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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Musical > Animation > Stop Motion > Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray + DVD-Video/Disney)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray + DVD-Video/Disney)


Picture: A-/B     Sound: A-/B     Extras: A-     Film: A



Have you grown tired of the same old thing?  Do the howls and cries of bad television and films weaken your spirit?  Well, now there is something out there close to your home that can change all of that with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Collector’s Edition.


For those of you who have been living in a coffin for the past 15 years, here is a brief plot synopsis of the classic Burton film.  The film chronicles the tale of a lanky bag of bones known as Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who has grown tired of his methodic, nightmarish life.  Though he is the king of fright and his talents are renowned far and wide, Jack still feels an ever growing emptiness within himself.  After a ghoulish Halloween celebration Jack wanders off to the graveyard to lament his tiresome life; but soon finds that he has walked all through the night, ending up in a place he has never been before.  Surrounded by trees that each adorn different, fascinating symbols (representing holidays) one door in particular catches Jack’s attention; it is the door to Christmas Town.  Jack is swept by a whirlwind to Christmas Town, where Jack is revitalized by the joyous sites and sounds of the gleeful holiday spectacles that he experiences while there.


He thinks this Christmas idea could be quite fun and sets out to share his idea with the ‘people’ of Halloween Town; who quickly embrace the suggestion…though they don’t quite grasp or understand the concept.  The town swings into action to take over the Christmas festivities, by decorating, creating monstrous toys and giving good old “Sandy Claws” a break.  It is a quiet onlooker named Sally that sees through the shiny glow of the Christmas scheme and tries to warn Jack, but his clouded mind can’t go beyond his obsession.  Though Jack’s intentions are pure of heart, his ideas of holiday joy and gift giving do not precisely fit with the true meaning of Christmas.


Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the most astonishing films ever created.  The dark mesh of ‘pop culture’ references, horror, comedy, and a classic Hollywood musical makes The Nightmare Before Christmas go beyond the plethora of other films that try to balance these same elements and ultimately fail.  The characters overflow with creativity.  The set designs scream of depth and imagination.  The songs and scores have a supreme serenity that heighten each moment of the film and create countless memories. Tim Burton’s genius may have slightly slipped over the past few years, but his early ventures including The Nightmare Before Christmas will stand the test of time, life and even death.  Though the film was technically directed by Henry Selick, it was Tim Burton’s creativity in story and character design, along with technical understanding that propelled the film forward and allowed for its conception.  It is dark, it is art noir, and it is musical brilliance.  Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is beyond clever as it evolves into an intricate cascade of art and music that will lend its creativity as inspiration to countless other films for all time.


There are few who deny at what it does it is the best, for this Blu-ray is known far and wide.  For when it comes to surprises by the LCD light, this Blu-ray excels without ever really trying.  Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is not only one of the best animated film creations ever made, but the feature film’s new Blu-ray release stands among the best with its amazing presentation of picture, sound, and extras.  The Blu-ray’s picture is presented in a crystal clear 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 High Definition 1.66 X 1 Widescreen.  After spending years with 2 previous DVD releases (1997 and 2000) that were overridden with artifact, debris, a soft image, and just an overall horrible presentation the world finally gets to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in all its holiday glory.  The picture on the Blu-ray has solid blacks that make every crevice of Halloween Town scream with excellence, vibrant colors that make the lights of Christmas Town shine, and brilliantly sharp and vivid images that make every bone ‘pop’ from head to toe.  The vibrancy of the Blu-ray is simply astonishing from beginning to end; not only does Tim Burton’s artistic vision rise to life in this release, but it howls with a new life that home theaters have never seen before.


The sound on the Blu-ray is equally impressive in its English 7.1 Dolby Tru HD (48 kHz/24-bit) format.  The sound off the bat (haha!) is amazing, utilizing the entire soundstage.  The sound is wide ranging as it uses every speaker and highlights each discrete noise throughout the film.  The musical scores burst with life and death as they project from the surrounds with a rich fullness that almost allows for each instrument in Danny Elfman’s cascade of sound to be heard.  The sound is crisp, clean, and inspiring, with an amazing soundfield.


