Home Alone Double Feature (Blu-ray + Digital HD) (Target Exclusive)- Fox


Is this Home Alone double feature the final word on the Home Alone films?

Blu-ray + Digital HD

Released by: 20th Century Fox

Release Date: November 16th, 1990 (Home Alone Theatrical)
                        Novmeber 20th, 1992 (Home Alone 2 Theatrical)

Region Code REGION FREE

Run Time: 1h 43m (Home Alone)
                   2h 0m (Home Alone 2)

Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Home Alone 1&2)
             English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Home Alone 1&2
             French: DTS 5.1 (Home Alone)
             Spanish: DTS 5.1 (Home Alone)
             Portuguese: DTS 5.1 (Home Alone)
             Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Home Alone)
             French: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Home Alone 2)

             Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Home Alone 2)

Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio) (Home Alone 1&2)



Home Alone (1990)

THE FEATURES [2.5 out of 4]

1990 Press Featurette (3m 52s, SD)

This is just what you think it is. This is a short piece that was put together to sell the film to theaters and video stores. The whole thing consists of behind the scene footage and interviews.

The Making of Home Alone (19m 24s, SD, 1.85:1, 4x3)

The rest of the features on this disc come directly from the special edition dvd that was released in 2006. Here we get a nice, but not too deep, look at the making of the film. Macaulay Culkin, director Chris Columbus, Daniel Stern, and a few others are on hand to tell stories and to fawn over the script that John Hughes wrote.

One thing that I learned from this is that the character of Marley was not in the script and Columbus felt that the film needed some heart, so they added the character. Not too much here, but it’s an ok featurette.

Mac Cam: Behind the Scenes with Macaulay Caulkin (4m 46s. SD, 1.33:1)

Culkin had access to a camcorder during filming and would go around recording everything. We are given a taste of what Culkin recorded.

I wish that Culkin had gotten some footage of Pesci. That would have been worth the price of this blu-ray alone. Sadly, he didn’t.


How to Burglar-Proof Your Home: The Stunts of Home Alone (7m 33s, SD,)

Here the stunt team talks about their work on the film. The team was having a bit of a problem finding their groove with the stunts until stuntman Troy Brown came up with the “Home Alone Fall” which was the hard fall to the ground with the feet in the air. Then it became a contest between stuntmen on who could do the best fall.

The stunts in Home Alone are amazing and it was nice to see how some of it was done.

Home Alone Around the World (3m 52s, SD)

Because the film was such a big hit around the world it was translated into many different languages. 
Here we are given a few scenes and their translations into other languages.

It’s a cute little piece, but nothing special especially with language options on dvds and blu-rays.

Where’s Buzz Now? (3m 2s, SD)

Some of the cast and crew give their theories about where and what Home Alone’s resident ass would be doing now. Waste of time.

Angels with Filthy Souls (2m 5s, SD, 1.85:1 4x3) 

The black and white gangster film that causes so much havoc is shown in its entirety. Kind of pointless since we see the whole thing during the course of the film.


Deleted/Alternate Scenes (16m 46s, SD, 1.85:1 4x3)

Here we have 15 scenes that were shortened or deleted all together. All of them were rightfully cut.

-Silent Treatment
-Buzz Off
-Frank’s Yank
-Undercover Crook
-Criminal Decency
-Hungry Alone
-Final Judgement
-Close Encounters of the Marley Kind
-Hello…Goodbye
-Do You Speak French?
-A Very Harry Christmas
-Marv’s Christmas Coffee
-Sleepless in Paris
-A Savvy Shopper
-Christmas is About…

Blooper Reel (2m 3s, SD)

Missed lines, laughing, and other tomfoolery.

Commentary with Director Chris Columbus and Star Macaulay Culkin

The director and star sit down to give us a scene specific track that provides with some good stories. I found the stories about Joe Pesci to be the most interesting ones, but there are a lot of others to be found.

Trailers

-Theatrical Trailer #1 (2m 12s, HD)

Contains some scenes that are not in the final film or found anywhere else on this disc.

-Theatrical Trailer #2 (1m 51s, SD, 1.33:1)

-Theatrical Trailer #3 (1m 4s, SD, 1.33:1)

A Christmas song was created to sell the film and it is played here. There is even a little house that bounces on the words so that you can follow along.

