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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Home Alone: 25th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
Home Alone: 25th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
20th Century Fox // PG // October 6, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $69.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted October 25, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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Home Alone Blu-ray Review

Home Alone is the beloved Christmas classic created by screenwriter-producer John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles) and director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Adventures in Babysitting). The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister: the kid left behind by his family on Christmas. Kevin must learn to take care of himself while his family is on the way to France for Christmas vacation and protect the home from a pair of bumbling thieves named Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern). The film is executive produced by Mark Levinson (Teen Wolf, Mystic Pizza), Scott M. Rosenfelt (Mystic Pizza, Smoke Signals), and Tarquin Gotch (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles).

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets left home alone at Christmas by mistake. At first, Kevin thinks it's a perfect dream. Christmas without the family... including his older brother Buzz McCallister (Devin Ratray), who teases and picks on Kevin. Cheese pizzas exactly as Kevin wants. But before long he starts to miss his family and finds himself having to protect the McCallister home from a pair of thieves Harry and Marv, who are robbing the homes of families out on Christmas vacation. Kevin sets up a series of elaborate booby-traps for the duo and sets out to save Christmas while home alone. 

Meanwhile, Kevin's parents are worried about Kevin being left home alone by himself: his mom Kate McCallister (Catherine O'Hara) and dad Peter McCallister (John Heard) are trying to get back home. Kate is especially worried and sets out to be the first one home. She tries whatever steps she can to get home to her son, including offering her personal belongings to try and get a better ticket to bring her home. She ends up finding help in the aid of a polka musician with a kind heart, Gus Polinski (John Candy), who brings her along for a road trip which will bring her back.

Home Alone is a classic family Christmas film which has managed to stay timeless. The film plays on two comedic concepts: parents going on vacation without the kids (in this case, Kevin) and a kid getting a day without their parents. Yet the spirit and meaning of the film is one which reinforces the importance of family. The film is heartfelt and the story carries the true meaning of the Christmas season.

The film is goofy and entertaining with Macaulay Culkin giving a star-making performance as Kevin McCallister. The role was one of the best ever for a child-actor and Culkin brings his all to the role. This is one of the best performances by a child actor in film history. The role is also perfectly balanced with a stunning performance by Catherine O'Hara, who provides the filmmaking a strong emotional core through her quest to get back home.

The film is quite hilarious and charming. The film has so many classic moments, including the scenes in which Kevin asks about a toothbrush he plans to buy and Kevin's trip to the grocery store.  Much of the comedy also comes from the over-the-top booby-traps created by Kevin against Marv and Harry. The comedic timing of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern was impressive. Pesci had never done a role like it before and was still excellent in the part. Stern was a scene stealer (pun intended). Both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern give excellent comedic performances.

Home Alone wouldn't be the same without the classic score composed by John Williams (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws). The film has some of the best Christmas score music around. It is simultaneously beautiful and playful with strong musical themes. Williams crafted an amazing score which is beautiful, endearing, and memorable.

The cinematography by Julio Macat (Wedding Crashers, Pitch Perfect) is beautiful. This is an impressive film visually. The colors and warmth of the filmmaking shines through well with Macat's excellent cinematography. The effort manages to convey the warmth and beauty of Christmas.

Home Alone excels with its production. The production design by John Muto (Species) is quite effective. The art direction by Dan Webster (The Huger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Life of Pi) works well. The costumes by Jay Hurley (Home Alone 2, Jingle All the Way) are effective for the film and the Christmas season. The production team for Home Alone helped make it a film which comes together beautifully.

One of the main reasons Home Alone is a Christmas classic is the writing. The film was written by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off). Home Alone is a well-written classic that is both witty and emotionally rich. The storytelling is superb and it balances the filmmaking by focusing on both the importance of family and Christmas while keeping the hilarity and entertainment-factor high.

The film was directed by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). Home Alone is so well realized by Columbus, who is one of the best director's in Hollywood at working with child actors. Columbus brings forth great work from not only Macaulay Culkin but also the rest of the large cast of supporting child actors who are staying with the McCallister's before setting off to France for Christmas vacation. The filmmaking is entertaining and emotionally-rich at the same time. Home Alone is one of the greatest Christmas films ever made.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Home Alone arrives on Blu-ray (again!) from 20th Century Fox but this time the film has received a stunning 4K restoration which is near-perfection. The film has never looked so incredible before on home media. The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer is beautiful. Everything about this presentation shines. The film's color reproduction is superb. The film presentation is wonderfully filmic with fine film grain left intact. Clarity is excellent. This is definitely an impressive 4K remastered version which easily upgrades the previously-released edition.

Audio:

Home Alone sounds beautiful with a strong 24-bit 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio presentation. The best thing about the audio presentation is the lush clarity of the score by composer John Williams. The music sounds wonderful with excellent fidelity. The film's dialogue reproduction is excellent as well. This is a strong surround sound presentation.


Extras:

The Home Alone: 25th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Set contains the entire film series in one collectible package celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Home Alone. In addition to the newly remastered 4K presentation of the original Home Alone, the set contains the previously released Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray and the DVD's of Home Alone 3, 4, and 5. DVD editions of Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are also included in the package. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 come with Digital HD UV codes.

Unlike Home Alone, the rest of the films in the set are all the same previously-released editions and are simply repackaged. The only film with a new presentation is the original Home Alone.

The set comes packaged in a collectible paint-can tin with art from the original Home Alone and bonus collectibles centered around the first film: a plastic Home Alone ornament, Kevin's Battle Plan reproduction poster, The Wet Bandits reproduction wanted poster, and a plastic fake spider.

Home Alone also contains a number of supplemental features:

Audio Commentary by Director Chris Columbus and star Macaulay Culkin

1990 Press Featurette (4 min.) is a short featurette with interviews promoting the film's release.

The Making of Home Alone (19 min.) is a longer behind-the-scenes making-of featurette with interviews with the cast and crew (including director Chris Columbus, actor Macaulay Culkin, director of photography Julio Macat, and more). The writing of John Hughes is also discussed.

Mac Cam: Behind the Scenes with Macaulay Culkin (5 min.) is a short behind-the-scenes piece with footage taken by Macaulay Culkin during the making of the film.

How to Burglar Proof Your Home: The Stunts of Home Alone (7 min.) is a brief featurette about the elaborate stunts designed  for the film and how they were executed.

Home Alone Around the World (4 min.) showcases brief selections of dubbed audio versions of Home Alone from "around the world".

Where's Buzz Now? (3 min.) is a brief piece about where Kevin's older brother Buzz might be today.

Angels with Filthy Souls (2 min.) is about the "film within-the-film" which Kevin watches in Home Alone.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (17 min.)

Blooper Reel (2 min.)

Theatrical Trailers

Final Thoughts:

Home Alone remains an essential holiday classic. This is a wonderful Christmas film which features a strong script by John Hughes, excellent direction by Chris Columbus, and great performances by the entire cast. Macaulay Culkin was perfect as Kevin McCallister. The performance holds up as one of the best ever by a child actor.

Home Alone has received a beautiful new 4K restoration for this re-release. The other films included in the 25th Anniversary set are the same previously-released editions. The bonus collectibles seemed poorly made but the tin may entice a few fans.

The new 4K restoration is the best selling point. Luckily, fans of Home Alone can purchase either this new 25th Anniversary set edition (if the entire film series is wanted as a bonus) or purchase the standalone reissue with the new 4K remastered edition of the original classic. The new 4K presentation of Home Alone is essential for fans wanting to see the film with the best possible presentation quality.

Recommended.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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