The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray Review

Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, has just instrumented another successful Halloween, but behind all the happiness left by the success on his fellow peers there’s a feeling of emptiness left on him. Jack has become tired of the same old thing, the same old holiday, and has now left him wondering if there’s anything out there to fill his empty void. Jack’s wish is about to come true as he stumbles upon Christmas Town and suddenly he becomes excited with the idea of Christmas. But Christmas is not an idea that his peers fully understand and as the day comes closer Jack becomes convinced that in order to successfully mount Christmas he must kidnap Sandy Claws. But things are about to get sticky and Jack will learn the consequences of hijacking someone else holiday.

Deemed too ambitious for its time, but Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has been slowly growing on me. Years ago I could not tell you I enjoyed the film as much as I do today, but things change. Funny how Disney once also considered Burton’s idea as too dark for kids and now the film is on every last quarter of the year. When I heard Disney was going to convert and release the film in 3D I was somewhat skeptical given that the film was never made for 3D. Although lately we’ve gotten some good conversions (Alice in Wonderland), I can’t help to wonder what if this conversion isn’t as good? I can tell you right now that is not what you are hoping for. There’s a reason why some movies are meant to be left as they are, I never seen the movie in 3D in theaters, but if it’s anything like the Blu-ray I’ would rather see it in 2D. Part of enjoying The Nightmare Before Christmas is enjoying the beautiful stop motion work, there’s just so much this piece of art has to offer.

I am sadden to say that this 3D version isn’t what I had hoped, but luckily the 2D version is included in this pack and even when the 3D isn’t all that top notch the film’s story and music can still be enjoyed. The 3D aspects of the film are flat to say the least. There’s almost no depth in the image and there’s plenty of shots where the technology could have easily used and it wasn’t. There are a few scenes that feature some moderate dimensionality in the picture using 3D, but there are very scenes that you can actually count with both hands. I see why Disney has spent so much money and so much care into this conversion and even with the popularity of the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas was never meant to be in 3D. I would say that if you haven’t picked up the previously released 2D version and you are in the market for The Nightmare Before Christmas I would probably tell you to spend the extra few Dollars for this version, otherwise, save your money since it’s not much of an update.

The Nightmare Before Christmas arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MVC encode framed at 1.78:1. The film is cropped from its original 1.66:1 frame for this 3D conversion which purist might find this to be an annoying alteration. Other than the changes done to the aspect ratio the film looks almost identical to the 2D version. Colors are vibrant especially those found in Christmas Town. Black colors are deep and inky with excellent delineation. The world of The Nightmare Before Christmas is excellently detailed and revealing. The puppets look incredibly real and it’s not hard to see the intricate details on their design, the clothing they are wearing, and even the stitching in their bodies is so detailed. The 3D version does feature a bit more grain in various scenes than that of the 2D version, but it’s not so distracting that many will probably just choose to ignore. Overall the presentation of the film is great, the 3D version lacks certain depth, but honestly you can’t expect much more from a film made back in 1993 and digitally converted to 3D.

The Nightmare Before Christmas arrives on Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio lossless track. Dialogue is clean and crisp throughout. The best part is the singing is loud and clear. The rears are busy with ambiance and atmospheric effects. The bass is not as deep as I had hoped, but it does provide some support. Directionality is good and the film does feature an enjoyable and believable soundfield. The audio track sound great for the most part, it is not the best track out there, but it certainly is very entertaining. This track is the same one found in the previous 2D release.

The Blu-ray 3D disc does not have any supplements. All the supplements can be found on the 2D version of the film.

Audio Commentary by Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick, and Music Producer Danny Elfman – The track appears to be done in various sessions as it doesn’t really stick together well. However, the information given by each participant is great. I recommend this track to every fan of the film.

What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour – Take the tour of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday in two different modes: on track with trivia track and off track. This is a promo for the Disneyland attraction.

Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee – This featurette shows the world where Tim Burton drew his inspiration for the film. The Poem is narrated alongside illustrations taken from early concept artwork.

Frankenweenie – This is a short film by Tim Burton that is black and white. It is 30 minutes long.

Vincent – Another short film by Burton, but this time it is narrated by Vincent Price.

Deleted Storyboards

Deleted Animated Sequences

The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Take a look behind the scenes as filmmakers show you the way the film was created in this entertainment documentary. See how the stop motion film came to life frame by frame.

Halloween Town – See concept art for the characters inside Halloween Town.

Christmas Town – See concept art for characters inside Christmas Town.

The Real World – Still gallery of the real world inside The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Storyboard-to-Film Comparison – See how the town meeting scene came to life in this comparison.

Introduction by Tim Burton – Viewers have the opportunity to watch the film with optional introduction by Tim Burton.You can select this option when you are about to start the film (2D version only!)

Posters and Trailers

Digital Copy

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and there’s no doubt about it. Disney knows this and consumers know it as well and thanks to that the studio has spent a lot of time and effort in giving this film a proper conversion. However, I just don’t think this is a proper film to digitally convert to 3D. The result was not bad, but it wasn’t great either. You can’t expect a film from ’93 to look as good as today’s conversions (forget about atrocities like The Green Hornet), but the studio gave it their maximum effort. The 3D version is almost similar to the 2D visually with a great transfer and an audio track that is identical. There are tons of supplements that a worth your time, which by the way there were no additions from the previous 2D release. At the end of the day I would tell you to skip this version if you already own the previous release, but if you don’t have the previous version spending a few extra Dollars is probably the better deal.