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The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D(1993)
When the king of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, gets bored of his job preparing for Halloween every year, he discovers Christmas Town and is inspired to take control of Christmas season for a change. Unfortunately his ghoulish subjects have difficulty getting the festive holiday quite right. Meanwhile, Sally, a pretty maid who takes care of her creator, Dr. Finklestein, is trying to escape from her confines. She worries for Jack and foresees his plans will end in ruin.
For more about The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D and the The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray release, see the The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 26, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Catherine O'Hara, Paul Reubens
Director: Henry Selick
» See full cast & crew
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray Review
The 2D presentation trumps its 3D counterpart, but that doesn't mean this isn't a fine release...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 26, 2011
Before Avatar transformed theatrical 3-D into the quote-unquote Next Big Thing, before "post-conversion" and "native 3D" entered the high definition lexicon, before every animated film offered kids the chance to slap on a pair of 3D glasses, The Nightmare Before Christmas was converted to 3D and re- released in theaters. But Nightmare's 3D reissue wasn't anything like the upcoming 3D reissue of The Lion King. This was 2006 and, lest we forget, the landscape of cinema and the viability of 3-D was completely different. Disney had already given 3-D a shot in 2005 with Chicken Little, sure, but The Nightmare Before Christmas wasn't a new release by any means. It was already thirteen-years old, making Disney's post-conversion venture a risky one. Fortunately, the risk paid off. Nightmare's re-release racked up fairly impressive numbers and convinced the studio that 3-D might not be a gimmick for long. Fast forward to 2011. The Lion King is prepping its 3D debut -- in theaters and on home video -- and I doubt anyone is calling its re-release a risky venture. It's safe to say fans, young and old, will turn out in droves. It only seems appropriate, then, that The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is finally coming to Blu-ray. With Disney set to fully capitalize on Blu-ray 3D, only one question remains: how will the studio's catalog post-conversions look in the comfort of your home theater?
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D isn't a jaw-dropping, hair-rising showstopper like Coraline 3D, nor does its 3D presentation pop as dramatically, immerse as readily or impress as easily. But its technically sound 1080p/MVC-encoded video transfer isn't to blame; the limitations of its post-conversion 3D and the inherent irregularities present in the stop-motion animation are. Depth varies on a scene-by-scene basis and director Henry Selick and producer Tim Burton's puppets don't leap off the screen as often as you might expect. Overall dimensionality is quite good -- the curve of a Skellington skull, the bulge of a rotund St. Nick, the creases in a burlap baddie, the crooks and crevices of a grizzled tree, the headstones of a graveyard -- but the foregrounds and backgrounds are so (intentionally) dreary and dismal that a few too many shots appear flat and listless in 3D. (Darker films don't exactly have a great 3D track record.) Some monstrosities practically step out of the screen while others cling tightly to it; some elements tumble convincingly into the background while others are merely chained to it; some scenes open up the image, particularly those that aren't bathed in shadow, while others slam the window shut. Suffice it to say, Disney's 2006 post-conversion is inconsistent, although whether the inconsistencies trace back to Selick and Burton's production or the quality of the conversion itself isn't entirely clear.
What is clear is that The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D still delivers a visual punch. After all, the film remains a hand-crafted beauty and Disney's encode is as polished and proficient as it should be. Colors (when they slither into view) are either strikingly sickly or seasonally satisfying, black levels are dastardly and ominous, contrast is dead on, and detail reveals every fine texture, tiny stitch, frayed patch of fabric, pinched clay and gnarled bark or brush Burton and Selick's stop-motion animators bring to life. (Or undeath.) Moreover, the presentation isn't dragged down by any sinister artifacting, aliasing, crush or creepy crawlies of their ilk. A touch of ghosting (i.e. crosstalk) haunts a handful of shots -- most notably when Jack's spindly fingers curl or uncurl while moving away from the camera, and when fence posts and thinner structures pass through the backgrounds during pans -- and some exceedingly minor banding crops up on occasion, but both are easy to overlook, even at their worst. In the bittersweet end, the 3D experience isn't as effective as its 2D predecessor (which is also included in this 3-disc release), but that shouldn't prevent Nightmare devotees from discarding their 2D-only disc and nabbing this Combo edition before Halloween comes knocking this year.
Note: the 3D MVC-encoded video transfer is presented at 1.78:1 while the 2D AVC-encoded transfer is presented at 1.66:1. The screenshots accompanying this review are taken from the 2D version.
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas and all through the house, I awoke everyone, most especially my spouse. Ahem... sorry. Got carried away there. Disney's chimney-splitting Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track may be the same lossless mix audiophiles have enjoyed for three years now, but that shouldn't give anyone pause. Rowdy, rambunctious and oh-so-refined, it remains one of the go-to audio experiences in the studio's catalog and stands shoulder to shoulder with more recent Mouse House monsters. Each and every voice is clear, weighty and impeccably prioritized, be it Jack's gentlemanly musings, his beastly friends' gravelly growls or the Mayor's manic speeches. Lines aren't forced to compete with one another or buried in any ensuing scuffles; they're neatly centered and nicely grounded, without exception. Effects aren't swept under the rug or given full reign of the soundscape; they're paraded from channel to channel, showcased one after the other, for all to hear. Rear speaker activity is as lively as Selick and Burton's dead things permit, and directionality is disarmingly engaging and playfully frightening. Clattering skulls, scraping sleighs, rickety toys, crunching snow, bouncing bogeymen and singing monstrosities make the rounds, each element polished and precise. Likewise, LFE output tromps and stomps across the floor, granting Nightmare's stop-motion puppets heft and presence, its arcane outbursts power and resonance, and its supernatural delights startling substance.
But it's Danny Elfman's music that steals this lossless Christmas. From the film's malevolent songs to its baleful ballads to the orchestral flourishes of Elfman's mischievous score, Nightmare's music is an absorbing, immersive delight. It doesn't just swell, it soars; it doesn't just dance across the soundfield, it washes over the listener with spine-tingling fidelity, hearty low-end support and agile dynamics. It's a whirling, swirling dreamscape and it doesn't shuffle or stumble for a second. Regardless of how you react to the film's 3D presentation, Disney's TrueHD 7.1 audio will lure you into its lair, rattle your bones and leave you screaming. With joy, of course.
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray release of The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D includes a BD-50 disc that houses the film's 3D presentation, a second BD- 50 that features the film's 2D presentation and special features, and a standard DVD/Digital Copy disc. More behind-the-scenes materials would have been a welcome addition -- come to think of it, a fresh retrospective or production documentary would have been a godsend -- but the 2008 supplemental package is a decent one, so I won't complain. Too much...
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Those who already own The Nightmare Before Christmas on Blu-ray will have to ask themselves: how much is a hit-or-miss 3D presentation worth? At its current pricepoint, Disney is charging a premium for just that. The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D doesn't include any new special features, any noteworthy video or audio upgrades or, really, anything other than a different viewing experience. If you can't get enough 3D and absolutely adore Tim Burton's dark holiday classic, though, I doubt you'll regret your purchase.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Other Editions
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The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Nightmare Before Christmas Blu-ray 3D - June 3, 2011
Disney has detailed the release of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray. In keeping with previous Disney 3D titles, the set will include Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital versions of the film. The release date has been set for August 30th.
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