|The Nightmare Before Christmas |
Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Vincent Price
Directors: Henry Selick, Tim Burton
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies, Musicals & Performing Arts, Animation
Enter an extraordinary world filled with magic and wonder -- where every holiday has its own special land ... and imaginative, one-of-a-kind characters! THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS tells the heartfelt tale of Jack Skell... more »
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Aurora C. (Northernlights) from REDDING, CA
Reviewed on 5/19/2010...
1 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
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!"