Also included is a slip that contains a code that will net you a digital copy of both films.


THE PICTURE [4 out of 4]

Fox has taken their classic and given it an upgrade with the transfer mastered in 4k. We have been seeing a lot of 4k transfers of older films because of the UHD format and I gotta tell you: this one is really good. Gone are the murky earth colors that plagued other releases of this film and in their place is a more film-like experience.

When this film was released in 1990, I saw it many times in the theater. My mother took everyone she knew to see the film (which included me as I was here son) and when it came to the local dollar show (remember those?) I was there to see it a few more times. I have seen this film more times, in the theater, than any rational human should have to see, so I know what this film looks like and I will say that this is the closest this film has ever been to the theater experience.

There is a fine grain to be found here, but it isn’t heavy so the grain haters can rest easy.

I am really happy with the way the film looks with this new transfer. I wish that every film could afford the love and care that Fox lavished on to Home Alone.

THE SOUND [3.5 Out of 4]

Keeping up with the lovely transfer, Fox has given Home Alone a nice overhaul in the sound department as well. Sporting a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, we get to hear that lovely John 
Williams score in the most lush of settings. The clarity of the music makes the film a treat to sit 
through, if only for the score. The rest of the track is equally good, with the surrounds being utilized well and the dialogue being crisp and clear. This is another winner for fans of Home Alone.

THE FILM [3 out of 4]

Home Alone was a cultural phenomenon. It opened #1 at the box office and stayed there for three months.  It would go on to play in theaters until mid-June. Now I would believe that the film was a hit during the holidays, but the fact that the film was in theaters until the summer was a shocker to me. But you have to realize that back then a film didn’t have to make all its money in its opening weekend to be a hit. The Force Awakens stayed at #1 for four weeks, but made most of its money during that time. While Home Alone was still in theaters in April, The Force Awakens had already been released on dvd and blu-ray.


Anyone born after the turn of the millennium will not know what it is like to see a film still in theaters long after the hype has died down. But that is what Home Alone did.
It also struck a nerve with audiences all over the world. People turned out in droves to see this spunky ten year old kid (he’s eight in the film) fight to not only keep his home safe from burglars, but to conquer his own fears.

That is one of the main focuses of the film: fear. We all fear the unknown and Kevin has a lot of fears. Some of them are kind of shallow (he wants to find out whether the toothbrush that he plans on buying is approved by the American Dental Association) to huge (the dark, scary basement with the furnace that looks like a monster). We have all had some of the fears that Kevin has to endure throughout the film and we overcome them just like he does.

The film also has a lot of heart. Throughout the film, the filmmakers try to show that Kevin and his mother have a link. I know that it sounds crazy, but I am not trying to say that they have a psychic link, which would have made the film that much better. I am trying to say that there is a link that mothers have with their kids and Kevin has one with his mother. She can sense that they forgot to do or bring something, but she can’t figure out what it is.

When she finally figures out that they left Kevin at home all by himself, she does everything in her power to get back home. Only a mother would do this for their sons. Fathers will do anything for their daughters, but mothers go for the boys. Kevin’s mother gives practically everything that she has on her (money, jewelry, etc) to a couple just so that she can get on a plane to get home. She even accepts a ride from a polka band, headed by the always funny and sorely missed John Candy, so that she can get home as fast as she can.


The film mostly centers around Kevin and Macaulay Culkin is great in the role. He comes off as a truly nice kid and the scenes where he gets made at his family don’t come off that well. I remembering being kind of worried that Culkin wouldn’t be able to carry the film after seeing these initial scene, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that he could carry the whole film. Kevin has to be an adult for a few days and pulls it off effortlessly.

Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci as the two burglars are highlights as well. You would think that Pesci, known for playing a tough guy in films like Raging Bull and Once Upon a Time in America, would not take a role like this because it is beneath him, but Pesci did and he is great as Marv, the “brains” of the two. Watching Pesci NOT curse is just as entertaining as him ACTUALLY curse.
Stern is funny as Harry, the more dimwitted one, but Stern doesn’t really have anything funny to do until the big raid on the house later in the film. Once Stern and Pesci attack the house, Stern turns on the funny lets it roll.

