Nightmare Before Christmas, The

Featured In Issue 135, October 2008

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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For some scary images
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Henry Selick
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animation classic, which spent years germinating in the creative mind of Tim Burton. Jack Skellington (Elfman & Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, is bored with the same old tricks and treats and yearns for something more than things that go bump in the night. After another stale Halloween celebration, while on a walk with his ghostly canine Zero, Jack stumbles upon the glorious magic of Christmas Town—and decides to bring this joyful holiday back to Halloween Town. Danny Elfman's music is wonderful, as usual.

Special features on Disc One of this Two-Disc DVD set include an audio commentary track by the crew, two featurettes that take a look at Disney's famous ride—What's This? Jack's Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour, available with either a commentary track or trivia track (seven minutes), and a behind-the-ride look to Discover What Went Into Creating All The Creepy Fun (38 Minutes); Tim Burton's Original Poem Narrated By Christopher Lee (11 minutes); a 25-minute featurette The Making Of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas; and previews. Disc Two contains a 30-minute Frankenweenie short film with intro from Tim Burton, a short six-minute stop-action film Vincent, four deleted storyboards, three deleted scenes, browse stills of all three holiday worlds in The Worlds Of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, a four-minute storyboard-to-film comparison of the town meeting scene, original posters, a teaser and trailer for this film, a digital copy of the movie to download to your PC or Mac.and there is a Blu-ray Disc™ exclusive introduction by Tim Burton.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.66:1 DVD shows noticeable improvement in overall resolution over the previously reviewed DVD. Black levels are still slightly elevated, but there is better definition in the shadows, providing a noticeable sense of depth to the picture. Colors are more bold and better defined, and contrast seems more natural. Source artifacts have been cleaned up, and compression levels are improved. This picture is an upgrade. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc has deep black levels and an adequate sense of dimensionality, although scenes can be somewhat flat. Resolution is very good, with fine details in the picture delivered nicely. Resolution isn't as good as in the best high-definition releases, but it is a noticeable improvement over the DVD. Contrast is balanced well, and colors are bold and vibrant. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital and DTS® Digital Surround™ 5.1-channel soundtracks, which sound exactly like the previous DVD's, deliver an engrossing, entertaining listening experience. Between DTS and Dolby Digital on the DVD, the former delivers slightly more resolutely, both spatially and in the higher frequencies. Danny Elfman's music has a wonderfully involving presence that is also energetic, and sports a full, rich low-end foundation. Dialogue is reasonably natural sounding and spatial integration is quite good. There is an ample amount of split surround activity to impress and enliven the soundfield. Low frequencies are presented with clarity and remarkable depth, along with gentle .1 LFE engagement. This is a very nicely produced soundtrack that is highly effective in providing the essential entertainment and storytelling aspects of this film. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD encoding lowers the noise floor and improves the dynamic range noticeably. Subtleties in the mix are easier to localize around the room, creating a more engaging, engrossing experience. There are imperfections in the soundtrack, though, especially with vocals that sound overly forward and occasionally bright. The added surround channels impressively improve surround envelopment. (Danny Richelieu)