This is an enjoyable movie at any age.
Switching around within the special features can get tedious and tiresome.
When Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is left at home during Christmas, he uses all the wit he can muster to not only survive, but rid his neighborhood of the Wet Bandits. What seems on the surface to be a puff piece Christmas tale, is actually an enjoyable viewing experience and the kind of film that is watched in the same way as other Christmas classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life. This is no simple tale as Kevin has got to fend for himself while living every parents forgetful nightmare. In addition to taking on the Bandits (played brilliantly by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), Kevin also manages to befriend Marley (Roberts Blossom) who is the subject of a lot of town gossip. This film works because it is light, touching, and affirms faith all while not calling attention to the fact that it is doing just that.
There have been other releases of Home Alone (in it's Complete Caper Collection or in other packs with other films, etc.), but I think that Home Alone: Family Fun Edition is probably giving consumers the most bang for their buck. This one is filled with a commentary track, featurettes, games, and deleted scenes. With the holidays coming upon us, I feel that this release is more than an appropriate stocking stuffer.
Featuring Macaulay Culkin and Director Chris Columbus these two take a lighthearted walk down memory lane. Columbus is the first to point out how much Culkin has grown since doing the movies, and he even admits that at the time he did the film his career was in dire straits. They talk about how they shot the first film at a real house and then when they did the sequel they had to go elsewhere because the proprietors wanted more money. Apparently, there were two different versions of the "Macaulay in front of the mirror scene," and it was Joe Roth who said that the climax of that scene (Macaulay's hands on his face in surprise), should be the image used to sell the film.
There are a bevy of these here. They are The Making of Home Alone, How to Burglar Proof Your Home: The Stunts of Home Alone, Home Alone Around the World, Where's Buzz Now?, Mac Cam: Behind the Scenes with Macaulay Culkin, Angels with Filthy Souls and a 1990 Press Featurette. Of all these my favorites were Mac Cam, The Making of Home Alone and Where's Buzz Now?.
The Mac Cam featurette was interesting because Culkin basically had a video camera and could do whatever he wanted with it. He walked around, shot the cast and crew, and in between seemed to very much like to spin around with it. Nothing too amazing, but I liked the candid look that it gives us. The Making of Home Alone was good if for nothing else than the nostalgic moments that it manages to bring up. Lastly, Where's Buzz Now? shows us the whereabouts of Kevin's older brother (played by Devin Ratray). He is still acting it seems and doing quite well, which is always nice because so many child actors end up being cautionary tales.
Set Top Games
Deleted and Alternate Scenes
In total there are 15 of these to rifle through and while I don't know that they change up the viewing experience much (this just isn't that kind of film), they are interesting now that the film is 16 years old. It is always nice to take a movie that you are very familiar with, and then watch it in a way that you never have before. As I mentioned above, this film doesn't change so much as it asks the question, "What would have happened if they would have used this scene or this take?"
Widescreen Anamorphic - 1.85:1. The transfer of this movie on this DVD looks really sharp. I actually watched the end of Home Alone recently while I was staying in a hotel, and I felt that on my small TV setup the movie looked better than when I screened it in the hotel. It isn't like this movie was lensed by Vittorio Storaro but Director of Photography Julio Macat has done highly credible work on this film.
Dolby Digital. English 5.1 Dolby Surround. Spanish and French Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. A big reason why this movie has the warmth it does is because of the soundtrack. Infused with a magical, mysterious quality, this film plays really well because of the continuous orchestral score. They have done a very good job mixing it so that it doesn't foreshadow too much of the action, yet keeps everything from getting any darker than it needs to be.
Macaulay, hands pressed to his face, takes up the lower right-hand portion of the screen, while the Wet Bandits stand angrily in the window behind him. The back features Culkin on the roof, a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, and technical specs. This description has been for a cardboard cover that goes over the DVD, while on the amaray case that houses the disc the only difference is that the image on the back has been shrunk to make a space for a cast list as well. There's nothing too special about this packaging, but like a Christmas gift, it's what's inside that counts.
This movie, like A Christmas Story before it, truly captures the holiday season. It works well for all generations because it has something for everyone. If you're a child you can laugh at the situations that Kevin gets into. If you're a teenager you can laugh at the situations, but there's also a bit of dry humor that still holds up from the time this movie surfaced in 1990. If you are an adult, you get the jokes, the dry humor, but you also get a solid dose of old fashioned, warm hearted holiday cheer. I don't care what religion you follow, Home Alone is a movie that truly has something for everyone.
So go out, buy the Home Alone: Family Fun Edition and play it continuously on both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Home Alone was released November 16, 1990.