Plot: What’s it about?
The McAllister family is about to embark on an epic holiday journey, one that will have them spending Christmas in another land. The home is filled with relatives of all kinds, including young Kevin (Macauley Culkin), who seems to be lost in the masses. He is looked down upon by the other children and is a thorn in the side of the adults, so he is always in trouble. When he goes too far the night before departure, he is sentenced to the attic, to spend the night alone. Then when everyone wakes up, the alarms failed and the rush is on, with very little time to make it to the airport. A headcount is done, but a neighbor’s kid manages to stand in for a moment, while Kevin remains asleep upstairs. Soon enough, the family is in the air and meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to realize he is alone in the house. He isn’t scared however, instead he rejoices and breaks all the rules, doing whatever he wants in his solo status. But his joy soon turns to dread, when some thieves target his house and he knows he must defend his family’s home. The bandits assume that Kevin will be no problem, but little do they know how resourceful the youngster can be. Even if Kevin can hold them off for a while, can he keep himself safe until his family returns to protect him?
This is one of those movies that we all know isn’t a great movie, with impossible logic gaps and what not, but Home Alone is still a fun movie. Of course, the real draw is to see two men punished with immense physical pain, but hey, the entire flick is pretty fun. I never would have thought we’d see Joe Pesci in a role like this, but he adds a lot to the experience. He brings a sense of important to the movie, even as his head is singed and he dodges cans of paint. Daniel Stern goes all out in his role also, a perfect pincushion for the abuse he is forced to endure throughout. But this one belongs to Macauley Culkin, who became a star with his performance and seemed destined for superstardom. We all know he never achieved that potential, but his work here is quite good and he anchors the film well. As far as all the family melodrama, it is here in liberal doses, but the message isn’t hammered in, so it doesn’t dampen the fun. This is just a fun movie, one to turn off your brain and just enjoy, especially around the holiday season. If you’ve ever wanted a cheese pizza all to yourself, Home Alone is the kind of movie you’ll have a real connection with. Fox’s Family Fun Edition gives us a new transfer and some new extras, so fans will want to upgrade, no doubt.
Video: How does it look?
Home Alone is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is anamorphic this time around, which is great news. I wouldn’t say the difference is drastic, but the image is a little more refined and any improvement is better than none. The film is sixteen years old however, so there is some slight wear to be seen, but nothing too serious. The movie also has a soft presence, but this was true of every version I have ever seen, even theatrical prints. So there is some softness, but that is part of the visual design, so no need to be concerned in the least. In addition to improved detail levels, this new transfer also sports sharper colors, while contrast remains about the same as before. This new transfer might not be a huge upgrade, but the movie looks better and fans will want to own this enhanced edition.
Audio: How does it sound?
This movie isn’t all out action, but there is a good deal of it, so the Dolby Digital 5.1 option has to be active and immersive. A good mix, with the quiet criminals sneaking around, and then being bombarded by some trap, the audio takes a big role in the feel of the movie. The dialogue levels are very high, as are the music/effects. The music never interferes with the speaking, and every word is clear and audible. So in other words, the soundtrack is loud when it needs to be and more subtle when that is called for. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, French and Spanish language tracks, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary track is up first, as director Chris Columbus and star Macauley Culkin sit down to talk about the production. The session turns out to be a very informative one, as the two share a lot of behind the scenes insight. This isn’t technical information, but more like fun trivia and the track is brisk, so this is a great overall session. A number of featurettes can be also found, the most substantial of which is a twenty minute general look behind the scenes. Other featurettes show us Home Alone in other languages, a close up look at the traps from the movie, an update on Buzz, some footage taken by Culkin during the production, and a brief promotional piece. This disc also includes a few interactive games, a reel of outtakes, and fifteen deleted and alternate scenes.