Tim Burton's: The Nightmare Before Christmas
20th Anniversary Edition
3D + DVD + Blu-ray + Digital
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Rattle your bones and jump for joy -- it's the 20th Anniversary Edition of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS on scare-ific, spooktacular Blu-ray Disc(TM)! Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere! Hear the genius of Danny Elfman's sensational music in 7.1 Surround Sound as the fantastic talents and imaginations of Tim Burton and Henry Selick come to life in stunning Hi-Def. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS -- even more eerie and extraordinary on Blu-ray High Definition!|THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is the first full-length stop-motion animated film ever created.|The movie contains more than 227 animated characters.|Santa Claus' head has more than 50 different working parts, and Jack has more than 400 separate interchangeable heads, each handcrafted with a different facial expression.|The smallest working puppet in the movie is a doll from the "real world" Jack visits that is only one inch long.|Sally is wearing a real miniature dress laid on top of foam latex so that the fabric doesn't move too much on screen.|At the height of production, the animators produced only 70 seconds of finished film per week.|To create Halloweentown's twisted look, the design artists often made their sketches using their nondrawing hand.
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And in fact he did. Burton wrote and produced a charming stop-motion musical called "The Nightmare Before Christmas," which is as close as we'll ever get to a Burton Christmas film. And there's rarely a dull moment in this town called Halloween -- from start to finish, it's a quirky, macabre, vintage-flavoured ride through the darker side of everybody's favorite holidays.
In Halloween Town, the undead Jack Skellington is king, and each Halloween the residents try to make their celebration even more horrible than the year before.
But this year, something is missing for Jack, and he starts wondering if scaring people is all his life has. He ends up wandering into a sort of holiday junction, and finds a portal to Christmas Town -- it's full of snow, lights, presents and innocent fun. Jack is instantly enamoured of Christmas, and decides that for this year, the residents of Halloween Town are going to celebrate Christmas.
He manages to convince the other Halloween residents -- except the sweet rag-doll Sally -- to go along with his plan. So Halloween Town is redecorated and filled with presents (in a suitably ghastly style) and "Sandy Claws" is abducted so Jack can take his place. But are the people of Halloween Town just not suited to innocent merriment, and can the Pumpkin King fill the capacious red suit when Christmas Eve rolls around?
The idea of Halloween ghouls and spooks deciding to take over Christmas sounds terribly twee in concept, like a gimmicky children's book. Fortunately Tim Burton's darkly humorous sense of humor and delightfully gothic designs -- as well as Henry Selick's brilliant direction -- end up turning the movie into something that is more than just another kid's movie. Think a Burtonesque "Princess Bride."
Much of its charm comes from the richness of Burton's visuals -- his Halloween Town is saturated in spiky iron fences, ghost dogs, insects, mad scientists, and a spooky cloudy night that never ends. And though the inhabitants of Halloween Town are devoted to being grotesque and spooky, there's a lighthearted benevolence in their actions at all times. It almost makes Christmas Town look... dull.
But it's also an incredibly funny, sweet little movie, with plenty of heart. There's an adorable little love story between Jack and Sally ("My dearest friend, if you don't mind..."), despite Jack's total cluelessness. And Burton weaves in lots of solid musical numbers ("There's children throwing snowballs/instead of throwing heads/they're busy building toys/and absolutely no one's dead!").
But the crown jewel is Burton's macabre sense of humor. Hardly a scene goes by without a creepy gag (one child's present is a shrunken head) or clever dialogue ("Jack, please, I'm only an elected official here. I can't make decisions by myself!"). But the best humor comes from the Halloween-town's residents eagerly trying to be festive, and only making Christmas even creepier than Halloween ever could be.
For a skeleton puppet, Jack Skellington is a pretty adorable hero -- he's earnest, generous, but suffers from a bit of ennui from the same old performance every year. His meditative songs about Halloween and his attempts at Christmas add an introspective note to him as well. And he's backed by a bunch of lovable characters, with Sally and the ghost dog Zero at the forefront.
"Nightmare Before Christmas" is a macabre, wildly adorable little movie that reminds us why we love Halloween (besides the candy). Sometimes the dark and fun go hand in hand.