08/30/2015  
Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1The Goldbergs: The Complete Season Two on DVD Sep 8Catching Faith on DVD Aug 181931 The Front Page on Blu-ray & DVD Aug 11Madama Bovary on DVD & Blu-ray Aug 4Rookie Blue: Season Five, Volume One on DVD Aug 18The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 28

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

You have to see BFFs JLaw and Amy Schumer dance on top ...
Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani Shine Together on Red Carpe...
VMAs producer: Miley Cyrus has 'free rein,' no rules fo...
Taylor Swift's 'musical crush' Justin Timberlake helps ...
Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette slayed 'You Oughta K...
Amy Schumer's advice for the new 'Bachelor'...
Jared Fogle reaches plea agreement in porn case ...
Shannen Doherty reveals breast cancer diagnosis in laws...
Love me Tinder! Kelly Clarkson sings and saves these ho...
Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1...





Microsoft Store

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 Christmas Vacation HD-DVD (1989)

"Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?"
- Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: December 08, 2006

Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid
Other Stars: Miriam Flynn, William Hickey, Mae Questel, Diane Ladd, John Randolph, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Nicholas Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nicolette Scorsese, Brian Doyle-Murray
Director: Jeremiah Chechik

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (language, slapstick violence, crude and sexual humor)
Run Time: 01h:37m:28s
Release Date: December 05, 2006
UPC: 012569809628
Genre: holiday


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AB+B C+

DVD Review

It's pretty rare for a second sequel to be superior to the original film, and even rarer for such a sequel to wind up as a full-fledged classic. But that's certainly the case with this holiday favorite, the followup to 1983's Vacation, which introduced the long-running series featuring Chevy Chase and his endless efforts to have a good vacation with his family. But while there was a rapid decline in quality over the rest of the series (still running direct to video, Chase having long ago abandoned ship), the third entry stands as the best of the lot, and is still endlessly funny after multiple viewings.

Hapless Clark Griswold (Chase) is determined to give his family, wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis) and son Rocky (Johnny Galecki) an old-fashioned family Christmas. But between the stress of having all the relations show up on the doorstep—including demented trailer trash Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family—and everything inevitably going badly. It doesn't help that Clark has overextended himself financially, relying on his Christmas bonus, which hasn't shown up. From the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree in the snow, to overzealous lighting, to a disastrous Christmas dinner, Clark tries to go to excessive lengths, with predictable and hilarious results.

The various situations inherent in the story give Chase ample opportunity to make the most of his skill for physical comedy; he was seldom better than in the sequence in which he's trying to staple lights to the roof, getting himself in a creative series of predicaments. His earnestness plays beautifully off the determinedly whacked demeanor of Quaid, one third con man, one third rube and one third as disgusting as humanly possible. The humor has a tendency to be juvenile and appalling, and that juxtaposition with Christmas sentiment really makes it all the more laughter-inducing. How can you not like a holiday movie that features a dog all-too-appropriately named "Snots?"

At the same time, much of the humor is very character driven, giving this more heart and emotional content than any of the others in the series (or for that matter, any other National Lampoon offering). As weird and antagonistic as the family is, there is an affection underneath it all somewhere, and a tacit acknowledgment that like it or not you have to deal with these people and get through the holidays one way or another. It doesn't hurt at all that a marvelous cast was assembled in support, from E.G. Marshall as the cranky father-in-law to Mae Questel (the original Betty Boop) as dotty Aunt Bethany, who recites the Pledge of Allegiance as her effort at saying Grace over the dinner.

Tightly paced for the most part, Christmas Vacation also takes short breathers, such as when Clark gets locked in the attic and winds up wistfully watching old home movies (ludicrously dressed in women's clothing to keep from freezing to death). John Hughes' excellent script has a jelly center to its cynical exterior (best personified by the trendy neighbors, played by Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and the result is a wonderful confection that holds up decades later. It's become a holiday tradition in many homes, and the movie still inspires a warm feeling and plenty of laughter. And if that's not enough, you can always enjoy the SWAT team crashing into the house for the finale.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Christmas Vacation has always received fairly substandard treatment on DVD, starting off with a pan & scan version that was the only option for far too long, and a rather muddy widescreen version years later. That's all remedied by the HD version, which looks as good as it did when the film was out in theaters. There's plenty of grain, but it's very well rendered and filmlike. Detail is present that I've never seen before, and colors are excellent (most notably Chase's red robe, which is a chroma nightmare on standard DVD). Don't expect a sharp video edge, but that isn't a reasonable expectation with this movie. The animated opening credits are very sharp, with no aliasing or artifacting of any kind. Leaps and bounds ahead of any prior home version, this is one to be very happy with.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoFrench, Spanishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The English 2.0 DD+ track is reasonably clean. The soundtrack is marvelous, with plenty of songs crossing the decades. Range on the music is very good with decent but not overpowering bass (though items such as Gene Autry's Here Comes Santa Claus are obviously limited by the source material). Directionality is modest, but there's a decent front soundstage. It's not flashy but it gets the job done.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 29 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Randy Quaid, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Miriam Flynn, director Jeremiah Chechik, producer Matty Simmons
Packaging: Elite
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Besides an anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer, the only extra is a commentary that sports some of the cast and crew. It's a chatty and good-natured affair, but not terribly informative for the most part (though I did learn that Randy Quaid is related to Gene Autry). There are far too many gaps and a lot of narration or comments from the director like "This is location...this is process...this is location." It's pretty skippable.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

An instant Christmas classic that just gets better and better with time, finally getting a good transfer on HD. Highly recommended.

 


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

celebrity, jennifer lawrence, amy schumer, billy joel, uptown girls, chicago, television, gwen stefani, blake shelton, the voice, adam levine, pharrell williams, music, los angeles microsoft theater, vma awards, miley cyrus, garrit english, staples center, concert, taylor swift, 1989 tour, lisa kudrow, selena gomez, justin timberlake, alanis morissette, you oughta know, natalie maines, ellen degeneres, bachelor, jared fogle, subway pitchman, sex with minors, shannen doherty, beverly hills, 90210, breast cancer, law suit, tanner, mainstain, glynn & johnson, steven d. blatt, kelly clarkson, tinder, heartbeat song, jimmy kimmel, celine dion, drama, family, comedy, faith.drama, fresh prince of bel-air, will smith, fuller house, the x-files, twin peaks, gunsmoke, burt reynolds, bruce boxleitner, buck taylor, jess walton, lane bradbury, merry florene, the man from u.n.c.l.e., robert vaughn, david mccallum, guy ritchie, henry cavill, armie hammer, anna faris, mom, chris pratt, jurassic world, redbook, john landgraf, mr. robot, ray donovan, the strain, difficult people, news late night, jon stewart, peter jennings, the daily show, coco, ice t, conan, keith richards, beatles, rolling stones, crosseyed heart, norah jones, paris hilton, emily ratajkowski, stella maxwell, jada pinkett smith, jaden, willow, howard stern, classic, foo fighters, learn to fly, fabio zaffagnini, betty white, walt palmer, cecil the lion, mia farrow, valerie harper, nice work if you can get it, ogunquit playhouse, mary tyler moore show, movie, mission: impossible -- rogue nation, tom cruise, simon pegg, ving rhames, jeremy remmer, alec baldwin, late night, ted cruz, david mccullough, ant-man, disney, marvel, pixels, adam sandler, jurassic, inside out, minions, trainwreck, southpaw, jake gyllenhaal, october sky, donnie darko, bubbly boy, brokeback mountain, prisoners

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store