Fox // 1992 // 120 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // November 2nd, 2009
"The adventure is even funnier on Blu-Ray!"
Many things can be said about high definition media, but I'm a little suspicious about claims that it makes films funnier. This is especially true of films that feature Tim Curry and Rob Schneider in the same scene. Still, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on Blu-Ray does look and sound a bit better than the DVD.
Through a genuinely ridiculous series of circumstances, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin, Saved!) is left without his family for a second year in a row. This time, however, he isn't at home: he is alone in the big city of New York. Fear not, though, because everything else is the same as last time around, from the wet bandits to the Rube-Goldberg inspired shenanigans. The whole cast is back for another easy holiday paycheck, including Joe Pesci (Casino) and Daniel Stern (Whip it).
While the first Home Alone film remains a touching and slightly edgy family holiday comedy, not enough changed in the formula to make Home Alone 2: Lost in New York stand out. The whole film has its elbow in our ribs, reminding us that things are happening just like they did the first time. The plot has to go through wild contortions just to set up the new scenario, and all for the exact same payoff we get the first time around. It's the same jokes, the same setups, the same pratfalls. Kids will enjoy it, of course, but there's something to be said about a good dose of originality.
To be fair, the abandoned house battle does take the action up a notch from the original, which is what we all came for anyway. Kevin is better at booby trapping than Rambo, and the results of these pranks even push the boundaries of the PG rating. It's a long 75 minutes waiting to get there, though. The whole situation at the hotel in the first half of the film simply exists to bring Kevin's parents to New York, and the parents' arrival exists simply to bring a close to the hotel side plot. It's all just a way to squeeze in a few more Christmas songs and celebrity cameos.
Really, though, what matters here is the quality of the Blu-Ray release. Is it worth the upgrade from DVD? The video transfer certainly looks better than DVD can, but close inspection reveals a lot of digital grain and a lack of shadow detail. I don't think this transfer has come from anything close to the original source material. The sound is a bit better, but a DTS-HD track seems like a bit of overkill for a film originally mixed in stereo. Nothing stands out or fills the soundstage here. If your family has a good system and a lot of love for the Home Alone series, it is probably worth the upgrade. For everyone else, I'd say stick with what you have. There are no special features.
I hate to be a grinchy scrooge, but Home Alone 2: Lost in New York simply isn't as good as the film that came before it. Despite the presence of John Hughes and Christopher Columbus on the production team, this overblown sequel stumbles over the finish line about a half-an-hour late. Even a decent transfer can't make the movie any shorter -- or funnier.
Guilty of some serious holiday greed.
Review content copyright © 2009 Joel Pearce; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Official Site