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126 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be True to Your Ghoul, June 17, 2008
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This review is from: The Nightmare Before Christmas (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Note: This is a review of the 2008 DVD release

What's this? A new "Nightmare Before Christmas" DVD package? Actually there are three versions: this two-disc set that includes a downloadable digital copy, a Blu-ray version, and a collector's edition that comes with a bust of Jack Skellington with a detachable Sandy Claus beard and hat.

Though this version is billed as a two-disc set, it actually has three discs. The third one contains the digital copy. An instruction sheet spells out in clear steps how to download the file to an iPod or similar device.

The movie itself is a feast for the eyes, ears and imagination. A delectable witches' brew of stop-motion animation, catchy show tunes and a seriously warped creative license, it always stays true to its timeless message: to be happy, be yourself. Devilishly nonconformist, it's an enduring holiday musical for the whole Addams family.

Well, almost. Though all of its fright gags are played entirely for laughs, some of the imagery is downright creepy, especially for small children. Anyone older than say, 6, however, should enjoy every minute. Teenagers will love it.

The story -- the citizens of Halloweentown attempt to annex neighboring Christmastown -- comes from the macabre mind of producer Tim Burton, who wrote it in his spare time (as a poem!) while working as a Disney animator in the 1980s. The movie blends the tastiest bits of Burton's earlier Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands with a sprinkling of the stop-motion magic first found in Disney's 1961 Babes in Toyland.

The imaginative cast of characters includes:
* Pumpkin King Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), a mischievous misfit who believes his purpose in life is to merge the holidays of Halloween and Christmas.
* Jack's faithful dog Zero, a ghost with a glowing, jack-o'-lantern nose who, like the hound in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, eventually pulls a sleigh
* Rag-doll heroine Sally (voiced by Catherine O'Hara), Jack's love interest, who sews herself back together when she loses a body part
* Oogie Boogie (Broadway veteran Ken Page), a slimy, singing bag of bugs who channels the cartoon version of Cab Calloway in the old Betty Boop cartoons
* Lock (Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens), Shock (O'Hara) and Barrel (Danny Elfman, the film's composer), a trio of evil trick-or-treaters who "kidnap the Sandy Claws"
* Wheelchair-bound evil scientist Dr. Finklestein (William Hickey), a duckbilled quack whose flip-top head lets him scratch his brains for inspiration
* A mayor (Glenn Shadix, the interior director Otho in Beetlejuice) who is literally two-faced.

Blessed with the ability to bring adult minds back to child's level, Burton dwells in dark mischief. In fact, some of Nightmare's best scenes include the kidnapping of Santa Claus and Jack's hilarious attempt to replace him on Christmas Eve, when the skeleton gleefully delivers presents such as tree-devouring snakes and severed, shrunken heads.

Director Henry Selick painstakingly created the film over three years. Though he had a production crew of over 100, each minute of footage took a week, as each second required 24 ever-so-slightly different shots.

BONUS FEATURES

This 2-disc DVD package has a nice collection of extras:
* An audio commentary with Burton, Selick and Elfman.
* A downloadable digital copy of the film, which you can transfer to an iPod or similar device.
* Burton's first short, 1982's 6-minute "Vincent," a black-and-white stop-action film about a boy who dreams of being Vincent Price, who narrates.
* Burton's 1994 Disney live-action short "Frankenweenie." This 30-minute black-and-white film re-imagines the Frankenstein story as the tale of a young boy and his car-struck pet dog in suburban America. A recently taped introduction by Burton shows some working sketches being used for his full-length version now in development.
* A reading of Burton's original "Nightmare Before Christmas" poem by actor Christopher Lee
* A promotional film for the annual "Nightmare" makeover of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.
* Promotional and making-of featurettes, a storyboard to film comparison, deleted scenes and theatrical trailers and posters
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Comments


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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 22, 2008 4:47:53 PM PDT
Alias says:
Wasn't Danny Elfman the voice of Jack? I'm pretty sure he was.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2008 8:02:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2008 8:02:34 PM PDT
Julie Neal says:
Sarandon provides the speaking voice, Elfman the singing voice. At least according to the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com). I love Jack's singing voice, though!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2008 12:59:58 PM PDT
Julie's correct about who voiced Jack.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2008 2:21:20 PM PDT
Alias says:
That's interesting - never knew that. Great review btw! :)

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 10:24:13 AM PST
S. Robbins says:
Agreed.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 11:02:59 PM PST
FT-diary says:
Thank you so much for the amazing review :)
This review really helps me on helping my cousin to choose which The Nightmare Before Christmas DVDs to buy.

Oce again, thank you very much!
and God bless all! ;)

Posted on Sep 22, 2009 8:46:43 PM PDT
The Wizard says:
Frankenweenie came out in 1984,not 1994.

Posted on Feb 15, 2010 8:50:13 PM PST
Super helpful...better description of what I will get than Amazon gave me!! Thank you!

Posted on Sep 3, 2011 9:48:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2011 6:44:05 PM PDT
Laura Bishop says:
Thank you so much for the in-depth review. I have the VHS tape. Time for an upgrade!! I enjoyed this movie along with young son (he is now 20!!!)
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