|The Nightmare Before Christmas |
2-Disc Collector's Edition + Digital Copy
Actors: L. Peter Callender, Randy Crenshaw, Judi M. Durand, William Hickey, Edward Ivory
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Animation
Now digitally restored and remastered with state-of-the-art technology, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is deeper, darker and more brilliant than ever just as Tim Burton originally envisioned it. Can Christmas be saved? Bor... more »
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A Special Edition that is TRULY Special
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 12/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you think the best movies are the ones that show you a world you've never envisioned before, then you will LOVE Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas". A benchmark in stop-motion animation, this incredibly difficult-to-make film (24 individually posed frames were needed to produce ONE SECONDS's worth of action) is a masterpiece of art direction, set design, and good old-fashioned storytelling. The plot revolves around Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween, and his attempt to run Christmas in place of Santa Claus. "Sleigh" becomes confused with "slay"; "stockings" become "stalkings"; and spirits go from joyous to ghostly as the two holidays clash together like oil and water, or fire and ice. One of the great surprises of the movie is that although it dances around material that could easily careen into cynicism, it remains refreshingly sweet and light throughout. Which is not to say that some of the comedy isn't a little dark and perhaps geared more towards older children and adults; for example, the brief scene in which a python puppet is shown swallowing a Christmas tree whole is hysterically funny, but not especially appropriate for the very young.The special edition DVD is unquestionably the version of this classic to buy. Included are a wealth of extras: the teaser and theatrical trailers; a documentary on "The Making of ..."; deleted scenes and storyboards, etc, etc. The best bonuses are two short films by Burton: "Vincent", a poetic tribute to the magnificent Vincent Price, narrated by the subject himself; and "Frankenweenie", a canine send-up of "Frankenstein", starring Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, and a cast of talented character actors. This DVD is one that you can spend HOURS exploring happily! Highly recommended as both a Halloween and Christmas treat."
Be True to Your Ghoul
Julie Neal | Sanibel Island, Fla. | 06/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Note: This is a review of the 2008 DVD release
What's this? A new "Nightmare Before Christmas" DVD package? Actually there are three versions: this two-disc set that includes a downloadable digital copy, a Blu-ray version, and a collector's edition that comes with a bust of Jack Skellington with a detachable Sandy Claus beard and hat.
Though this version is billed as a two-disc set, it actually has three discs. The third one contains the digital copy. An instruction sheet spells out in clear steps how to download the file to an iPod or similar device.
The movie itself is a feast for the eyes, ears and imagination. A delectable witches' brew of stop-motion animation, catchy show tunes and a seriously warped creative license, it always stays true to its timeless message: to be happy, be yourself. Devilishly nonconformist, it's an enduring holiday musical for the whole Addams family.
Well, almost. Though all of its fright gags are played entirely for laughs, some of the imagery is downright creepy, especially for small children. Anyone older than say, 6, however, should enjoy every minute. Teenagers will love it.
The story -- the citizens of Halloweentown attempt to annex neighboring Christmastown -- comes from the macabre mind of producer Tim Burton, who wrote it in his spare time (as a poem!) while working as a Disney animator in the 1980s. The movie blends the tastiest bits of Burton's earlier Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands with a sprinkling of the stop-motion magic first found in Disney's 1961 Babes in Toyland.
The imaginative cast of characters includes:
* Pumpkin King Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), a mischievous misfit who believes his purpose in life is to merge the holidays of Halloween and Christmas.
* Jack's faithful dog Zero, a ghost with a glowing, jack-o'-lantern nose who, like the hound in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, eventually pulls a sleigh
* Rag-doll heroine Sally (voiced by Catherine O'Hara), Jack's love interest, who sews herself back together when she loses a body part
* Oogie Boogie (Broadway veteran Ken Page), a slimy, singing bag of bugs who channels the cartoon version of Cab Calloway in the old Betty Boop cartoons
* Lock (Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens), Shock (O'Hara) and Barrel (Danny Elfman, the film's composer), a trio of evil trick-or-treaters who "kidnap the Sandy Claws"
* Wheelchair-bound evil scientist Dr. Finklestein (William Hickey), a duckbilled quack whose flip-top head lets him scratch his brains for inspiration
* A mayor (Glenn Shadix, the interior director Otho in Beetlejuice) who is literally two-faced.
Blessed with the ability to bring adult minds back to child's level, Burton dwells in dark mischief. In fact, some of Nightmare's best scenes include the kidnapping of Santa Claus and Jack's hilarious attempt to replace him on Christmas Eve, when the skeleton gleefully delivers presents such as tree-devouring snakes and severed, shrunken heads.
