For its 25th anniversary, Tim Burton and Henry Selick's The Nightmare Before Christmas once again returns to Blu-ray. A wondrously imaginative stop-motion mashup of Halloween frights and Christmas delights, the animated musical remains a genuine classic for all-ages, weaving a visually splendid tale about a Pumpkin King who steps in for Santa Claus. Unfortunately, outside of a pretty gimmicky "Sing-Along" option, this "new" release doesn't really offer fans anything they haven't already seen before. In fact, a couple minor extras from previous editions are now missing. Though the film's 25th anniversary would have been the perfect opportunity for Disney to launch a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of the movie, this is more or less just a reissue of the last 2D disc with the same technical presentation. If you don't happen to already own the movie on Blu-ray, then this release is Worth a Look -- but it's definitely not worth a double dip for those who already bought a previous version.
As a general rule, the traditions of Halloween and Christmas don't really fit together. Sure, they're both holidays that occur within a couple months of each other, but that's about all they have in common. After all, ghostly costumes and frightened screams don't exactly mesh well with glittering trees and jolly laughter. But despite this apparent incompatibility, The Nightmare Before Christmas somehow finds a way to perfectly contrast and blend the two into an animated classic so equally macabre and joyful that it carries the unique distinction of being a family viewing staple every fall and winter.
The story focuses on Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon for dialogue and Danny Elfman for vocals), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. Bored with the same spooky routine every year, Jack longs for something fresh and unique. When he discovers a portal to Christmas Town, he becomes enamored by the holiday's colorful lights and cheerful rituals. Determined to try it out for himself, Jack has Santa Claus kidnapped so he can take his place. With the whole community of Halloween Town now tasked with preparing for Christmas, Jack and his friends place a decidedly ghostly spin on the otherwise merry holiday.
Filled with gorgeous stop-motion animation, infectiously memorable songs, wonderful performances, and a simple yet delightfully creative plot, The Nightmare Before Christmas succeeds on all fronts, mixing impeccable craftsmanship with unbridled imagination. Visually splendid and effortlessly amusing, Jack's journey of self-discovery continues to stand the test of time for children and adults alike, earning repeat viewings year after year -- whether its Halloween or Christmas.
For a more in-depth take on The Nightmare Before Christmas, you can read Joshua Zyber's review of the previously released Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Disney brings The Nightmare Before Christmas: 25th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition to Blu-ray on a BD-50 disc. An insert with instructions for a Movies Anywhere digital copy is included inside as well. The packaging states that the release is region A coded.
For all intents and purposes, this appears to be the same video transfer from the previous 2D Blu-ray releases. And thankfully, that's not a bad thing at all. You can read a more in-depth breakdown of the video presentation in Joshua Zyber's review of the original Blu-ray release HERE.
Though now presented as a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track instead of a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track, this is essentially the same mix found on the previous Blu-ray releases, offering a lively and satisfying experience. You can read a more in-depth breakdown of the audio in Joshua Zyber's review of the original Blu-ray HERE.
For this 25th Anniversary disc, Disney has ported over virtually all of the supplements found on previous editions -- reviewed HERE -- while adding a new Sing-Along feature. With that said, it looks like the Tim Burton Introduction; What's This? Jack's Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour – On Track Version; and Halloween Town, Christmas Town, and Real World galleries have been dropped for this release.
Sing-Along Editon (HD) - When this feature is toggled, users can watch the movie with on-screen lyrics during the musical numbers. An image is also displayed next to the lyrics indicating which character is singing, along with some simple animations that go along with the song (tears drip down when tears are mentoned in the lyrics, etc.). In addition, users can also select specific musical numbers from the main menu rather than watching the entire film.
Even after 25 years, Tim Burton and Henry Selick's The Nightmare Before Christmas remains a genuine classic for all-ages, blending stop-motion Christmas delights with Halloween frights. Sadly, this anniversary release is really nothing more than a glorified reissue with a new "Sing-Along" option. But while the technical presentation remains the same, that's actually not a bad thing. This disc is Worth a Look for fans who somehow don't already own the flick on Blu-ray, but Disney really should have just put the extra effort into bringing the movie to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray instead.