25 Disney characters that are actually good role models

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5. Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

Now, no one’s going to be perfect. Perhaps that’s a lesson in and of itself. Certainly, it’s come to light in more recent Disney films, where protagonists make plenty of mistakes and must learn to navigate the consequences. In an instructive sense, it’s probably a lot more useful than watching Snow White be blandly good and helpless (sorry, Snow, but you know it’s true). It also makes for more complicated and interesting narratives.

Jack Skellington, hero of sorts for the 1993 film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, certainly fits the bill. By the way, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that Disney was involved with this supremely weird movie. Now, it’s not as if Disney hasn’t made some strange and unnerving films in its time.

Still, the conceit of the Tim Burton-produced film made them a little nervous. As a result, they released it under Touchstone Pictures, which is a film distribution label owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. As director Henry Selick recalled, “ [Disney was] afraid of their core audience hating the film and not coming”. However, the film proved to be enduringly popular. Disney was more than happy to put its name all over the movie’s 2006 3-D release.

Anyway, Jack Skellington is a brash and intelligent hero with a good heart. However, he soon learns that good intentions aren’t always enough. Yes, he desperately wants to bring the magic of Christmas into his land of Halloweentown, but Skellington needs to understand the nuances of both worlds. He also needs to, you know, not kidnap Santa Claus and take his place.

Ultimately, everything turns out fine, but Skellington (and, we hope, the viewers) learns an important lesson about thinking before you leap.