Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s musical masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas makes its way onto Blu-ray for a second time in this 3D release. Those who have been waiting for the ultimate package for the 1993 animated classic are finally in luck, as this set will please fans of the movie while showing those new to it why it’s such a beloved musical classic.
The story follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. Though he has scared plenty of folks and lived up to his reputation as the pumpkin king, he feels there’s still something missing from his afterlife. As he grows tired of the same tricking and treating year after year, he accidently discovers the portal to the neighboring Christmas Town. Jack then becomes obsessed with taking over the Christmas celebration, all while messing things up for poor old Santa as he tries to mix Halloween and Christmas with disastrous results. With the help of some songs and friends, it’s up to Jack to grasp the concept of Christmas and set things right.
Disney has done a splendid job with the transfer of the film to Blu-ray, as I doubt the movie has ever looked better. Viewers get to see all of the awesome details and colors of the characters and backgrounds that show up really well in 1080p, leading one to think the film was just recently released instead of in 1993. The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound fits the film perfectly, as every song and bit of dialogue comes out loud and clear. While I wasn’t able to view the Blu-ray’s 3D feature, I’m sure that it looks and sounds just as well, with the added bonus of the film literally jumping off the screen.
Fans will be happy to know that this collection is jam packed with special features, with far too many for me to list. I’ll point out some of the ones that really stand out, such as audio Commentary by Tim Burton, director Henry Selick, and music producer Danny Elfman that gives a lot of insight into how the film came together. Most of the features are in standard definition sadly, but are still pretty interesting. There’s the extended director’s cut of Tim Burton’s 1984 short film “Frankenweenie” that stars Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern as the parents of a science whiz kid who brings his dead dog back to life using electricity (and may act as a subtle advertisement for the upcoming remake).
I thought it was a nice little tribute to 1930s classic horror films while also giving a look into Burton’s eccentric style of filming. He also has a newly filmed introduction in which he talks about his upcoming animated remake that’s set for a 2012 release. “Tim Burton’s Original Poem” that served as the inspiration for the film, is a nice little HD feature narrated by Christopher Lee that features brand new animation based on Burton’s original concept art. I liked seeing another side of Jack here, as he is more of a Grinch-like character.
There’s also deleted storyboards and animated sequences, “The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” which talks about the stop-motion animation process and gives an overview of Burton’s designs, the music, storyboards, and how the puppets came to be. Still galleries are also included that are filled with character designs and concept art, as well as some short animation test videos of some of the characters. “What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour” is a high-def treat that features interviews from some of the Disneyland “Imagineers”, and how they convert the traditional Haunted Mansion ride to a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ theme each year.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a fun, yet odd treat for the family to enjoy again in high-definition and, if you have the equipment, 3D in the comfort of your own home. Tim Burton and Henry Selick have crafted a visual masterpiece that stands the test of time and imagination, and Danny Elfman’s illustrious songs seem to sound better than ever, too. The set is packed with special features and bonuses that fans will devour, even if most are presented in standard-definition. While the stop-motion animation combined with Tim Burton’s freaky looking characters may turn some away, fans and those willing to give this haunted holiday classic a chance are sure to enjoy this frightfully awesome release they’ll want to see again and again.
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