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 include "What's This? Jack's Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour" where viewers are given the choice of how they want to tour Disneyland's Holiday Haunted Mansion, either "On Track" or "Off Track"; Tim Burton's Original Poem Narrated By Christopher Lee (HD 11:37); commentary by Producer Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick, and Music Composer Danny Elfman; "Frankenweenie," with an all-new intro by Burton; the Vincent short film (SD 05:55); three deleted storyboards (SD 02:56); four deleted animated sequences (SD 05:06); The Making Of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (SD 24:44); "Halloween Town," "Christmas Town," and "The Real World" poster galleries; a storyboard-to-film comparison (SD 03:47); posters; trailers; sneak peeks; and up-front ads. The set includes the 3-D version, the Blu-ray, and a DVD/digital copy combo disc of the film.
First reviewed as an anamorphically enhanced 1.66:1 DVD in Issue 135, the picture showed noticeable improvement in overall resolution over the previously reviewed DVD reviewed in Issue 44. Black levels were still slightly elevated, but there was better definition in the shadows, providing a noticeable sense of depth to the picture. Colors were more bold and better defined, and contrast seemed more natural. Source artifacts had been cleaned up, and compression levels were improved. This picture was an upgrade. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc reviewed in Issue 135 had deep black levels and an adequate sense of dimensionality, although scenes could be somewhat flat. Resolution was very good, with fine details in the picture delivered nicely. Resolution wasn't as good as in the best high-definition releases but was a noticeable improvement over the DVD. Contrast was balanced well, and colors were bold and vibrant. This new MVC 3-D presentation is further enhanced in terms of quality picture attributes, with solid black levels and dramatically enhanced depth due to the 2D-to-3D conversion. While not as dimensional as Coraline 3D, the overall view is a picture-window perspective, with virtually no negative parallax imagery. Instead the dimension is focused inward, with positive parallax imagery nicely presented, to create a very natural sense of depth and perspective, comfortably positioned near the screen plane. Colors are nicely saturated and richly hued, with excellent blacks. Remarkably, dimensional distinctions are nicely nuanced in terms of depth, though, the picture generally is a dark creation. Some slight, but infrequent, crosstalk ghosting is at times apparent, especially during high-contrast segments, such as Jack's silhouette against the moon. This is an effectively rendered 3-D presentation that, though reserved dimensionally, is dramatically a better visual experience than viewing the 2-D Blu-ray version. (Gary Reber/Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital and DTS® Digital Surround™ 5.1-channel soundtracks on the DVDs delivered an engrossing, entertaining listening experience. Between DTS and Dolby Digital on the DVD, the former delivered 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 was a very nicely produced soundtrack that was highly effective in providing the essential entertainment and storytelling aspects of this film on DVD. 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. (Gary Reber/Danny Richelieu)