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
DVD Bonus Features
"Nightmare" haunted mansion tour
Tim Burton's original poem
Plus the original special edition bonus features.
The original inspiration for the film came from a poem that Burton had wrote while working for Disney in the early 80's. He was originally going to use it as a narration to a short animation feature he was going to make in the style of his early films such as 'Vincent and 'Frankenweenie'. After he left Disney, the company kept the copyright. Then came the enormous success of Burton's first 3 movies and suddenly Disney became interested again. Although the theme of the story is a little darker than the usual Disney fare, with Tim Burton's name in the title they were willing to take the risk.
Halloweentown is a fantastical space in which all the grotesque characters inhabit a culture where it's okay to be different, messed up and miserable. A Burtonesque utopia if you will. Although Burton's name lies above the title, the two biggest creative minds behind the project were director Harry Selick and composer Danny Elfman. One of Selick's biggest influences in formulating the look of the film was Charles Laughton's 'The Night Of The Hunter' which made such expressive use of lighting. Elfman's songs are a revelation and this without a doubt is the best animated musical I've ever seen.
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