The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-Ray Review: Dream Come True?

The Nightmare before Christmas 3D Blu-ray: On General Release From 3rd October 2011

It seems Disney are going all out in an effort to convince audiences that 3D is the way forward and, for the most part, it seems to be working. Disney have been carefully choosing their re-releases from the vaults and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas seems like the perfect candidate for a 3D Blu-ray release. Though the 1993 animation is a family favourite, can it stand up to HD scrutiny?

Jack Skellington is the thin-limbed leader of the kooky cast of characters living in Halloween Town. After spending year after year surrounded by ghosts and ghouls, Jack leaves in search of something new and finds Christmas Town. When Jack convinces Halloween’s inhabitants that they should try Christmas themselves, things go horribly wrong for the expectant children of the world who instead of receiving puppies and dolls get shrunken heads and vampire teddies.

The story is as good as ever, blending horror and fantasy with the twisted imagination of Tim Burton and the superb direction of Henry Selick. The fantastic sound transfer lets Danny Elfman’s fun and bouncy score shine a little brighter than previous DVD releases but, unfortunately, this level of quality is a double-edged sword. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice the camera judder once or twice and the strings controlling a group of bats haven’t been edited out which on one hand stays faithful to the original techniques used but on the other, seems a little old-fashioned and is a small detail which could be easily fixed.

Put on your 3D glasses now

Back in 1993, stop-motion was still considered a novelty and hadn’t fully gripped mainstream audiences until Nightmare changed people’s perceptions of the technique. The hand-made feeling of the film was initially an asset but now, with the filter of a 3D Blu-ray, there’s strangeness to the stop-motion. Fans may find this hyper-detailed version off-putting as it just doesn’t feel as familiar as the copies of the film that they already own.

The 3D element of the film coupled with the high image quality highlights the amazing production design which has more of a physical presence than ever before. The 3D environments are stunning but are more impressive than the puppets that inhabit them; whether this is a good or bad thing is something for the fans to decide. The depth of the 3D isn’t what some may be expecting as it isn’t particularly immersive but is a welcome experience nonetheless.

In terms of special features, the 3D Blu-ray offers a few never before seen extras like a tour of the Nightmare makeover the US Haunted Mansion receives every October which is quite fun and has an optional trivia track. We also get the chance to see Tim Burton’s original poem on which the film is based as an animated short with a voiceover from Christopher Lee. The real jewel in the crown is the brand new audio commentary from Tim Burton, Henry Selick and Danny Elfman. Unfortunately, Burton features the least in the commentary but it’s still very interesting and has been the missing piece of previous DVD releases.


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