Director Henry Selick painstakingly created the film over three years. Though he had a production crew of over 100, each minute of footage took a week, as each second required 24 ever-so-slightly different shots.
This 2-disc DVD package has a nice collection of extras:
* An audio commentary with Burton, Selick and Elfman.
* A downloadable digital copy of the film, which you can transfer to an iPod or similar device.
* Burton's first short, 1982's 6-minute "Vincent," a black-and-white stop-action film about a boy who dreams of being Vincent Price, who narrates.
* Burton's 1994 Disney live-action short "Frankenweenie." This 30-minute black-and-white film re-imagines the Frankenstein story as the tale of a young boy and his car-struck pet dog in suburban America. A recently taped introduction by Burton shows some working sketches being used for his full-length version now in development.
* A reading of Burton's original "Nightmare Before Christmas" poem by actor Christopher Lee
* A promotional film for the annual "Nightmare" makeover of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.
* Promotional and making-of featurettes, a storyboard to film comparison, deleted scenes and theatrical trailers and posters"
Kidnap the Sandy Claws!
J. Michael Click | 12/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite animated film and in my opinion the best to come out of the Burton/Elfman team. The plot is... well... "different": The denizens of Halloween Town kidnap Santa Claus and have their way with Christmas. i.e. make a complete mess out of it. The visuals are spectacular (if a little dark) and the music and songs are wonderful and fit right in with the action. Regarding the "family appeal" of this movie: just keep in mind that this is a Tim Burton creation (Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow) and therefore it is dark, a little scary and the humor is on the sarcastic side. Oh, and if you absolutely can't stand musicals, then this movie will either make you a believer (like it did to me) or will put you off.About the DVD edition: I've seen this movie in the theater, on TV, on VHS and now on DVD and I must say that the DVD edition had the best sound quality. They could have included some bonuses (a "the making of..." type of feature is really missing) but the excellent sound and decent picture quality was good enough for me.Go ahead and give it a try, especially if you're a Burton/Elfman fan!"
What's this? What's this?!?
Sean William Menzies | 08/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Set in an utterly juvenile package, with discs laying dangerously atop one another, held in by those clear plastic hubs that ALWAYS break off, this new remaster of the Burton/Selick classic bears a staggeringly beautiful and accurate image. Colors are truer, detail is richer, this looks like the original film, folks. The 5.1 is amazing.
But - and such a tremendous BUT - Disney has really F-ed up the opening titles of the film. Nightmare was originally a Touchstone Picture and that very logo that we are all familiar with (unless born yesterday or just plain dense) of the blue line rolling out from screen right to become the flashy orb associated with the company, is gone, to be replaced with, simply, "Walt Disney Pictures presents." Not such a bad deal, you may be thinking, until you realize, if you are a fan of the original film or remotely observant at all, that the opening music now no longer matches when the full title, "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," fades up on the screen; the music used to swell up just when the title came on. Now, due to the idiotically short timing of the Walt Disney card rather than the roll out of the Touchstone Logo, the big hit in Elfman's score occurs in the middle of the Nightmare Title card and looks and sounds just WRONG. Even if one is unfamiliar with the original film, one would still think... Mmmm, that's odd, nothing happens there, why the big music swell. It is a disgusting sign of our times that this passed muster, even with the director and producer. If Disney absolutely had to have their name on the front of this film, could they not have spent a little of their vast rattling pocket change to come up with something that would keep the image in sync with the score? What we are seeing is not the original film. Whether or not Touchstone still exists is beside the point - "Selznick International" is still on the head of Gone With the Wind, despite the fact that the film has changed hands from Selznick to MGM to UA to MGM to Warner Bros.
And - and such a tremendous AND - the advertising has GOT to go. As soon as you plop the dvd of the feature into your machine, you are assaulted by a barrage of Disney sh%*-eating grins, all meant to entice your children to scream and beg for the latest straight-to-video crap that they have to offer. Get with it, Walt, most other studios don't do that anymore, they start the film's menu right away. I only hope BluRay has cleaner presentation.
There. My review of an over-packaged, carelessly altered classic laden down with all the bile-raising advertising you could ever dream of. Bottom line: the film's image is really absolutely stunning and the sound is jaw-dropping. Get it for that, if you can stand wading through the rest of the muck.
But for me, the out-of-sync opening title is not how I remember Nightmare. And it is not how it should be."