Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (3D/2D) (1993) 
Blu-ray Animation
Written by Noah Fleming   
Monday, 29 August 2011

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“Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas” is not one of my particular favs.  I know there are tons of Burton fans and fans of this film out there.  It just doesn’t suit me.  I applaud the stop-motion animation and the creativity, but it just doesn’t strike a good chord with me.  I find it creepy and a bit unsettling.  I’m sure this is of the filmmakers’ intentions, but it goes as far for me as to make this film non-enjoyable.

This film has gone through several releases so I’m sure that you all know about the premise of the film.  For more information on the foundation of this film visit the previous Blu-ray review here.

This review is of the Blu-ray 3D release of the film.  All manners of this release are identical to the 2008 2-Disc Blu-ray release of the film which the exception of the addition of Blu-ray 3D and DVD discs.  (The previous release had a Blu-ray 2D and Digital Copy disc).  All special features remain the same.


So, how is the 3D nature of this release?  Well, I must say I was a bit disappointed.  It doesn’t even come close to the quality of the 2D video (present as a 2D Blu-ray disc in this set).  Don’t get me wrong, the video quality is really good, it just doesn’t deliver the punch that I was expecting from 3D technology.  I most recently have come from seeing “Harry Potter 7 Part 2” in IMAX 3D, so it is understandable why first impressions of this 3D release are uninspiring.  But even after lower my expectations the 3D effect just doesn’t come across as well as in previous 3D releases.  Much of this has to do with the post-production 3D conversion of the film.  Too many of the shots are lifeless.  This is part of the filmmakers’ intentions.  However, when it comes to 3D, it leaves the audience underwhelmed.  The depth of this 3D release is lacking for most of the time and then stunning for a few brief moments.  Dark-natured films are not the go to 3D demo genre.  The black levels swallow the 3D depth.  While the image doesn’t pop, details and textures are still wonderful.  The 2D counterpart is superior in this regard, but the 3D release does its best with the source material.  Colors, when appropriate are still as lovely, or haunting as ever.

On the technical side of things, there is no lingering artifacting or banding present.  However, there are several instances of ghosting, or crosstalk.  Some of this is part of the post-conversion process while other instances are a matter the viewing distance in comparison with the size of the 3D screen.  Those should disappear if viewing using a projector and large screen.

All in all, the video quality is quite good and fans will be pleased, but the 2D counterpart still remains the best.  Note: the aspect ratio of the 3D release is 1.85:1, whereas the 2D disc contains the film at 1.66:1.


The Blu-ray 3D release comes with the same ill-fated Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track.  It is easy to tell this is the same audio track considering that everything else released by the studio nowadays is in DTS-HD MA.  Aside from that, the quality remains under par.  Sure, the 7.1 audio track sounds amazing, and most will have no trouble letting the problems pass by.  But as an audio professional, the annoyances are just too great.  As a post-release 7.1 upmix, the extra two rear channels don’t offer much in the way add immersion.  Slight music score bleeds into the surround back channels.  You get about the same two channels when feeding the 5.1 mix through THX’s Ultra2 Cinema decoding algorithm.  Immersion is still good, but not worth calling 7.1.  The music score is important to fans, but it remains muddy.  Much of this is part of the original sound design.  The original mix is rather poor.  Instruments occupy the same space, creating a jumbled mess.  Dialogue is clear, but the original dialogue compression adds a heap of sibilants.  It doesn’t take long for the “s” sound to start piercing the ear.  I recommend the Re-EQ function on your receiver if it has one.  Aside for those problematic areas, the overall audio track provides and enveloping experience with swishes and swashes.  Panning and directionality are quite impressive.  The LFE channel remains a bit hollow though thundering.  The shallow bass is a bit disappointing.  This track is receiving the low score for these problematic areas, which I know can be fixed.

Bonus Materials:

As I mentioned earlier, the special features contained in this package are the same as the previous 2D Blu-ray release.  For more details visit the earlier Blu-ray review.  All bonus materials are located on the 2D Blu-ray disc and still do not include the missing LaserDisc bonus features.  Hence, the special features’ rating has been downgraded from the previous review.

To recap, here are the bonus materials on this disc:  “Tim Burton Introduction”; “What’s This?” Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour; ‘Frankenweenie” Short Film; “Vincent” Short Film; Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated By Christopher Lee; Audio Commentary with Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman; “Making-Of”; “The Worlds Of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”; Deleted Scenes

This is an absolute must for fans of Burton and/or this film.  The 3D conversion is not the best I have seen, but it is interesting to watch.  The audio quality unfortunately, remains the same problematic track as before.  I recommend this to real fans only.  Otherwise, the 2D video quality is more than sufficient.
Studio Walt Disney Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG
Starring Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, Greg Proops, William Hickey, Paul Reubens
Director Henry Selick
Film Release Year 1993
Release Year 2011
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080i (supplements) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 • 1.66:1
Running Time 1 hr. 16 mins.
Sound Formats English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 • English Dolby Digital 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features “Tim Burton Introduction”; “What’s This?” Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour; ‘Frankenweenie” Short Film; “Vincent” Short Film; Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated By Christopher Lee; Audio Commentary with Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman; “Making-Of”; “The Worlds Of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”; Deleted Scenes; DVD/Digital Copy
Forum Link http://www.avrev.com/forum
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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