What more can be said of “Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas”? Nothing. It is an acknowledged classic, a brilliant piece of animation conceived by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick. It has become for Halloween what “It’s A Wonderful Life” is for Christmas. A film that you want to watch every year for the holiday.
This year, Disney is releasing the film in a handful of theaters in a new Digital 3-D presentation. My first exposure to this new 3-D process came with this summer’s “Monster House”. IMAX screens are no longer necessary to watch a film in 3-D and I think this is the key to the stunning quality of this new technique. The image quality is outstanding, no more ghost lines in the picture. The image quality literally appears to be 3-D. I saw “Polar Express” in 3-D on an IMAX screen and it looked good, but those darn ghost lines were still around. Now we are able to watch these films on normal size large screens, allowing our eye to encompass the whole image. And it helps to make the image even more brilliant, giving the image a depth of field that we can’t get in an IMAX screen.
The new presentation of “The Nightmare before Christmas” is a lot of fun. It is great to see Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) and Sally (Catherine O’Hara) walking around in 3-D, interacting with Dr. Finkelstein (William Hickey), Lock (Paul Reubens) and Oogie Boogie (Ken Page). Many of the images are simply stunning rendered in this new process.
But because this film was not made with the process in hand, some of the images are difficult to deal with. They are still stunning and the film is great, but the process seems inconsistent. Some of the tableaus pop off the screen, others get lost. Scenes in which the stop motion animation is combined with traditional animation are particularly difficult.
You should take any opportunity to watch this masterpiece on the big screen. It is a delight and should be exposed to more and more people. Take your kids. Take the nieces and nephews if you don't have kids. Go with a group of friends. This new presentation is a fun new way to watch this treat.
Can they release the 3-D version on DVD?