What a great pair!
lord-rotch | mexico, d.f. Mexico | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Probably the most original, elaborate and imaginative of all Disney's animated releases during the 90's (along with both Toy Story movies) The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach are two rare movie-gems, that didn't enjoyed box-office success as other blander, Disney musicals. Both movies are shot in a process called "stop-motion animation", in which characters are constructed, then move a little, frame by frame, achieveing the illusion of movement with outstanding results. This technique was mastered by Ray Harryhausen, during the 50's and the 60's, and it lived along until the 80's, when it was substituted by computer-generated effects. Since then, stop-motion effects are no longer used to create a single effect, but to do whole features or TV shows (Wallace & Gormitt or Celebrity Deadmatch come to mind). Both movies are directed by Henry Selick, who used this technique for some MTV adds. In this two pak, probably Nightmare Before Christmas is the highlight. Based in a story, concepts and designs by Tim Burton, and aided by Danny Elfman's beautifull songs and rousing score, the movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin-king of Halloween Town. Like most of Tim Burton's heroes, Jack desperately tries to fit-in and do good, and in a futile attempt of originality, he decides to no longer bring halloween to children around the world, and to take care of christmas instead. So things go horrobly wrong (including a series of grousome christmas presents!). The movie is kind of a cross between "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", and it builds an amazing whole new world of its own. The special edition has a lot of nifty extras, like a behind the scenes look, production gallery and comentary by Burton and Elfman. But the real prize are two very rare shorts by Tim Burton. Frankeweenie is a live-action homenage to Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, in which a boy gives life to his dead dog. Filmed in black & white. And Vincent is a very rare, stop-motion short which you get to see the story (in prose) of a boy who tries to be like Vincent Price! Those who enjoyed Burton's poem book "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" will find a great treat here. It is narrated by Price himself. James and the Giant Peach is based on the book by Roald Dahl, his daughter held the rights to this book for a long time, until she found in Henry Selick the right man to adapt it to the big screen. It is the fantastic tale of James, whose parents were killed by a rhinoceros. He lives with his wicked aunts, so he heads to New York, in a giant peach, filled with giant insects. It has great songs by Randy Newman. The begining of the movie is filmed in live-action, and it is a little bit slow, but once the stop-motion starts, the magic begins! The special edition has the regular extras: comentaries, behind the scenes, production gallery, etc. These two movies make a great pair (Nightmare's Jack Skellington even makes a cameo in James), and this two pak really gives us this two gems as good as they can get, loaded with extras. But Nightmare (along with its story, songs, concept and extras) is still one step above James. If you can only afford one, go with Nightmare, but if you can afford both, this is a great opportunity. Thanks Disney!!"
Spectacular animation... poor value...
Tarik J. Ghbeish | Santa Cruz, CA USA | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You should be aware that you can get these special editions cheaper by ordering them separately (only a dollar cheaper here).That said, these stories are both excellent, although only related by virture of the production team. The clay animation style has always been a favorite of mine, and the production values of these two movies, combined with modern techniques, is completely immersive for me.Nightmare - a great rendition of a holiday tale. It's difficult to find a original story about Christmas, but Burton and Elfman achieved it in this story about the archetype of Halloween growing melancholy and making an assault on the archetype of another holiday (Christmas) more out of existential artistic angst than anything else.Peach - an enjoyable rendering of a favorite child's story book, it entertains and scares with the same tongue in cheek, freaky, and slightly unsettling humor. These movies are great for kids, but not for younger kids who are easily frightened. Save these movies for those children who have developed the maturity and sophisiticated wit with which they are so seldom credited. Sophisticated adult humor (ala Loony Tunes) also peppers the tales and make this an enjoyable entire family experience."
Good family fun meets Burton & Selick
umd_cyberpunk | MA, United States | 08/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Nightmare Before Chirstmas: Special Edition," is a must have that would carry a six start rating if at all possible. "Nightmare," was the most amazing (and largest scale) film ever made with stop-motion animation.The story of Jack Skelington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who wishes to take over Christmas. The movie is the claymation Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindare meets an Edward Gorrey novel. The wide screen version is wonderful for that "in the theater feeling," and the special edition offers extras as seen on DVDs. There is a "making of" documentory, and the short black and white animated project of Burton's called, "Vincent." "Vincent," is the story of a little boy who wants to become Vincent Price when he grows up. The six minute animated film is narrated by Price himself. Also attatched is Burton's first (pre-Pee Wee) live action short: "Frankenweenie." The name gives a clear idea, it's a dog."James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition," is also in the wide screan version. Based on the popular (and dark) children's book by author, Roald Dahl (author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"), this tale is whimsical and fun. A mixture of the stop-motion technology that had been expanded for "Nightmare," this film also uses computer animation for special effects, and live action scenes.As a bonus, "James," also has a "making of," segment, and a music video for the films song, "Good News." Both, "James," and "Nightmare," have original trailers.Great fun, "James," gives affirmations for childrens' abilities to accomplish things for themselves, and both ("Nightmare" is better) have wonderful musical numbers. Some of the inhabitants of Holloween Town (in "Nightmare") may be a little bit frightening for really young children, but all and all these aren't just for us older "kids," but can be enjoyed by children of any age.I loved "Nightmare" when it was new, but had only just seen "James," for the first time. Highly recomended."
umd_cyberpunk | 10/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back when I first saw the Nightmare Before Christmas, I was amazed. They drew me into the world of Halloween. Things were magnificent. When I heard about this DVD comming out AND that it had a rarly seen film called Vincent, I was amazed. I logged righ on and bought it. With the spectactular job of stop-animation, you won't believe your eyes. You will be one of the many viewers who asked "What is this?""