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DVD Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition (2018)


Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition DVD

Genre: stop-motion animation, holiday

Director: Henry Selick

Stars: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'hara

Bias: I already know I love the movie - have since I was 5 years old. This review is specifically about the newest edition of the DVD, rather than the film overall.

In a Nutshell: For the three people in the universe that still haven't seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, the film follows the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and de facto leader of Halloween Town. Disenchanted with his macabre reign, Jack wanders into the forest where he finds a series of doorways leading to other places - when he steps through a door that looks like a decorated tree, he is whisked away to Christmas Land. Realizing that the cheer and festivity of Christmas is exactly what has been missing from his life, Jack decides to take some holiday cheer back to Halloween Town, declaring that "this year, Christmas will be ours!" Although most of Jack's fellow spooks, monsters, and ghouls are excited to be taking over Christmas, the wise ragdoll Sally has a premonition that Jack's Christmas is going to go terribly awry. Long story short, Jack learns an important lesson about sticking to his own holiday, finds a renewed love for Halloween (and for Sally), and Santa saves Christmas in the nick of time.

Grade: A

The Critique:

This special edition DVD includes a ton of extras, most of which I haven't even had the time to dig into yet. In addition to the sing-along mode, the DVD boasts deleted scenes; a "Making Of" featurette; audio commentary from Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and Danny Elfman; copies of Tim Burton's early short films

Frankenweenie and Vincent; an original Tim Burton poem narrated by the late, great Christopher Lee; and a "haunted mansion holiday tour" which explores a Nightmare Before Christmas themed seasonal Disneyland attraction. The more basic features include a digital code that allows you to download or stream the film using the Movies Anywhere app, both a sing-along and the theatrical edition of the film, and even an English descriptive language option for the visually impaired (which Disney seems to include in all new DVD releases now).

I think the biggest thing working in favor of this special edition is the quality of the sing-along mode, which I'll admit I was pretty skeptical of at first. It can be tough to add the lyrics to the screen without either obscuring important images and/or making it impossible to actually read along, but the sing-along mode for this DVD was so well-designed that it merged seamlessly with the film. The lyrics appear on a scroll at the bottom of the screen and also include an icon of the singers, as well as cute visual icons for certain lyrics. For example, when the word "wrong" appears, a red X would cut through it - or the word "Jack" would be replaced with an image of Jack's head. Although the film basically sells itself, it is nice to see that Disney put time and effort into designing a product that looks nice, functions well, has tons of extras, and is accessible. Considering the price tag on Amazon is currently 9.99, I'd say this special edition is well worth the price.

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