This is the first Dolby release of any kind with 7.1 tracks and though this was originally only a Dolby Digital theatrical release, it has since seen DTS home video, 3-D theatrical and IMAX screenings, so the true soundmaster has been taken care of well and the result are terrific sonics and a great soundfield here.  Even better then the lesser, simpler Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound on both formats that does not have as much range as the Blu-ray’s TrueHD, but is still very adequate; it will be demo material for years to come.


The DVD is also an immense upgrade from its previous releases, but it does not even begin to compare to the astounding quality brought back to life by the Blu-ray.  The picture is presented in a clean, clear 1.66 X 1 Widescreen that has good blacks and colors, but not as deep of vibrant as the Blu-ray.  It can also be noted that the 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD release comes in a hard cardboard case that has Jack Skellington imbedded in the front cover as a raised plastic bust.  The case is a nice homage to an even greater film.


The extras found on the 2008 Blu-ray and DVD releases are all those found on the 2000 Special Edition DVD release, plus a ton more.  The special features on the Blu-ray/DVD release include:


* What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour [On Track (7 min) & Off Track Versions (37 min)]

Watch Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion Attraction be transformed into a fantastic new world by Disney’s ‘Imagineers’ inspired by none other than The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Use Blu-ray features that allow for pop-trivia along the way.


Frankenweenie (Uncut Version) with new Introduction by Tim Burton

Tim Burton’s 30 minute 1984 film is a tribute to his love for the classic 1930’s horror films as it chronicles the exploits of a young scientist as he brings his recently deceased dog back to life; though the town’s folk don’t act so kindly to the dog’s return.  The Blu-ray has an extended cut of the film and an introduction by Tim Burton that also promotes his new animated remake of the same film.


Vincent – Short Film (6 minutes)

An early attempt by Tim Burton to make a stop-motion film that was based on one of his unique early poems (like that of The Nightmare Before Christmas).  The short film is narrated by Vincent Price, one of Burton’s personal heroes.


* Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee

A very cool feature that takes Burton’s original concept art and twisted poem and brings them to life with the voice of Christopher Lee.


* All New Audio Commentary by Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick and Music Designer Danny Elfman

The audio commentary on this Blu-ray seems to be a mesh of three separate audio tracks that were recorded at different times.  The Selick and Elfman comments are interesting and insightful; whereas Burton’s comments (though not a total loss) are less than stellar at times, lacking focus.  It is a good track nevertheless.


Behind the Scenes Making of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”

A truly fascinating ‘making of’ featurette that gives deep insight into the films creative process, art direction, how the puppets were made, lighting, the overall painstaking process, and much, much more.  The featurette is not a simple ‘throwaway’ extra, but a feature that can be watched again and again.


The Worlds of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”

-          Halloween Town

-          Christmas Town

-          The Real World


Deleted Scenes/Storyboards


Storyboard-To-Film Comparison

The comparison featurette focuses on the ‘Town Meeting’ film sequence and how it went from paper to plaster.


Original Theatrical Trailers and Posters

            Some movie poster stills, one teaser trailer, and one full trailer.


* Disney File Digital Copy

A growing trend on DVD and Blu-ray is to give the option of having an extra ‘computer copy’ of the film available at the buyers’ finger tips.  Whereas it is sometimes nice to have a film copy easily at hand, the quality is completely lost.


** All New Blu-ray Exclusive Tim Burton Movie Introduction

Only lasting 18 seconds long, the Blu-ray gives fans a very short (but exclusive) introduction to the film by Tim Burton that has him explaining how ‘incredible’ he thinks the Blu-ray release turned out.


* = New to DVD/Blu-ray

** = Only available on Blu-ray


The extras available on these two releases are some of the best seen on any release to date.  They are fun, informative, and plentiful.  In a bone chilling way the extras manage to capture the essence of the nightmarish musical with the participants emphasizing the love that a generation of moviegoers has gained for the classic film.



Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Collector’s Edition is a must see and a must own.  It is a film that shocked and amazed audiences from the very beginning and still to this day has much to offer.  Disney has taken the film to the next level with its newest Blu-ray release.  Just remember everywhere, life is no fun without a good scare.


“Boys and girls of every age

Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?


Come with us and you will see

This, our town of Halloween”



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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