Everyone remembers the scene where Kevin protects his house with elaborate traps, but that is only about 15 to 20 minutes of the film and that is at the climax. Sure, the burglars try to enter the house earlier, but they are shooed away quickly. The storming of the house is much later in the film and isn’t all that long, but these scenes are so memorable that it is most of what people remember.

The storming of the house is memorable for all the amazing stunt work. Pesci and Stern do some of the stunts, but it is their stunt doubles, Troy Brown and Leon Delaney, who take the biggest hits and fall the biggest falls. Watching these guys fall on stairs is wince-inducing. There is a stunt where Pesci’s character slips on some ice that is on the front stairs. Brown decided to add a flip and he lands with his back on the stairs. It is a stunt that should have paralyzed him, but he wasn’t fazed by it at all.

Home Alone is a film that is fondly remembered , but I don’t think that it is the classic that everyone remembers. The character work is well done and the stunts are truly breathtaking, but the film isn’t very funny. Culkin is charming, but he doesn’t really have the best comedic timing. There are plenty of jokes that fall flat and just because a kid is doing adult things doesn’t make anything funny.

I wanted to like the film than I did, but I don’t. The film is charming and has great heart, but the comedy isn’t very funny. I still like the film, don’t get me wrong, but I wish that the script had been worked on a bit more. Home Alone works because of the charm of Culkin and the abuse that his character makes the two burglars suffer through. It is a fondly remembered film that doesn’t hold up that well today. Worth a watch, but there are better Christmas films out there.


HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK

THE FEATURES [1 out of 4]

Home Alone Theatrical Trailer (2m 13s, HD)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Theatrical Trailer (1m 9s, SD, 1.33:1)

This is another sing-along trailer which means that this is the original theatrical trailer, but one that came out either right before the film hits theaters or right after it. Shame that the actual trailer isn’t here.

Home Alone 3 (1m 38s, SD)

I find it kind out weird that Fox would put the original theatrical trailer for the first and third Home Alone films on this disc, but not for part two.


THE PICTURE [3 Out of 4]

While the first Home Alone was given the royal treatment when it came to the A/V aspects of the film, the sequel doesn’t fare as well.

This is the original release that Fox put out around the time that blu-ray  players were hitting their stride. The picture doesn’t look all that bad, but after watching the first film with its fancy 4k sourced transfer, it pales in comparison.

Don’t get me wrong: the picture looks nice. The color palette is more realistic which means that we don’t have the sense of wonder like the first had. This also means that browns look browns and blacks look black. There are not too many bright colors that the original film had. For a film that takes place during Christmas time, the lack of bright colors is off putting. Then again, the film takes place in New York City and we all know about how that city was during 80s and 90s.

There were also a few shots, especially towards the end, that were out of focus. They weren’t completely out of focus, but it was enough for me to notice. I don’t know if this was how the film is supposed to be (sometimes these things are overlooked until it is too late) or if there was a mess up at the lab. There are also a few shots that had a yellow tint to them. At first I thought that they may be opticals, but they aren’t.

Other than that, this transfer is perfectly fine.

THE SOUND [3.5 out of 4]

This track, another 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio shindig, is equally robust and nice sounding as the first film. John Williams score again takes center stage and that is how it should be. In fact, there should be an isolated score for these films. It would be interesting to watch the film like that.

Anyways, the track is nice, but I did notice that sometimes the dialogue is a bit low. There was a point where I couldn’t hear what the characters were saying. I mean, I could hear their voices, but faintly. I checked my system and everything seems to be ok, so I don’t know what is going on.

Outside of those few times, this track is pretty impressive.


THE FILM [2 out of 4]

Home Alone 2 is the original Home Alone in every way possible: the same cast (with some additions), the same crew (writer, director, director of photographer, hell the same editor). This is the same film that Home Alone was, just a bit different.

In the first Home Alone, Kevin spent much of the film trying to live in an adult world. In Home Alone 2, he spends much of the film trying to live in a bigger adult world. In Home Alone, Kevin scammed his way around town. In Home Alone 2, he does the same thing.

