World Showcase: Halloweentown and Christmastown

Theme Song by Brian Setzer and owned by Walt Disney Records

When it was first announced that Halloweentown from Tim Burton’s  The Nightmare Before Christmas was going to appear in Kingdom Hearts that came as a genuine surprise because during development the film was just breaking out of its cult following and into mainstream popularity and it wasn’t considered a “Disney” film by that mainstream yet, but in the end it made perfect sense. When the game was released the world of Halloweentown became a fan favorite world for the exceptional attention to detail and atmosphere (even when comparing it to some of the other worlds in the game). The “Holiday Worlds of Old” have never looked better. This the World Showcase of Halloweentown and Christmastown in the context of the Kingdom Hearts universe!!!

Origins: None of this has been confirmed by Disney or Square and it’s merely my theory. When holiday traditions from various religions and cultures are created a holiday world begins to take shape, but it doesn’t reach its final form for a long time because traditions and holidays evolve and only recently have they begun to take an actual shape in the landmass of one world while the others are in pocket dimensions of that one world. Since Halloween is one of the more older holidays it won the majority of the landmass in that one world and all the others would be the pocket dimensions all hidden behind doors carved in trees. When the culture or worlds in question create a person to symbolize the holiday that being comes to life complete with a heart and an existence. The skeleton is a prominent image of death so what better person to symbolize the holiday of death than Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown? Santa is the person associated with Christmas so he runs Christmastown.

 

Preliminary info: In Christmastown Santa was looking over the naughty and nice list and he came to the names Sora and Riku and learned that Riku had convinced Sora that Santa Clause didn’t exist and Sora openly admitted it and Santa was a little hurt, but carried on and Jack was starting to get tired of the Halloween festivities and an altered version of the original film takes place. The reason is that there is dialogue implying that Jack has already tried and failed at carrying out the Christmas holiday and caused Santa a lot of trouble. So after the failure of Jack trying to perform Christmas he found a book that I personally believe was a book filled with Ansem’s first notes on the Heartless and it ended up there years after Hollow Bastion’s destruction. Jack and Dr. Finkelstein studied the book and when Maleficent sent Heartless to the world then Jack could test his newfound knowledge and he would get interesting and potentially dangerous results.

 

The Heartless Halloween:  When Sora, Donald and Goofy arrived in Halloweentown they changed into Halloween costumes and proceeded into the town. The trio was shocked to find that the Heartless encountered in Guillotine Square were NOT hostile and the mayor then introduced Jack Skellington for a rehearsal of the Halloween festival. Jack told the mayor that while the entrance was fine the Heartless wouldn’t dance so Jack went to Dr. Finkelstein to fix the “guidance system” so the Heartless would dance for the festivities. Sora and company follow him to the Dr.’s lab and find out that the two are trying to give the Heartless an artificial heart (please note that when people say heart in this universe they mean the metaphorical one) with synthesized symbols of emotions like a croaking frog for a pulse for instance. The experiment fails and Dr. Finkelstein suggests that they need more ingredients like “memory and surprise”. Jack joins the party and you have to find the other ingredients. The first is “memory” so the group has to track down Sally who was last seen with it. As the heroes leave the mayor tells Jack that the control over the Heartless is gone and they have turned hostile. After a battle Zero finds Sally and she hands over the “forget me not plant” and voices her concerns as to the safety of the Heartless Halloween and as usual Jack shrugs it off and thinks it’s a great idea. As the group leaves Locke, Shock, and Barrel overhear the conversation about the heart and tell Oogie Boogie. Oogie is irritated that Maleficent didn’t give him control of the Heartless so he decides to have the kids steal he heart once it’s complete. Once Sora and company complete the heart the kids snatch it and Jack sends Zero after them and the party follows Zero and the kids to Oogie’s Manor. After beating the crap out of and interrogating the kids the party heads to Oogie’s torture chamber and defeat him and also learn that the artificial heart was a failure because Oogie swallowed it and only a few Heartless came to his aid. As the party leaves Oogie merged with his Manor and Sora and company defeated it. Plus Sora seals the keyhole so the Heartless can’t destroy that world. Jack apologizes to Sally and start preparing for Halloween together. The conversation with Dr. Finkelstein is really important and he says it should have worked, but comes to the conclusion that maybe the heart is more complex than that and that there is no real definition of one and science and logic was never meant to have an answer for it. That’s the main theme of this story and something that Sora carries with him throughout his adventures. The chain of memories story is very similar, but instead of heart related themes it’s memories. The story in the game that chronicles Roxas’s story is very basic and has Jack experimenting with new Halloween ideas and has nothing outstanding.

Kingdom Hearts 1 Halloweentown Part 1

 

Return to Halloweentown and this time with Christmas decorations: Sora, Donald and Goofy return to Halloweentown and are surprised to find it decorated to look like Christmas. They reunite with Jack who has everything prepared and now he was on his way to go to Christmastown to get Santa’s approval on how he has handled Christmas this year and if he could get a second chance with Christmas. First jack shows Sora, Donald and Goofy what everyone has been up to and current events. Once jack leaves to Christmastown he returns and asks Sora and company to help him get rid of the Heartless that have emerged once again. After the battle Jack hires Sora and company to be Santa’s bodyguards so Jack joins the party and the group heads to Christmastown. Meanwhile Maleficent recruits Locke, Shock, and Barrel to cause mischief in Christmastown. The group goes to Santa’s house and Sora (who has been very excited to know that Santa is real and is like, well, a kid at Christmas) is given an embarrassing shock when Santa brings up Sora telling everyone that he didn’t believe in jolly St. Nick. When a suspicious noise is heard in the workshop everyone goes to investigate and they see the trio of brats escaping back to Halloweentown. Santa is in no mood to trust let alone talk to Jack so Jack goes with Sora to catch the kids. At the curly hill Maleficent decides to bring back Oogie Boogie and she leaves the kids to deal with Sora and company. Our heroes defeat the Heartless Maleficent summoned to help the kids and learn that Oogie has returned and head back to the unprotected Christmastown. Oogie has taken over the workshop and maleficent was going to turn Santa into a Heartless, but Oogie tells her to back off and Maleficent departs. The heroes arrive and defeat Oogie and save Santa and Christmas. Santa is greatful to Jack, but convinces jack that his talents are reserved for Halloween even though Santa is flattered that Jack loves Christmas. Santa also wishes Sora, Donald and Goofy the best of luck on their journey.

