The Nightmare Before Christmas - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
What’s this, what’s this!? A 4K UHD for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas! Featuring the ghoulish designs of Tim Burton, Henry Selick’s incredible stop-motion animated classic gathers up another splendid visual upgrade with HDR. Audio may be limited to the DTS-HD MA 7.1 now but it’s a great mix delightfully capturing the terror, comedy, romance, and monsters. Bonus features are relegated to the included “Sing-Along Edition” Disc. Not that you really needed another reason to buy this film, but if you’re aiming for an upgrade - Highly Recommended.
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.
Tim Burton movie introduction, 'What's This?' Jack's Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour, Frankenweenie Short Film (uncut version) with introduction by Tim Burton, Vincent - short film, Tim Burton's original poem narrated by Christopher Lee, Audio commentary by Tim Burton, director Henry Selick and music designer Danny Elfman, Behind-The-Scenes making of the movie, The Worlds Of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Deleted scenes.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
As we’ve covered Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas quite a few times now, there’s not much purpose in digging through a brand-new review. The only variation in my appreciation of this film is that I didn’t always love it. In fact, I really didn’t like it when I first saw it in theaters. I’m not a musical guy, I get irritable with incessant songs when characters could have a conversation. To that point, my list of favorite musicals is damned short. It took me a few years and several forced viewings at school and at friends’ houses before I finally came around. While Tim Burton headlines the title, I feel it’s Henry Selick and Danny Elfman who deserve the credit for this film’s impressive visuals, catchy tunes, and lasting cultural impact. One bad song or any fault in the incredible animation and this film would have fallen apart but those two are the magicians whose work held this film together and made it special.
With that, here’s what Joshua Zyber had to say about The Nightmare Before Christmas
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas kidnaps Santa for its first (no doubt of many more to come) 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a two-disc 4K + Blu-ray + Digital release. The 4K is pressed on a Region Free BD-66 Disc, the included 1080p Blu-ray is the 25th Anniversary Sing-Along disc from 2018. Both discs are housed in a sturdy black case with slipcover artwork. The disc loads to Disney’s standard language menu before giving you the option of jumping right to the film or going to the animated main menu.
After enjoying a stint on Dinsey+ in 4K, The Nightmare Before Christmas finally gets to scare the bejeesus out of our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collections with a lovely 2160p HDR10 transfer. I’m not much of a fan of the streaming experience, it can be good, but there’s something about these films coming to disc that they feel more lively a better sense of dimension and depth than even what the Dolby Vision streaming version has to offer. From what I’ve read it sounds like Disney didn’t upconvert an old master and in fact did do a new scan and it shows over the previous releases.
Compared to the included “Sing-Along Edition” disc the improvements are notable. Film grain is healthy and cinematic without looking too intrusive or gloppy and unresolved. Details are exceptional allowing you to appreciate every intricate feature of every figure on screen. One of the things I love about stop motion is that virtually any time you pause you get a picture-perfect image to just absorb and enjoy. After many viewings, I felt like I seeing new textures and fine details I simply hadn’t noticed before.
The HDR10 grade is equally impressive with rich deep black levels and picture-perfect shadow delineation giving that extra sense of natural depth and dimension. Colors are equally vibrant and lively with a full range of primaries getting plenty of attention. Whites are equally crisp without blooming issues. Elements are in excellent shape for a crystal-clean image. Now on a personal side, I may still enjoy my 3-D Blu-ray experience more as that conversion is practically flawless, but this 4K HDR transfer easily outpaces any previous home video release for best all-around video quality.
On the audio side, Disney simplifies the selection down to only the DTS-HD MA 7.1 instead of the various tracks previous releases had. Much like Cinderella, they went for the more expansive surround experience, only in this case I’d argue it was the right choice. Where I felt Cinderella was better suited for the mono track, The Nightmare Before Christmas is terrific in 7.1. Not sure why they stopped there and didn’t go full Atmos, but hey, I’m not going to complain when this mix is fully engaging, immersive, and just damned fun to listen to. All of the dialog and song lyrics are easily heard. Danny Elfman’s frightening, infectious, and romantic score is truly lovely, and then the array of creepy crawly sound effects ensures that every channel is engaged.
On the bonus features front there’s nothing on the actual 4K disc itself, which is a genuine bummer because the audio commentary is quite good. To hear that, you have to pop in the included Blu-ray, which again is just the older “Sing-Along Edition” disc, so even then not quite all of the archival bonus features have returned. What’s here is good but like a lot of the Mouse House catalog releases, not that exciting considering this film is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.
- Sing-Along Song Selection
- Classic Bonus Features:
- Audio Commentary featuring Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman
- What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Holiday Tour
- Tim Burton’s Early Film
- Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee
- The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Deleted Storyboards
- Deleted Animated Sequences
- Storyboard-to-Film Comparison
- Posters and Trailers
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic piece of work. Although I may not have been sold on it with my first theatrical viewing, repeated exposure broke down my guard and its infectious tunes wriggled and crawled their way into my brain and stayed there. Today it’s a marvelous example of Henry Selick’s ingenious animation with full kudos to Danny Elfman’s amazing songs and score. Now for its 30th haunting of the holiday season, Disney gives the film its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release and the new HDR10 transfer is quite fantastic easily besting previous home video releases and in my opinion, it even outpaces its 4K streaming counterpart. Audio sounds to be the same DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix, but there’s nothing to complain about there, it’s a great track. Bonus features are the same mix from the old “Sing-Along Edition” disc which was good, but not quite everything, and the lack of anything new is a bit of a bummer. With that in mind, if you’re on the hunt to add The Nightmare Before Christmas to the collection, this set is worth the pickup. Highly Recommended
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