see how these issues are dealt with and approached. Disney has so many sequels and remakes in the Works such as Dumbo and Aladdin released this year, but also there have been both reports of The Little Mermaid and Mulan to name a few, not to mention the live-action The Lion King that is well on its way. As avid Disney fans, let’s keep an open mind and trust that Disney knows what they are doing.