Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas—Walt Disney Pictures (Blu-ray)

Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.75/5
Extras: 4/5

Enter an extraordinary world filled with magic and wonder - where every holiday has its own special land... and imaginative, one-of-a-kind characters! "The Nightmare Before Christmas" tells the heartfelt tale of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, and all things that go bump in the night. Bored with the same old tricks and treats, he yearns for something more, and soon stumbles upon the glorious magic of Christmas Town! Jack decides to bring this joyful holiday back to Halloween Town. But as his dream to fill Santa's shoes unravels, it's up to Sally, the rag doll who loves him, to stitch things back together.

Tim Burton’s masterpiece finds its way to Blu-ray in stunning form. This is a film that has always been hit or miss with its presentations despite its cult status. People looking for the best presentation have often resorted to importing it from other countries in fact. Thankfully that won’t be the case any longer. This has always been one of my favorite Disney’s films with great stop motion animation and musical pieces.

This new HD transfer is excellent. We got a taste of how good these films can look with The Corpse Bride and this transfer is right on par with that one. The sense of dimension this HD presentation brings to the table is shocking at times. Since this film is actually captured with live photography for the most part, you get a far more three dimensional feel than traditional animation. Contrast levels are excellent and colors bring some wonderful detail as well. I can honestly say I’ve never seen this one look anywhere close to this good before.

Disney delivers a full 7.1 discrete Dolby TrueHD mix for this one. This is the first feature film on Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby mix and the results are great. The surround soundstage adds a lot to the presentation and Disney has delivered some great panning effects and discrete use of each surround channel. The front soundstage is quite open and the spatial quality of the mix is outstanding. Considering this is a musical I’m overjoyed to see Disney put the effort into this reference quality mix.

Extras include a short introduction by director Tim Burton as well as some pretty cool new features. My favorite was an animated production of Christopher Lee narrating the original poem for the film. This is done using the concept art and is produced REALLY well. You also get two of Tim Burton’s early short films that were part of the special edition of this film on DVD. Production features include a look at the different sets designed for the film along with some deleted scenes and storyboard comparisons. The trailers are also included.

Disney hasn’t been putting out very many of their catalog animated films but I’m overjoyed to see this one added to the Blu-ray library. This is a huge step up in quality for the film’s presentation and by far the reference presentation for the film. Highly recommended!

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