 

The Giftnapper: Sora, Donald, and Goofy return to Halloweentown on Christmas Eve to find presents scattered around and they run into Jack who is on his way to return the presents to Christmastown. After checking in with Santa he tells the group that the presents were stolen and everyone suspects Jack because he’s still wearing Sally’s Santa outfit. After hearing another suspicious noise from the workshop Sora and the group investigate to find the kids back in action and after an interrogation the kids say that they didn’t take anything and that they were looking for parts to Dr. Finkelstein’s experiment. The gang returns to Santa to tell him the dead end then  Sally informs them that the Hearless were spotted playing with presents in Halloweentown. The group returns and fights them. Then we are treated to a scene that ties in with the film’s theme by having Jack pick up a busted present and stepping on the doll that was inside. Showing that Jack is more concerned about the wrapping then the gift or even the act of giving shows that he doesn’t get it and shouldn’t perform Christmas. Then the Dr. exits from his lab and shouts that his experiment was also stolen.  With the plot thickening the gang heads back to Christmastown to make fake presents and lure the thief into a trap. Santa suggests a good hiding spot and the plan is underway. The gang learns that Dr. Finkelstein’s Experiment is the giftnapper and a battle ensues. After destroying the Experiment Santa flies in with his sleigh and asks for an update and they explain the situation. Santa looks down at the remains of the Experiment and says “All that poor little thing wanted was a heart”.  Also in a kind gesture Santa invites jack to accompany him in the present delivery to give Jack an idea of what Christmas is like without actually having Jack run the show. Sora, Donald and Goofy return to Halloweentown and tell the doctor about the experiment and he says it makes sense because unlike Sally it didn’t have a heart. After Jack returns from his Christmas ride Santa gives Halloweentown Snow and Sally appreciates Santa’s present. Jack doesn’t understand how this can be a present and Sally explains that the true value of a present is the act of giving and the love behind the present. Then Sora understands why the Experiment was after the presents. It thought it could find a heart with the love and caring that the presents represent. Sally and Jack then have a magical dance in the snow.

Christmastown Video

ARTISTIC PRESENTATION

The original design of this world is fantastic and the Kingdom Hearts reimagining is just as good. I think that Kingdom Hearts 1 Halloweentown captured an even darker macabre than the original while still containing the famous landmarks and scenes. In Kingdom Hearts 2 the layout was more like the film and it captured both worlds beautifully. The new costumes for Sora, Donald and Goofy are awesome and it adds a macabre to the Donald and Goofy which is really cool. The majority of the original voice actors have returned most notably Chris Sarandon as Jack and Ken Page as Oogie Boogie. All the actors do a fine job with the characters.

 

Oogie’s Torture Chamber

Oogie’s Manor

Sora Donald and Goofy Halloweentown Costumes

Christmastown Sora Final Mix costume only

Christmastown Donald Final Mix Costume only

Christmastown Goofy Final Mix only

Jack Skellington

Oogie Boogie

Kingdom Hearts 1 world map icon and logo

 

Kingdom Hearts 2 world map icon and logo

MUSIC

The main theme for Halloweentown is the classic song by Danny Elfman “This is Halloween”. It’s the perfect theme for this world and I love it!!!!

 

This is Halloween (Kingdom Hearts 1 Hd Remaster version) by Danny Elfman

 

This fits the darker macabre atmosphere that was created for the game and is just right. There’s really nothing much to say about it.

 

Spooks of Halloweentown (Kingdom Hearts Hd Remaster version) by Yoko Shimomura

 

This is the battle theme of this world and it’s great. It’s eerie and mysterious and in some ways is very fun to fight to.

 

This is Halloween (Kingdom Hearts 2 version) by Danny Elfman

 

This is a nice remix of the song and it gives it a more Christmas feel. It sounds more jolly yet it still maintains that darker quality that made this song and film so appealing in the first place.

 

Spooks of Halloweentown (Kingdom Hearts 2 version) Yoko Shimomura

 

My comments on this song are the same ones I had for this remix of This is Halloween. It’s more jolly and maintains a little of the darker qualities that made it great.

 

What a Surprise (Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix Christmastown theme)

 

This is Christmastown’s traversal theme and it captures the joy and cheer of Christmas and is reflective of the characters’ excitement to be in this place

 

Happy Holidays (Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix Christmastown Battle Theme)

 

This is Christmastown’s battle theme and it is high energy to capture a battle situation and still maintains that cheerful Christmas spirit.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This may not be my favorite world in this universe, but I can understand why people love it so much. Don’t get me wrong I love this world and its stories and design, but it’s not my favorite. One thing I really appreciate is the atmosphere and you can tell that these designers really put a lot of effort into this world and I commend them for it. Join me next time where I review a Christmas classicMickey’s Christmas Carol!! As for the next destination on the universe map I’m heading toward the territory where Monstro as last sighted!!!

 

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