by Tony Dayoub
Fans of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) should be excited with a number of different versions of the newly restored and remastered film, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. The stop-motion animated film is fast becoming a must-see classic in both the Halloween and Christmas season. And now, after previous failed attempts, the definitive version finally makes it to retailer's shelves.
The story of Halloweentown's Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, and his crusade to bring his version of Christmas to both our world and his own, was based on a poem by Tim Burton. After years of shopping the story to various studios, Burton teamed with composer Danny Elfman (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) and director Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach) to deliver the film to the screen.
Surprisingly, this beautifully realized masterpiece had been released in a special edition DVD with lots of extra features, but with an inferior picture unsuitable for such a classic and unsuitable for today's HD TVs. Well, the new collector's edition corrects that by giving us a crisp anamorphic picture, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and on the Blu-ray, TrueHD 7.1 audio.
While many of the special features of the new collector's edition overlap with the initial special edition's extras, there are some new bonus features that make this worth purchasing. A digital copy of the film is included, suitable for downloading on Macs and PCs. There's a holiday tour of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, which is taken over by Jack Skellington every year around Christmas time. Also included is a new commentary track by Burton, Elfman, and Selick, that in all honesty suffers a bit from being edited from separate conversations with each, rather than a shared interaction. But the best feature is a recitation of Burton's original poem by actor Christopher Lee (Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith) showcasing some of Burton's original line drawings used when designing the final film.
For the true raving fanatic, there's also a limited edition release available in a coffin-shaped box that holds a bust of Jack Skellington and a "Sandy Claws" hat and beard. Any way you choose, the collector's edition of The Nightmare Before Christmas is a must-have for your DVD collection.
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is available on DVD and Blu-ray today.
Stills provided courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment.