07/22/2014  
Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, and More Aug 19The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray Aug 12Gangster on DVD & VOD Jul 22Spartacus: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray, Digital HD, DVD Sep 16Awkward: Season 3 on DVD Aug 5Worm on DVD Aug 12Breathe In on Blu-ray and DVD Aug 12

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'Fargo' will return to FX next season but with new ca...
Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, an...
The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray A...
Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want "trust fund kids" ...
True Detective Has Solid TCA Awards Show Off The Back o...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d't)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)

Stewardess: Can I get you anything to drink?
Clark: Honey? I guess I'll have a Coke.
Stewardess: Do you want that in the can?
Clark: No, I'll have it right here.

- Chevy Chase and Wendy Goldman

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: April 30, 2002

Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo
Other Stars: Dana Hill, Jason lively, Victor Lanoux, Eric Idle
Director: Amy Heckerling

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, nudity, sexual content
Run Time: 01h:34m:32s
Release Date: April 02, 2002
UPC: 085391152125
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C-B+C- C

DVD Review

When I was about seven or eight years old I really wanted to see National Lampoon's European Vacation when it was released on home video. My parents, as was to be expected, deemed the language and sexual situations inappropriate viewing for my brother and me. Outraged, I voice my displeasure and was quickly shut up with the purchase of a candy bar. It is only now, after finally having seen European Vacation that I can honestly say that the candy bar was actually a pretty good deal.

The plot, if it can be called that, is simply a backdrop against the certain hilarity that will come from seeing our loveable Americans get into extraordinary situations abroad. When the Griswald family wins it big on the television game show, "Pig In A Poke," they are whisked away to Europe for an all-expense-paid dream vacation. However, Clark (Chase) is more concerned with sticking to a strict schedule while his children Rusty (Lively) and Audrey (Hill) would rather be back at home partying. As is to be expected, things don't go according to plan and the trip becomes a complete disaster the likes of which can only happen to the Griswalds.

The largest problem with the film is that there fails to be truly humorous, leaving a spotty mess that replays the same joke over and over again. In the course of their travels the Griswalds visit London, Paris, and Rome, only to relive the same experiences. Each time the group clashes with the locals, they inadvertently start some sort of uprising and then move on to the next place. The reason the first film worked so well was because there was a driving force behind their trip: they had to get to Wally World. Here it seems as though there is no sense of drive in the script, only an excuse to allow us to laugh at the customs and personalities of other countries, all the while loving our fellow ugly Americans.

It would normally be enough of a flaw for the script to run the same jokes into the ground, but screenwriters John Hughes and Robert Klane have also found a way to incorporate dialogue and situations from the first film directly into its sequel. While I can understand the inclusion of some bits, the number re-used in European Vacation is a bit excessive. On the commentary track, Chase even goes so far as to recognize this and explains that one long passage of dialogue has been used in three of the four films in the series.

This all brings us to Chevy Chase, a performer I grew up loving, and still do, regardless of his less than inspired choices as of late. There is something about Chase in the right sort of role that is positively winning, allowing him to rise above a mediocre script and add his own sort of humor to make things right. This is most evident here when, through all of the long dry patches, Chase thankfully makes the film worth watching. D'Angelo is fine here, as she always has been in this series, and her chemistry with Chase is never lacking. The two have a sort of rapport going that is not often seen in comedic films. The children, Dana Hill and Jason Lively, are each less than perfect in their performances, mainly Hill, who mostly annoyed me.



Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: As the first Vacation film to be presented in a widescreen aspect ratio, European Vacation represents a sort of victory for fans of the series. Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, it looks very good given the age of the film. Colors are not vibrant due to a subdued palette, except the opening animation for "Pig In A Poke," which does look brighter and very clean with no bleeding. For the most part, the transfer does a nice job of rendering the browns and grays of Europe. It is generally very clean with no evident print flaws, aside from the opening logo for Warner Bros., while edge enhancement is nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish and Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital mono transfer is as uneventful as you are likely to find on a DVD as of late. The dialogue coming from the center channel often lacks definition, and the crispness evident in so many current films is lacking in this mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portugeuse with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Chevy Chase
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: As perhaps the paramount reason I was looking forward to reviewing this film, this new DVD from Warner Bros. features a screen-specific audio commentary by Chevy Chase. Sadly the track is as disappointing as you are likely to find. Chase stumbles through, pointing out little anecdotes that are never very interesting. Take this example of one moment of the track: "(silence).... I find it interesting that in this film Griswalds is spelled with an 'a', but in the later movies it is spelled with an 'o'...(silence)..." I enjoyed moments of the track, but the majority of it is Chase describing the gags that are occurring on screen. Call me crazy but when I hear that Chevy Chase is doing a track I expect to be rolling on the floor with laughter, not yawning with boredom.

The original theatrical trailer as well as cast and crew information round out the extra features on this disc.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

For those who enjoy the film, this DVD of European Vacation is well worth the low price that many stores are selling it for. But for those, like myself, who find the picture the low point in the series, only pick this one up if your goal is a complete set.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, fx, fargo, martin freeman, billy bob thornton, allison tolman, animation, drama, tca awards, breaking bad, true detective, matther mcconaughey, hbo, music, itunes festival 2014, september, pharrell williams, kylie minogue, maroon 5, david guetta, sam smith, blondie, beck, kasabian, movie, philip seymour hoffman, february death, cooper, tallulah, willa, mimi odonnell, james cahill jr., david friedman, box office, movies, action, app, james garner, maverick, the rockford files, devine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, 8 simple rules, the children's hour, doris day, reality, marvel comics, thor, femail, god of thunder, mjolmir, super hero, horror, johnny winter, blues guitar player, zurich switzerland, johnny winter album, willie dixon, walter horton, sex tape, the purge: anarchy, planes: fire & rescue, dawn of the planet of the apes, documentary, soccer, world cup, germany, argentina, mario goetze, dancing with the stars, abc, cheryl burke, botox, no eating disorder, no plastic surgery, simian flu, matt reeves, rick jaffa, amada silver, mark bomback, andy serkis, jason clark, keri russell, kodi smit-mcphee and gary oldman, daytime talk, the view, rosie o'donnell. whoopi goldberg, elisabeth hasselbeck, emmy nominations, game of thrones, house of cards, celebrity, good morning america, ellen degeneres, women's wear daily, e.d., portia di rossi, on-line retail, mystery

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact