The Nightmare Before Christmas (Blu-ray)
I remember as a young teenager seeing previews to THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and being appalled at the dark nature geared toward kids. I’ve alway had a tendency of thinking I know what’s best for others. However, once I saw the film, I was blown away in amazement. From the clever and creative animation to the wonderful music and brilliant script, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is one of the absolute best Disney films, musicals, family films and overall original films ever made.
Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King, is head of Halloween. But poor Jack is feeling a little burnt out on his holiday. We’ve all been there. Along with his ghost dog Zero, Jack stumbles across a circle of trees each with a marking of one of the major holidays. The Christmas tree particularly strikes Jack’s eye so he curiously opens the door. The strange and crazy new world of Christmas sparks a passion inside Jack that has recently been missing. With only the best intentions, Jack ambitiously talks his fellow cast of ghosts, ghouls and monsters to take over Christmas. However the creatures of Halloween Town have a different interpretation of fun gifts and tasty candy, turning Christmas into a creepy, scary and dangerous mess.
Tim Burton created the story and characters of THE NIGHTMARE BEOFRE CHRISTMAS so his involvement runs much deeper and personal than his producer credit. Burton’s love for his creation prompted him to collaborate with director Henry Selick to help with the stop motion animation and composer Danny Elfman to write the music.
Working overtime, Elfman also does all the singing for the lead character Jack. Being that the film is a musical in the purest sense, Elfman really deserves a writing credit. Each song progresses the story further and reveals more about the characters rather than simply pausing the film for a musical number. Every song is rich and vibrant of creativity. Every time I see the film, I catch myself singing the songs for weeks afterwards. My personal favorites are the opening number – “This is Halloween,” Jacks discovery of Christmas Town – “What’s This,” Jack’s explanation of Christmas Town to the citizens of Halloween Town – “Town Meeting” and the twisted trick-or-treat kids Lock, Shock and Barrel ploy to capture Santa – “Kidnap The Sandy Claws,”
The character of Jack is marvelously multi-layered. His excitement is infectious as he can sell any crazy idea to the town. Even Jack convinces himself that he must know what he is doing after montage of failed experiments on Christmas items to figure out its meaning. Ironically the only reasonable persona in Halloween Town is Sally, a sewn together creation of Mad Scientist Dr. Finklestein. Poisoning her creator then escaping his imprisonment a body part at a time, Sally foresees the dangers of Christmas being Halloweenified and does her best to warn Jack and rescue Santa from the evil Oogie Boogie Man.
All the creations are incredibly magnificent and every detail in every world and character are exquisitely imaginative. Yes, some of the images might be a bit frightening for a little one but THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is also delightfully entertaining and funny while the whole production oozes creativity at its best. And I promise, you will be humming the catchy tunes from Halloween till Christmas.
Video: (1080p High Definition 3-D 1.85:1 & 1.66:1) Available in 3-D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Even Tim Burton speaks the truth when he gives a little introduction about how much more fabulous the film looks on Blu-ray.
Audio: (7.1 Dolby TrueHD) Every song and beat comes through crystal clear and is a joy to listen to.
What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour
Off Track (7:14): Available with or without a trivia track this is a virtual tour through Disney’s Haunted Mansion during Christmas time with The Nightmare Before Christmas theme.
On Track (37:25) A deep explanation using visuals and interviews of putting the theme ride together during Christmas.
Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated By Christopher Lee (11:37): This is an excellent little poem set to some fun animation that Tim Burton first wrote inspiring THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
All-New Audio Commentary by Producer Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick and Music Composer Danny Elfman: The three men recorded their tracks separately but their recollection is so in sync that it is spliced together in a way that might make you believe they were together. You can hear the excitement and passion in all of them. Particularly Elfman who even sings notes and lyrics how they originally came to him. A great commentary.
Frankenweenie with All-New Intro by Tim Burton (30:05): Burton’s early short film staring Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall about a boy who brings his pet dog back to life a la Frankenstein. Burton is currently in the process of making a stop-motion animation of his short film.
Vincent (5:55): A funny and impressive animated poem about a horror-obsessed boy who wants to be Vincent Price narrated by the great Vincent Price.
Deleted Storyboards (2:56): These are deleted scenes that never made it to production. Three total that were mostly cut because of the difficulty to animate or because of how they would change the story but all are interesting.
Deleted Animated Sequences (5:06): These are four deleted scenes that did get produced but were cut mostly due to time. It makes sense as they seemed to be paced a bit slower than the rest of the film.
The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (24:44): A detailed look at how the film came to be showing the creation of the characters and interviews with several people involved including Tim Burton, Henry Selick and Danny Elfman.
The Worlds of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Character designs, concept art and animation tests for the different locations and the characters that reside in each. All are separated in very detailed categories so you can pick and choose what you want to look at.
The Real World
Posters and Trailers