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Reviewed October 17th, 1999 by Staff


If there is an example of a Tim Burton movie in Plato's world of forms, it's The Nightmare Before Christmas. All of the gothic, creepy, quirkiness that exists in Burton's mind is on this DVD. The film is a homage to the stop-motion, animated Christmas specials of the 60's. However, instead of reindeer, snowmen or Heat Misers, we have the inhabitants of Halloween Town. In the film, all holidays are run by the inhabitants of the respective holiday towns. The audience only sees Halloween Town, and Christmas Town, though the Easter Bunny puts in a cameo (I bet Thanksgiving town really sucks). Anyway, the hero of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, has grown bored of Halloween and decides to hijack Christmas from St. Nick. The film follows his hilarious misadventure.

Visually, the film is astounding. Halloween town is stylized beautifully. The menacing skies, the leaves and the colorful residents of Halloween Town are a feast for the eyes. In stark contrast to the dark tones of Halloween Town, the depiction of Christmas town out does every holiday special ever. The animation, done practically, not digitally, adds to the surreal nature of the story.

The Nightmare Before Christmas features an unforgettable score of showtunes by Danny Elfman. Elfman also sings for Jack.

The DVD, presented in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, is very clear. The detail and colors of the animated characters are incredible. Unfortunately, a half mark must be deducted because the transfer is non-anamorphic.

The 5.1 sound mix is perfect. The sleigh-bells heard in the song in Christmas Town alternate between the surrounds. Witches fly diagonally across the room. The soundstage is full and rich.

The DVD includes a French language track, Spanish subtitles, the original theatrical trailer, and scene selection. Buena Vista released a special edition of the film on laser disc.


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