Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas premiered twenty years ago on October 29, 1993 and, for several years now, the movie has been presented in 4D at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The first time I went to see it there was in 2011 and I went again with my friend Annalou on the night of the water balloon fight.
4D takes the experience you would normally get with a 3D movie — glasses and all — and adds additional effects that stimulate the rest of your senses. In Christmas Town, you can smell the gingerbread. Lights around the room flash and crackle when there are jolts of electricity shown on screen. A flurry of fake snow comes down on the audience. There was even audience participation involved where you were directed by subtitles to bark with Zero or clap when the characters were clapping.
After the movie, we went to the basement area of the theater, where they featured a display of various memorabilia related to the making of the film. There were set pieces, storyboards, and pictures of the stop motion process. Did you know that there were 227 puppets used for the film and that Jack alone had roughly 400 different heads? It does get a little crowded when you go check out the exhibit, but people seem to flow in an out alright. It’s probably better to come to the movie early, get seats, and check out the exhibit before the movie plays.
Seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas at the El Capitan is a fun way to kick off the holiday season. Now that Halloween is over, Christmas and Thanksgiving is just weeks away. The rest of this year is going to start moving by really fast!