Home Alone (1990) - Family Fun Edition [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Family|
|Fox || PG - 105 minutes - $34.99 || December 2, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-06|
Writer(s): John Hughes (written by)
Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara
Theatrical Release Date: November 16, 1990
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[Note: The movie review and special features portions taken from the original DVD review.]
Home Alone, along with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, are two holiday classics I watch every year for the holiday. No matter how many times I see either, they never get old. Funny and yet still have a sweet message of family and the meaning of Christmas, Home Alone is enjoyed by both parents and kids and after 16 years, is still as entertaining as ever.
I’m not going to go into the plot as it’s known to everybody and I’m not going to talk about specific critiques like acting, storytelling and such because I can sum that up just by saying it’s all fun. This section, I am just going to explain why I still find it after all these years, as funny and heartwarming as I did the first time.
Whether you’re 10, 26 or 50 on up, Home Alone remains a film that anyone of any age can laugh at. Yes, the pranks or stupid but there’s also an innocence about it all. Like the Marx Brothers or Three Stooges that have come before, John Hughes and director Chris Columbus brought back the humor and it is funny. There are no fart or crude sexual jokes, just outlandish pratfalls and over the top pranks that get more laughs from me over the lame spoofs or teen comedies.
Home Alone can be watched by both parents and their kids, and in today’s movie environment, that is rare. Even rarer is when the movie is actually funny. The film works on every level and even after so much time, it still is better than 99% of the Christmas flicks that come out every year.
Addition: Watching it again since the initial re-release, I enjoyed the movie just as I did before and the numerous times prior. While the situations are ludicrous and don’t make a heck lot of sense, Home Alone still makes me laugh since the first time I saw it at the age of (about) 11.
Director and Star Commentary - Chris Columbus and star Macaulay Culkin provide some entertaining comments on this track. They each talk some about what Home Alone did for their careers (good and bad) with Columbus thankful it came along when it did as he though he’d have to quit directing and just write. The track has a good mixture of fun and trivia for the Home Alone fans out there.
The Making of Home Alone (19:12) - This is a nice retrospective featurette with various members of the cast (Culkin, Daniel Stern) and crew (Columbus, composer John Williams, etc) talking about making the movie and how it became the success it did at the box office and on video/DVD over the years. Unfortunately, missing is writer John Hughes as well as other cast members like John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and Joe Pesci.
1990 Press Featurette (3:52) - Typical ‘making-of’ TV junk with a silly voice over explaining the plot mixed in with sound bites from the cast and crew and film clips. You don’t learn anything new, but you do realize how cheesy and obvious these kinds of featurettes were. Still happens today, but not to this extent.
Mac Cam: Behind the Scenes with Macaulay Culkin (4:36) - In 1989 some genius decided it was a great idea to give star Culkin a camcorder to badger and torture his cast mates with questions. Not as annoying as I feared and it is interesting to see some of the goofing off the cast does for the camera. It begins and closes with 2006 Culkin talking about how it was a big deal for a 9 year old to have a camcorder to use.
How to Burglar-Proof Your Home: The Stunts of Home Alone (6:52) - Details the various stunts done on the film with new interviews with the stunt crew and other crewmembers. You don’t realize how much work went into the stunts but some of them were so good, it made careers for them.
Home Alone Around the World (3:42) - Funny featurette showing scenes in other languages from Spanish to Mandarin Chinese. Nothing useful, mind you, but interesting and funny nonetheless.
Where’s Buzz Now? (2:50) - Intertwined with scenes from the film of Buzz’s greatest hits and others talking about the character, we get to see Buzz now. He is now an Elvis impersonator impersonator (impersonates Elvis impersonators). Don’t know if that’s the Buzz character’s career or the guy who played Buzz...
Blooper Reel (1:56) - Trips, falls, flubbed lines; it’s all here as the blooper reel got released from the Home Alone archive. Short, but still funny.
Deleted Scenes/Alternate Takes (16:30) - Also excised from the archives are 15 deleted and/or alternate takes. Many of them seem to be extended scenes from one’s already in the film and were taken out for pacing reasons (a guess, there’s no commentary). If left in, the movie would’ve been nearly two hours...
Angels with Filthy Souls (1:55) - This movie within a movie is shown intact but I have to wonder if this is the uncut version. In Home Alone, one shot shows “Snakes” on the floor still get riddled with bullets, that scene is not here. I demand a director’s cut!
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Given the movie is now 18 years old, I thought the video quality was pretty good. It’s presented in its OAR (1.85) and in 1080p high-def. The transfer itself was clean, though this isn’t going to be anything to show off. I guess if you don’t already own the 2006 DVD re-release and you get nab this for a discount, it may be worth picking up. The movie comes on a 50GB Blu-ray disc (AVC video codec).
On the other hand, I wasn’t as impressed with the audio. Fox provides a DTS HD Master Audio track which conveys dialogue well enough but other things like background noise or even the score didn’t sound that great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent enough track, but nothing to write home about.
As I said, if you already own the 2006 release, I think you can pass this one up. There are no new features and the audio isn’t that great either even if the video quality is alright. The features here are good especially the commentary with Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin.