The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Directors: Henry Selick
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi, 2006 reissue, Don Hahn
  • Writers: Story, Tim Burton, Lyrics, Danny Elfman, Adaptation, Michael McDowell, Screenplay, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O Hara, William Hickey, Glen Shadix, Ken Page

“Halloween Town” is a dream world filled with citizens such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and witches. Jack Skellington (“The Pumpkin King”) leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town center, he accidentally opens a portal to “Christmas Town”. Impressed by the feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings and his (somewhat limited) understanding of the holiday to the Halloween Town residents. They fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween. He reluctantly decides to play along and announces that they will take over Christmas.

Jack’s obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa Claus. Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a rag doll woman who is created by the town’s mad scientist, begins to feel a romantic attraction towards Jack. However, she alone fears that his plans will become disastrous. Jack assigns Lock, Shock, and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to abduct Santa and bring him back to Halloween Town. Against Jack’s wishes and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa’s life as the stake.

Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa but is captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the lair and frees them, then confronts Oogie and unravels his outer covering to spill out all the bugs that live inside him. With Oogie gone, Santa reprimands Jack before setting off to deliver the right presents to the world’s children. He makes snow fall over Halloween Town to show that there are no hard feelings between himself and Jack; the townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it. Jack reveals that he is attracted to Sally just as she is to him, and they kiss under the full moon in the cemetery.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Directors: Henry Selick
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi, 2006 reissue, Don Hahn
  • Writers: Story, Tim Burton, Lyrics, Danny Elfman, Adaptation, Michael McDowell, Screenplay, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O Hara, William Hickey, Glen Shadix, Ken Page

“Halloween Town” is a dream world filled with citizens such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and witches. Jack Skellington (“The Pumpkin King”) leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town center, he accidentally opens a portal to “Christmas Town”. Impressed by the feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings and his (somewhat limited) understanding of the holiday to the Halloween Town residents. They fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween. He reluctantly decides to play along and announces that they will take over Christmas.

Jack’s obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa Claus. Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a rag doll woman who is created by the town’s mad scientist, begins to feel a romantic attraction towards Jack. However, she alone fears that his plans will become disastrous. Jack assigns Lock, Shock, and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to abduct Santa and bring him back to Halloween Town. Against Jack’s wishes and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa’s life as the stake.

Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa but is captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the lair and frees them, then confronts Oogie and unravels his outer covering to spill out all the bugs that live inside him. With Oogie gone, Santa reprimands Jack before setting off to deliver the right presents to the world’s children. He makes snow fall over Halloween Town to show that there are no hard feelings between himself and Jack; the townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it. Jack reveals that he is attracted to Sally just as she is to him, and they kiss under the full moon in the cemetery.

The Haunted Mansion

  • Directors: Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Andrew Gunn, Don Hahn
  • Writers: David Berenbaum
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Tilly, Terence Stamp, Marsha Thomason, Nathaniel Parker

Jim and Sara Evers are proprietors of Evers and Evers Real Estate and parents of 10-year-old Michael and 13-year-old Megan. Jim is a workaholic who has not been spending time with his family, much to the disapproval of his wife. On a weekend trip in which he has promised to devote time to the family, they make a detour through the swamps of New Orleans, Louisiana to Gracey Manor, a decaying but valuable property. The owners had earlier contacted Sara with interest in selling,but they end up seeing ghosts at the house.

Once the Evers arrive, a violent rainstorm erupts, and they are led inside by Ramsley, the creepy butler who is immediately disturbed that Sara did not come alone. The family is introduced to Master Edward Gracey, the heir of the house, and invited to stay the night as the roads have flooded. Michael and Megan are sent to one bedroom, Jim and Sara to another.

As Jim and Sara are separated, and Jim finds himself trapped in a secret passage, Michael and Megan are led by a floating blue orb into an attic room where they discover an antiquated painting that looks exactly like their mother. They encounter Ezra and Emma, a footman and maid respectively who work for the mansion and also warn the kids of impending danger. Megan and Michael discover that Emma and Ezra are actually ghosts, as is Master Gracey, and that Master Gracey thinks their mother is his lover Elizabeth returned to him from beyond the grave; years ago, she had seemingly committed suicide.

Jim has learned an important lesson about family, and his son and daughter have learned bravery in the face of evil. The family, now in possession of the deed to the house, head out on their vacation to the lake (with the encased head of Madame Leota in the back seat and a quartet of singing busts strapped to the back of the car singing their own version of “When the Saints Come Marching In”).

