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The Nightmare Before Christmas (DVD front)

Walt Disney Home Entertainment's 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD of the cult classic 1993 holiday film directed by Henry Selick.

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Halloween Meets Christmas

  • Dec 19, 2008

-This review pertains to the 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD of The Nightmare Before Christmas -

What happens when you mix a strange combination of Walt Disney Studios animation and Tim Burton, Christmas and Halloween, horror and romance, tragedy and comedy? The result is a stop-motion animated musical that's become a cult classic for the whole family.  Tim Burton's gothic whimsy comes to life in spectacular fashion in The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was based upon a poem he wrote many years before the film was made.

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. He's altogether fearsome and empathetic, monstrous and charming, and basically a good guy (even if a little over ambitious and egocentric). But he's become disenchanted with his routine life. Every year he leads the other creepy citizens of his town in a Halloween scare fest, but what's there to do the other 364 days of the year? Jack finds out when he and his ghost-dog, Zero accidentally come across a forest where upon each tree there's a door representing every holiday. Jack stumbles through one of the doors and finds himself in Christmas Town. After learning a bit about Christmas, Jack becomes obsessed with replicating it in his own delightfully twisted way. He enlists the help of Lock, Shock and Barrel, the town's local juvenile gang, to kidnap Santa Claus so that Jack can take over Christmas for that year. But all goes awry when the sinister Oogie Boogie plots against Jack. He plans to take control of Halloween Town while Jack is out playing "Sandy Claws". Meanwhile in our world Jack's presents turn out to be disastrous, mainly because they consist of toys like dead ducks on strings, disembodied heads and demonic stuffed animals. Soon the military is called in to shoot down Jack's sleigh along with his skeletal reindeer. Can Jack's friends save him in time? His greatest allies include a vampire trio, the literally two-faced Mayor, and Sally, a reanimated corpse who's fallen desperately in love with Jack.

Jack and Sally 

The film is brought to brilliant life by its talented voice cast, which includes Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington, Danny Elfman as Jack Skellington's singing voice, Catherine O'Hara as Sally, William Hickey as The Evil Scientist, Glenn Shadix as The Mayor, Paul Reubens as Lock, Catherine O'Hara (again) as Shock, Danny Elfman (again) as Barrel, Ken Page as Oogie Boogie, and Ed Ivory as Santa Claus.

It's hard to believe that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the perennial holiday favorite. It's also interesting to note that many of Tim Burton's fans consider this to be his best film, which is ironic because he didn't actually direct it. Henry Selick is the skillful director, though Burton's signature style is all over this film. It looks like Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies book meets an Edvard Munch painting. The humor is reminiscent of The Munsters, The Addams Family, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Burton's own Edward Scissorhands. The film even reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. It has important moral messages about not judging people on their appearance, accepting your own individuality and the true meaning of Christmas (generosity, sacrifice and unconditional love).
The Nightmare Before Christmas (2-disc Collector's Edition DVD)
The new 2-disc Collector's Edition is loaded with special features including:
an audio commentary track by Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman, a digital copy of the film on a third disc, the short film Vincent, the short film Frankenweenie, Christopher Lee's recital of Tim Burton's poem which inspired the film, and numerous documentaries and featurettes about the making of the film.

I also recommend the superb Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack, which features the original voice cast performing all of your favorite songs, as well as new narration by Patrick Stewart. Also included is a second disc that contains contemporary artists performing covers of their favorite Nightmare Before Christmas songs. It's the only album released under the Disney banner to feature Marilyn Manson and songs about kidnapping and torturing Santa Claus, which alone makes this a must-have.

2-disc Collector's Edition DVD, plus Digital Copy Title What's This? Happily Ever After?

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October 21, 2010
One of the best films ever, this set is great as well, I got it for my girl when it came out.
More The Nightmare Before Christmas... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
one of my all time favorite burton films, a true goth lovestory lol
review by . October 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
The holidays become a blur. We've all been accustomed to seeing Christmas music on display well before Halloween has come and gone. This idea was given full reign in `It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,' with the late Charles M. Schultz's wonderful take on Halloween when Linus gets mixed up between Santa Claus and the famous, fictitious legend who delivers toys on Halloween night. This is where Tim Burton's `The Nightmare Before Christmas' takes off, but from there all parallels stop, and flair …
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For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title isTim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy. It is based on characters created by Burton, the former Disney animator best known as the director ofPee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and the first twoBatmanmovies. His benignly scary-funny sensibility dominates the story of Halloweentown resident Jack Skellington (voice by Danny Elfman, who also wrote the songs), who stumbles on a bizarre and fascinating alternative universe called ... Christmastown! Directed by Henry Selick (who later made the delightful James and the Giant Peach), this PG-rated picture has a reassuringly light touch. As Roger Ebert noted in his review, "some of the Halloween creatures might be a tad scary for smaller children, but this is the kind of movie older kids will eat up; it has the kind of offbeat, subversive energy that tells them wonderful things are likely to happen."--Jim Emerson
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Director: Henry Selick
Genre: Animation, Classics, Comedy, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Release Date: October 15, 1993
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: 2008
Runtime: 76 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures
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