STUDIO:  Disney
MSRP:  $32.99
RUNNING TIME:  76 minutes
• What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour
• Tim Burton’s Original poem narrated by Christopher Lee
• Film Commentary by producer and writer Tim Burton, director Henry
Selick and composer Danny Elfman.
• Frankenweenie, with Introduction!
• The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Go behind the scenes of
the very first full-length stop motion animated movie with the filmmakers.
• The Worlds of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Witness the creation of
the film’s richly imagined dreamscapes, including Halloween Town, Christmas Town and the
Real World.
• Deleted Scenes
• Storyboard to Film Comparison
• Original Theatrical Trailers and Posters
• Tim Burton’s Complete Short Film Vincent

The Pitch

“A re-re-release of Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion flick for the goth crowd!”

The Humans

Director:  Henry Selick
Writer and Producer:  Tim Burton
Voiced by:  Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reubens
Composed and Sung by:  Danny Elfman

The Nutshell

You all know this film.

If you don’t, what happened in your life that made you shun happiness and joy? Sure, most people might have gotten sick of the crowd that’s latched onto this movie like it was a coupon for free black nail polish at Hot Topic, but there’s still no denying that it is one of the best animated films of the last few decades, and certainly one of the greatest musicals.

The tale of Jack Skellington and his quest to take over another holiday was inventive and unique, and still is a stop-motion spectacle that has yet to be matched (but thanks for trying, Corpse Bride).

It was over before they knew it, but with that one stroke Disney took the inevitable step into Hentai.

The film is actually a strange one for Burton, if you think about it. Rather than being the usual social outcast protagonist, Jack is the complete opposite- he’s the cool guy, the star high school quarterback. Everyone wants to be him, but he doesn’t want fame or the attention of women… he’s sick of it all and is hoping there’s something else out there in life. He doesn’t end up changing everyone’s lives for the better or making people more human, he just becomes more comfortable with himself. That sounds so happy and life-affirming but the film is of course just a little bit darker than that.
Despite its subject matter (really, what children’s flick do you know that has a song about kidnapping and torturing Santa Claus?) and the fact that it’s a musical, it’s a movie that everyone could and should love. Hell, it’s probably been a Halloween and/or Christmas staple in your house, depending on your individual tastes and macabre outlook on life.

Fun fact: Vampires really get off on painting. No, I mean REALLY get off. 

The Package

You already know, love, and probably own this film, so I’ll forgo the usual LOWDOWN section of the review and instead give you the answer to the inevitable question of what’s different from the last two releases.

(Note: This is
based on the 2-disc DVD set, not the Blu-Ray. But except for a “special introduction by Burton the features are exactly the same. So replace any adjectives
with STUNNING and any nouns with HIGH DEF and I’m sure you’ll be close.)

This really is the definitive set (at least until the 3-D version is released…) For one thing, it’s been digitally remastered and the picture’s finally anamorphic. I don’t have a copy of the last Nightmare Before Christmas disc to show you comparisons, but it’s obvious that this is the best the movie has ever looked. It’s crisp and clear and will make you appreciate the thousands of hours of work that went into creating these unique creatures even more. The disc is worth it just for this.

But besides that there’s a few new extras included. The best one? We get to hear Burton’s original poem that influenced A Nightmare Before Christmas, as narrated by none other than Saruman himself, Christopher Lee. That man’s voice could make any piece of work better (seriously, the man could make The Wheel of Time interesting), but thankfully the poem is pretty good as is. It’s very similar to the final film, and feels just like it should- a darkly humorous Christmas tale.

“Hi, my name’s Tim Burton. I just woke up and couldn’t find a comb.”

There’s also a new audio commentary featuring Burton, Selick and Elfman that’s not really a commentary at all, but rather 3 different interviews spliced together. This actually works out in its favor, because have you ever heard a Burton commentary before? It’s an excellent Ambien substitute. Here at least things are kept interesting and the behind the scenes info doesn’t stop coming. Selick sounds like he’s the only one that’s actually watching the film at the time but they’re all cleverly edited together. Definitely worth watching.

Also included is a useless behind the scenes look at the newly redesigned Haunted Mansion ride at Disney that looks as boring and as much a waste of time as the original ghostly ride was. You’d be fine to skip it the next time you’re at Disney World, trust me.

The actual case is worth mentioning. It doesn’t look like anything special in that picture above, but the image of Jack Skellington is actually raised plastic and packaged inside a nifty cardboard case. It’s the kind of box you’ll want to display proudly in front of your shelves, unless you’re too embarrassed, of course. (There’s also a collector’s edition set that comes with a bust of Skellington that you can dress up like Sandy Claws, for 6 times the price.)

But the most worthless new extra? The digital copy, of course. Is it really that hard to rip a disc if you really wanted to watch the movie on your iphone for some stupid reason? Do we need another disc devoted entirely towards this?
Everything else included is the same from the last dvd release; the Behind the Scenes featurettes, the Frankenweenie and Vincent shorts, etc. In fact, everything’s there except the last audio commentary. It’s a strange omission that’s not such a big deal because the newer one is so much better, but it will certainly drive Nightmare completionists nuts.

But it’s obvious- if you don’t own this film yet, pick this version up.

9.9 out of 10

Captured- The exact moment the rabbit finds out what people are doing to his likeness in the bedroom.