Home Alone 2 is a bigger and better (some would argue that last one) remake of the first film. While the first film felt alive and breathing, Home Alone 2 is a film that is trying to stay alive, but knows that it can’t and decides to go for the gusto before terminating. This results in a film that has some really funny moments, but also has some of the dumbest moments I have ever come across.


The funny moments belong to Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, returning as the burglars who tried to kill Kevin at the end of the first film, only to be saved by a man who could really have been a killer. Their interactions are the highlight of this rather dull film.

One of the funniest scenes in the film is during the “stunt man’s paycheck scene” aka the taking of the house. This time the house belongs to Kevin’s uncle who was living in France in the first film. 
Anyways, Daniel Stern gets covered in paint and walks over to a sink to wash off his face. Kevin, being the psychopath that he is, has hooked up the faucets to a generator. When Stern turns the handle, Kevin cranks up the voltage, and Stern starts flailing about as he is being electrocuted. At one point he turns into a skeleton because why not? I laughed really hard during this scene and appreciate that Stern took what could have been a dull, lifeless scene into a very funny scene.

The rest of the film is not as funny. At one point, the hotel staff (Kevin is staying in the Grand Hotel in New York) go to confront Kevin about his “stolen” credit card. Kevin begins play a tape like he did in the last film. This time the film, called Angels with Filthier Souls”, the gangster is talking to a woman. Not that it matters. Kevin plays the tape and the hotel staff does everything that the tape says. Then the gangster in the tape starts shooting and the staff runs away.


This scene was fine in the first film because the intended victims were outside and thus they might not have been able to make out that the source was not a person but a tape. Here the hotel staff is in the other room. They should have been able to tell. It also doesn’t help that the scene is just so bad. It doesn’t even really seem like they are trying.

The biggest problem I had with the film was that everything felt forced. The parents overslept again? Yup. Kevin has a house to protect? Yup. Kevin and his mother will have a true bonding moment at the end? Yup. This is a paint by numbers film, but it doesn’t seem that the filmmakers want to use colors outside of what the instructions tell them.

The house fight at the end is bigger, but it is too big. The two burglars would have been dead about half way through this section of the film. The stunts are impressive, but they are too big and too deadly. Sure, the burglars could have been killed in the first film, but everything was more believable. Here, there are many times where the burglars fall from great heights and then, while they lie there in pain, something else comes crashing down on them.


I know what people are going to say. “It’s slapstick. It’s supposed to be like that.”  True, but this is going way too far. It becomes less and less funny the more deadly it gets. Not because we care about the burglars, but because the rules have been established and then the film says “Rules? Screw rules” and then breaks them. This makes the film completely unbelievable and thus takes us out of the film itself. At one point I was hoping that the burglars actually caught Kevin and killed him, but it would have made the film a tad dark.

Home Alone 2 wants to be the first Home Alone, but fails. All is not lost, though. Macaulay Culkin is still charming as Kevin and Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci are still the highlights of the film. Home Alone 2 is a sequel that believes that it is better than the original, so much so that it flaunts it. The problem lies in the fact that the first film is better at almost everything. The sequel is the little brother nobody pays attention to.

THE PACKAGING [3 out of 4]

Since this is a double feature, I am putting the packaging stuff here.


Fox has given us a nice package here. This is a Target Exclusive.


The first thing that you will find inside the box is a replica of the hat that Kevin wears in the film. It is a child’s hat, but it fit my big head without any problem.


Next you will find a blu-ray case containing the two films on separate blu-rays. The case is an eco-case so you are going to want to change that out for a non eco-case.

Also inside the case is a code for digital copies of both films.


All of this comes inside a big box that is the height of a blu-ray case, but is wider to support the hat.

Both discs have similar artwork and are REGION FREE.


OVERALL [3 out of 4]

Fans of the film will want this package for their collections. The hat is kind of nice, but the box is a little too big for some collectors who have limited space.

The films themselves are a mixed bad. I like the first one (with some reservations), but I am not a big fan of the second film. Fox has given the first film a nice new 4k master transfer and I love the way the film looks here. The second film has a nice transfer, but it pales in comparison to the first film’s transfer. The audio for both film is very nice. The first film also gets all of the extras, with the second film only having trailers for the two films.

I can only recommend this set to fans of the film and maybe those who want to reminisce about the two films.