Fall is almost here and winter is just around the corner. That means it’s almost Jack Skellington season. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has the benefit of featuring two major holidays at the center of the story, making it a perfect film for both Halloween and Christmas. In celebration of the film’s 25th Anniversary, Disney is releasing The Nightmare Before Christmas: Sing-Along Edition on September 2nd.
When Jack Skellington grows tired of reliving the same traditions every year in Halloween Town, he looks for something new to energize his spirits. When he discovers Christmas Town, he decides to bring the gift-giving holiday to his hometown. But when he gets carried away, he almost ruins the holiday for residents in both towns.
Beyond the appealing visual esthetic that was a hallmark of Tim Burton’s work in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the film’s legacy has endured in large part thanks to the music by Danny Elfman. The new Sing-Along viewing mode presents stylized lyrics that sometimes morph into shapes and characters. A spinning circle next to the stanza changes to feature the face of the character who is singing. The animated text makes this feature far more entertaining than the title suggests.
Fans should note that the Sing-Along feature is optional, with the Original Theatrical Version present (except for the studio intro, which still has the modern Disney castle replacing the original Touchstone logo). In terms of bonus features, there’s nothing new outside of the Sing-Along feature, which also allows viewers to access just the songs outside of the film. This means that fans who don’t care about the sing-along component are offered no reason to double dip.
- Song Selection (31:43) – All of the songs from the film are presented in Sing-Along mode. These can be viewed with a “Play All” option or individually.
- “This Is Halloween” (3:08)
- “Jack’s Lament” (3:13)
- “What’s This?” (2:46)
- “Town Meeting Song” (2:59)
- “Jack’s Obsession” (2:52)
- “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” (3:02)
- “Making Christmas” (3:52)
- “Oogie Boogie’s Song” (2:33)
- “Sally’s Song” (1:46)
- “Poor Jack” (2:55)
- “Finale/Reprise” (2:37)
- “What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour” (37:24) – This tour of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday stops frequently to go behind the scenes of the seasonal overlay. On previous releases, there were two viewing modes. You could watch just the attraction ride-thru or watch this expanded version. This release only offers the full experience.
- Tim Burton’s Early Films
- Frankenweenie (29:59) – Tim Burton’s black & white TV special from 1984 is presented in its original form. It was remade in 2012 as a stop motion animated film.
- Vincent (5:54) – Burton’s 1982 stop motion animated short was produced while he worked at Disney Animation.
- Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee (11:36) – Tim Burton introduces his original treatment for the story, presented with illustrations based on Burton’s concept art.
- The Making of Tim burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (24:44) – This six-part behind-the-scenes television special is presented with a play-all option or by individual chapters.
- The Beginning (3:12)
- Music (1:34)
- Storyboards (1:07)
- Art Direction (6:37)
- Puppets (2:48)
- Animation (9:24)
- Deleted Storyboards (2:56) – Three deleted storyboard sequences are presented with scratch audio.
- Behemoth Singing (0:54)
- Oogie Boogie with Dancing Bugs (0:38)
- Alternate Identity of Oogie Boogie (1:23)
- Deleted Animated Sequences (3:04) – Three deleted animation sequences are presented with a play-all feature or individually.
- Vampire Hockey Players (0:18)
- Lock, Shock and Barrel (2:18)
- Oogie Boogie Shadow Dance (0:27)
- Storyboard-to-Film Comparison (3:47) – The “Town Meeting” sequence from the film is presented alongside the original storyboards.
- Audio Commentary (1:16:39) – Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman share their memories and reflections on making the film in this feature-length commentary.
- Posters and Trailers
- Posters (0:25) – Five posters are presented in a short video clip.
- Teaser Trailer (1:42) – The teaser trailer linked Nightmare to classic Disney animation and features behind-the-scenes footage.
- Trailer (1:26) – The original theatrical trailer is the only evidence on this disc that the film was originally released under the Touchstone banner.
This 25th Anniversary Edition appears to reuse the exact same transfer from the 2008 Collector’s Edition, which has served as the basis for every release since (save for the 3D disc). It’s a fine presentation with expertly handled black levels and crisp details.
The main audio track is a 7.1 DTS-HDMA mix that fills the rear channels with sound effects and the Elfman score. It’s an immersive mix, with characters sounding like they float throughout the room. Other audio options include a stereo Descriptive Audio mix, plus French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Packaging & Design
The Nightmare Before Christmas comes in a standard Blu-Ray case without a slipcover (all previous releases had them). Inserts include a digital copy code through Movies Anywhere and a flier for Disney Movie Club.
The disc doesn’t have any trailers. The main menu features a graveyard scene with clips form the film projected onto the moon.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Sing-Along Edition gives fans all of the previously available bonus features and adds a new way to watch the film. While it doesn’t fundamentally change your enjoyment of the film, those who like this kind of viewing mode will enjoy it. If you already own the film, there aren’t any new bonus features to warrant another purchase.
Fans looking for collectible packaging will find it at Best Buy and Target.