The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Stephen Withers, 30th November 2011.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is something of an acquired taste, so it is easy to see why Disney baulked at producing it back in the 1980s and it wasn’t until Tim Burton had established himself as a successful filmmaker that the studio was prepared to finance the production. There’s no doubting Tim Burton’s wonderful designs or the talent and skill of the animators but the problem lies with the script. The plot is not that interesting or entertaining - and it could really do with some laughs - resulting in a film that is ultimately just ghoulish rather than scary or fun. The voice cast try their best and Danny Elfman works his socks off but even the score feels like a disappointment, with no really catchy numbers that you remember after the film has finished. Ultimately The Nightmare Before Christmas is a film that you end up admiring rather than actually liking.

Any misgivings about the film itself, certainly don’t apply to the picture on this Region B two-disc Blu-ray release of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It comes with both the original 2D version that uses an AVC presentation that is framed at 1.66:1 and a new 3D version using a MVC presentation that is framed at 1.78:1. The image quality on both discs is superb, with accurate colours, deep blacks and excellent shadow detail. The transfer is pleasingly free of banding or compression artefacts, resulting in a clean and detailed high definition image. The 3D conversion was originally done by ILM and resulting 3D Blu-ray is very impressive, offering a nice sense of dimensionality within a reasonably conservative depth budget. The stop-motion puppets and the sets lend themselves to the conversion process and the results are impressive, with only minor artefacts on complex objects and very little crosstalk. Overall this is an enjoyable 3D experience that adds to the film and doesn’t diminish the impact of the original production.

The audio for The Nightmare Before Christmas is as impressive as the images with both the 2D and 3D Blu-rays sharing the same lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel mix that is both dynamic and immersive. The Danny Elfman score is highly engaging with an expansive sound field and wonderful fidelity, whilst the dialogue is expertly mixed to ensure both clarity and spatial integration. The surround effects are very active and take advantage of the additional speakers to ensure precise positioning and thus create an enveloping experience.The bass is solid and deep, providing support to the rest of the soundtrack and adding impact where necessary. This is a well recorded and mixed soundtrack that is both entertaining and immersive, which helps to drive the film’s narrative and perfectly accompanies the film’s new 3D visuals.

The new two-disc 3D Blu-ray of The Nightmare Before Christmas retains the same set of extras as the previous 2D release and whilst there is nothing new, they were already fairly comprehensive and it would be churlish to expect more. There is a pieced together commentary that includes Tim Burton, Danny Elfman and director Henry Selick, an excellent ‘making of’ documentary and other featurettes about the film’s production. There are also Tim Burton’s early short films Vincent and Frankenweenie, as well as Sir Christopher Lee reading Tim Burton’s original poem of 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.

Overall this is an excellent package that offers both versions of the film as well as a comprehensive set of extras. The film itself might not be to everyone’s taste but the picture and sound are both superb, offering an immersive and enjoyable experience. The Nightmare Before Christmas is certainly recommended to anyone who is a fan of the film or the dying art of stop-motion animation or perhaps just wants to see a successful 3D conversion.

Read the full review...


Standard Member
Hmm...shame you didn't get as much out of Nightmare as I do. Have always felt this is superior to Corpse Bride, especially in the song department. THAT'S the film where the songs are forgettable imo. In fact, I don't even know the titles of any of them!

Compare that to "This is Halloween" or "What's This?" wherein I find myself signing the same few bars over and over as I can't get them out of my head!

The other great thing about Nightmare is you can watch it over the weekend of 31st October then again a few weeks later and it still works!


Well-known Member
Have to agree......think it is worth more than a it and have enjoyed introducing the kids to it.....and they love it too.

Great review though and enjoyed reading your thoughts on it Stephen.


Well-known Member
wow! not been so surprised by a movie verdict on AVForums.... ever!

Each to their own I suppose but for anybody who has not seen this yet, please don't let this review put you off! It really is a great festive film and certainly, in my opinion at least, worth well above the 6/10 it gets here.

Steve Withers

Distinguished Member
I think part of my problem is that I have no interest in Halloween, it's not a holiday over here and all that trick or treating rubbish comes from the States. Obviously lots of people love 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' but I stand by my review, the script is weak and thin on laughs and I definitely enjoyed 'Corpse Bride' far more than 'Nightmare'.

Simon Crust

Movie Reviewer
I'm kinda with Steve on this one, never really warmed to it, much preferring Corpse Bride.

I was down to take this one, but Steve very kindly took it from me due to his wanting to view a decent 2D to 3D conversion; had I reviewed it, I'm sure it would read in a very similar tone.

Each to their own.


Stephen Carter

AVF Games Reviewer
An enjoyable read Steve, value your review and thoughts but having grown up with this film for most of my life, I am completely and utterly in love with it and could watch it day-in/day-out. I guess that is why i would be crap at reviewing this being so close to my heart etc.

Love the songs, characters and the world. The best thing ever to happen to the film was to appear in its own video game and in Kingdom Hearts 1/2. Truly amazing to play through it and see it in full and exploring it. Hope they make another at some point :)



Standard Member
I think part of my problem is that I have no interest in Halloween, it's not a holiday over here and all that trick or treating rubbish comes from the States. Obviously lots of people love 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' but I stand by my review, the script is weak and thin on laughs and I definitely enjoyed 'Corpse Bride' far more than 'Nightmare'.

Fair enough - no great lover of Halloween (the day) myself too. Would still have to stand up for Nightmare over your contention that the songs aren't as memorable as those in Corpse Bride though!

I always thought everyone knows a bit of "What's This?"!
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