Animated musical fantasy set in a parallel world where different lands represent different holiday periods. Our hero is Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon), a man from Halloween who becomes converted to Christmas and sets out to spread joy in the world. However, when Jack's new mission leads him to kidnap Santa (voice of Edward Ivory), it becomes clear that he is not really in tune with the Yuletide spirit. Produced and visualised by Tim Burton, this was the first full-length feature to use stop-motion animation throughout.
As fresh, engaging and original as it was when it was first released over 15 years ago, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
is a showcase not just for the creative work of Mr Burton himself, but also the directorial genius of Henry Selick. For while it’s often assumed that Burton directed the film, it’s actually Selick behind the camera calling the shots. The same Henry Selick, incidentally, who directed the equally stunning Coraline
more recently. That’s a film worth picking up too.
But it’s, with some justification, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas for which he’s best known. It almost feels like a timeless tale already, as Jack Skellington, bored of arranging his usual successful Halloween, has a stab at Christmas instead. As you might expect, things don’t go quite to plan, which gives Selick and Burton the chance to introduce a macabre set of terrific characters. And, set to some superb music from Danny Elfman, one of the more unusual festive fairytales goes about its business.
And for such a visually striking film, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas benefits heavily from high definition. The attention to detail with the stop motion animation is gloriously highlighted here, and with Elfman’s aforementioned music eating up the breadth of the soundstage afforded by Blu-ray, it’s a genuine home cinema treat. It’s also the kind of film that, as the past 15 years have proven, is set to be spun again and again. And this Blu-ray edition is unquestionably the best version of it you can have in your home. Whether you find it a Halloween or a Christmas treat, it’s strongly recommended. --Jon Foster