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
  • Producers: Don Hahn
  • Writers: Victor Hugo
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Tony Jay, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough, Mary Wickes, David Ogden Stiers

The movie opens in 1482 Paris with Clopin (Paul Kandel), a gypsy puppeteer, telling a group of children the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame (“The Bells of Notre Dame”): One night, four gypsies attempted to enter Paris but were stopped by Judge Claude Frollo (Tony Jay), the Minister of Justice. One gypsy woman who was carrying a bundle attempted to flee and Frollo pursued, thinking that she was carrying stolen goods. Chasing her to Notre Dame, Frollo snatches the bundle from her and kicks her, causing her to fall and hit her head against the stone steps of the cathedral. Frollo discovers that the bundle is a deformed baby and attempts to drown it in a well, but is stopped by the Archdeacon (David Ogden Stiers), who tells him to care for the child as repentance for killing an innocent woman. He agrees, on condition that the child will live in the cathedral. Frollo names the baby Quasimodo, meaning “half-formed”.

Twenty years later, Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) is shown to be the bellringer of Notre Dame. Frollo tells Quasimodo to never leave the bell tower because the people in the city will mistreat him because of his ugliness. Frollo has also lied about Quasimodo’s mother, saying that he took Quasimodo in when his mother abandoned him. Nevertheless, after Frollo departs following a visit, Quasimodo dreams of spending a day out in the world (“Out There”). Quasimodo’s gargoyle friends (Hugo (Jason Alexander), Victor (Charles Kimbrough), and Laverne (Mary Wickes)) convince him to sneak out of the cathedral, given that it was the annual Feast of Fools and everyone is in costume.

After the credits, it shows Hugo alone on top of Notre Dame, and he yells: “Goodnight everybody! Woo hoo hoo!” It then shows the Disney logo.

Beauty and the Beast

  • Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
  • Producers: Don Hahn
  • Writers: Linda Woolverton
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Paige O Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers

In the prologue, an old beggar woman arrives at the castle of a young, spoiled and unkind French prince. The old beggar woman asks for shelter from the bitter cold, and in return, offers the young prince a rose. Repulsed by her appearance, the prince turns the old beggar woman away. It is then that the old beggar woman reveals that she is a beautiful enchantress and conjures a powerful curse, transforming the heartless prince into a hideous beast (as a reflection of his inner cruelty and hatred), his servants into anthropomorphic household items, and the castle into a dark, forbidding place, so that he will learn to not judge by appearances. The curse can only be broken if the Beast learns to love someone and receives the other’s love in return before the last petal of the enchantress’s rose withers and falls; if not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for the rest of his life. As the years passed, the Beast stayed hidden in the gloomy castle, convinced no person could love such a hideous beast.

Ten years later, a beautiful young woman named Belle has moved to a French Provençal village, where she is seen as eccentric yet very special due to her preference for reading books and dislike of being courted by the “rude and conceited” local hero, Gaston. At one point Gaston arrogantly offers his hand in marriage to Belle, which she politely but firmly rejects.

The last scene shows Belle and the prince happily dancing in the ballroom, in front of many guests, which includes Maurice and the now-human assistants of the castle. Everybody is happy, and they live happily ever after.

The Lion King

  • Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
  • Producers: Don Hahn
  • Writers: Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, Linda Woolverton
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Moira Kelly, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings

The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands of the Serengeti, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), a wise old mandrill, anoints Simba (cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, adult by Matthew Broderick), the newborn cub of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (Madge Sinclair), and presents him to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock (“Circle of Life”).

Mufasa takes Simba on a tour of the Pride Lands, teaching him about the “Circle of Life”, the delicate balance affecting all living things. Taking advantage of the cub’s naive nature, Simba’s scheming uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) (who is very angry because Simba’s birth means that he’s no longer next in line to the throne) tells him about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has forbidden Simba to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (cub by Niketa Calame, adult by Moira Kelly). Their parents agree but only if Mufasa’s majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), goes with them. Simba and Nala elude Zazu’s supervision (“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”) and go to the graveyard instead. There, the cubs are met by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings), spotted hyenas who try to kill them, but they are rescued by Mufasa.

Atop Pride Rock’s peak, Simba corners Scar. To gain Simba’s mercy, Scar blames everything on the hyenas but Shenzi, Banzai and Ed overhear this betrayal. Simba demands that Scar go into exile. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba triumphs over his uncle by kicking him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall but finds himself surrounded by the now-resentful hyenas, who attack and kill him. Simba and Nala become the new king and queen of the Pride Lands. The film concludes with the Pride Lands turning green with life again and Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala’s newborn cub as “The Circle of Life” continues.