The Griswald's plan to have Christmas at their house, but of course everything goes wrong in every possible way.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Directors: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Producers: John Hughes
Writers: John Hughes
Features: Commentary by Cast and crew, Trailer
Clark Griswald - Chevy Chase
Ellen Griswald - Beverly D'Angelo
Cousin Eddie - Randy Quaid
I have always liked the Vacation films and have always been a fan of Chevy Chase. This is the third film in the series and my personal favorite. The light plot involves Chase desperately waiting for that big X-Mas bonus and when he does not get it right away he starts to worry, but this leads to a suprise at the end of the film that I won't spoil here.
The kids in all of the Vacation films sometimes change. This may be a problem to most people, but it does not bother me at all. I enjoy it more for Chase and Quaid. The kids never did have the biggest parts to begin with. Quaid does return in this film as Cousin Eddie. For some odd reason he was not in "European Vacation", but here he has a lot to work with, but most is improve I'm sure.
The pacing of this film is also a lot quicker than the previous films, but that is largely, because it does not require a big plot or destination to drive it. The majority of the film takes place in the Griswald's house. Overall, I enjoyed "Christmas Vacation" quite a bit. It really gets you in the mood for Christmas and has enough laughs along with heart to offer an enjoyable experience.
This is the second time this film has come to DVD, but other than the new transfer and it being widescreen as oppposed to standard, there is not much else here. The new Widescreen transfer is quite nice, but not as good as it could have been. The colors are all accurate and the print used is clean. The only flaws come in terms of grain. There is a decent amount of grain throughout several scenes, but nothing too distracting. Overall, a nice new transfer.
The Audio here is Dolby 2.0 and that being said don't expect much out of the rear speakers. Dialog is clean and crisp, but could be a bit brouder. This is certainly not a disk you want to show off your system with, but it is as good as it needs to be.
The extras are where this disk falls apart though it is widescreen and the first edition wasn't. Labeled as a "Special Edition" And being a second release, I expected so much more. All we get here is a Commentary Track from the main Cast and Crew. I did not learn much from this track at all. Mostly they discuss how great and talented everyone involved was. They do throw in a few useful hints, but nothing worth listening to more than once. Oddly missing from the track is Chase. I guess he is just so busy making movies, that he did not have time. (Yeh Right!) Rounding out this so called "Special Edition" is the film's trailer. Why Warner would not think twice before giving us some good stuff here is beyond me, but at least the film stands on its own. If I can recall the first DVD release did include four trailers and some Production Notes. Why those were not carried over to this disk is a mystery.
NOTE* My copy came with a Christmas Ornament attached to the package. I am not sure if this is an exclusive to any certain store, but I thought I'd mention it here. It's nothing worth going crazy over, but I would rather have it than not.