Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oral Presentation- Part 2 - Historical and Socio-culutural

II. Historical and Institutional Factors-

1. What are the institutional factors that may be important?
1. "Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1994) released through Disney’s Touchstone division due to concerns over potential controversy due to its dark themes, but later wholeheartedly embraced by Disney as evidenced by its merchandising and the annual change of the Haunted Mansion into a “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme." Walt Disney funded the Nightmare $18 million dollars. That's an average of $6 million dollars every year that Nightmare was in production. This budget is actually relatively little when compared to other Disney blockbusters but it grossed $50 million dollars in its first theatrical run in the United States.
2. What is the film’s historical significance?
1. as a document of its time? None?
2. as a part of history of film?
This film wasn't the first stop motion film, but it was the most advanced stop motion film during its time. The film ran at 24fps so there were 24 movements per second. The movie is 76 minutes long which means that the film crew had to move the characters a total of 109,440 times which was unheard of. The team was made up of over 100 animators and technicians and it took them 3 years to finish the creation of the film. No stop motion film ever needed that much dedication for it to be produced.

III. Socio-cultural context

In the making of this movie and i learned that Jack Skellington is somewhat of a parallel to the Grinch. But instead of hating Christmas Jack finds and becomes infatuated with Christmas. From here i can see a theme relating to the true "spirit of Christmas" which basically revolves around love. In the Grinch the Grinch lacks a heart, figuratively, but gains one at the end of the movie when he sees that the world is a kind place. Jack on the other hand literally has no heart and says that theres a longing he's never known, something that he's never experienced. He at first believes that the longing is for Christmas, but it turns out to be for love - the same thing that the Grinch was longing for. Jack of course finds love with Sally, and Christmas is then experienced by those in Christmas Town, and those in Halloween Town -- those in Halloween Town experience snow. In the end the spirit of Christmas brings joy to all who take part in it -- those in Christmas Town, Halloween Town, and the Grinch too.

Something else that the film explores is some aspects of Christmas, and additionally the film contains several children themes. In the Christian Christmas, the exchange of gifts has become a core aspect in modern day. In Christmas town the residents receive presents from a Santa Claus. Santa Claus is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24. As Jack travels to Christmas Town he sees only benevolent kids of all races. This was probably done so that Tim Burton wouldn't receive any criticism for being an advocate for racism, and he's not as shown by the children in Christmas Town. Anyways, these sweet children were excited to receive gifts from Santa Claus, but when Jack delivered them "gifts" all of Christmas Town became hectic because they were given gifts of horror. The military tried to shoot down Jack because he was an impostor of the real Santa Claus. Perhaps this shows another underlying theme. The theme that people shouldn't strive to be what they're not but should instead be happy being what they are because they're good at. At the conclusion of the movie Jack realizes this and says to himself that he is the Pumpkin King, not Santa Claus. Of course the children in Christmas Town receive their gifts, and Jack is able to find love. Jack is able to of course because he realized that what he did was wrong and asked Santa Claus for forgiveness. This theme relates especially to children who must learn between what is right and wrong and always stick with whats right. Of course these themes are present because this movie was released during the Christmas holidays and was meant to be a kids movie. Or rather kids of ages 8 and up. Also the movie revolves around the Christian and Halloween holidays because the film was released mainly in America. This makes sense since Americans practice these holidays yearly and like watching Christmas movies.

The last and more obvious similarity between "Nightmare" and other Christmas films is that they are musicals. Musicals tend to catch kids' attention because children like catchy tunes and like the magical feels that musicals have. Also musicals are happy and exciting for the kids. This explains why Burton recruited Danny Elfman to create the songs -- he is an extremely good song writer and lyricist who's easy to work with and who is dedicated to his work. Also, the musicals are very dreamy for the kids because Walt Disney is the company that the movie was being produced under. Typically Walt Disney creates kids' films which explains Burton's move towards a musical approach.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oral Presentations- Director's Influence-

I. Genre and Audience-

1. Fantasy
2. The movie is purely fictional, and takes place in a cartoon world. The movie targets kids and kids usually like fantasy which is why this movie is a fantasy.
3. Vincent, The Grinch, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
4. Tim Burton. He grew up watching films like the Grinch which inspired him to want to create animated films. 10 years prior to the movies creation, Burton was writing plays in which the character of Jack manifested itself. He presented the idea to Disney but was shot down. 10 Years later Disney reexamined the play and bought the rights. They only bought the rights then because of Burton's success with "Vincent." In his eyes "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is the opposite of the Grinch because Jack Skellington finds and falls in love with Christmas. Also, Disney knew that this film would be entirely made via stop motion. So Disney wanted to test the limits of stop motion and wanted to advance it with "Nightmare."
5. The producer and writer Tim Burton is famous for dark and quirky films. That explains why he used several silhouettes and shadows in the film more specifically in "Halloween town." He's worked as Disney's animator for several years which is why he decided to make this kids film. The director, Henry Selick enjoys to make scary films for young kids.
6. How does it fit within the director’s other work?
1. Not necessarily, because it is a kids film the main theme is basically good triumphing over evil.
2. Yes, stop motion animation is the director's trademark. The Corpse Bride shares the same use of stop motion. This film has been credited as being dazzling and unprecedented because of its incredible visuals and usage of stop motion that had never been seen before. About 400 "Jack" heads were created to emulate every sound and facial expression that he would make when he speaks. The dark imagery, heavy use of shadows, and silhouettes is present in Burton's "Vincent."
7. Good triumphs over evil.
8. Kids. By creating a surreal and magical world that both scares the kids, but brings out several other emotions such as laughter and wonder in kids.