This is my house - I have to defend it!
My copy of the recently released R1 US special edition (sorry, “Family Fun Edition”) of Home Alone arrived this morning. If you’ve been reading this site for an extended period of time, then you’ve probably read at least one of my rants about the appalling picture quality of the previous bare-bones release of the film. Home Alone is probably my all-time favourite Christmas movie, and I’m not ashamed to say that. Growing up, it was always a huge part of the festive season for me, and, despite knowing every single line by heart, it never gets old. As you can probably imagine, I was absolutely elated to hear that Fox were finally bringing this classic out of the vault and giving it the full-on special edition treatment.
You know how these posts of mine usually go, don’t you? Bla bla bla, I was so looking forward to this, bla bla bla. What usually comes next is the “What a phenomenal disappointment” rant… so here it comes.
Just kidding. I’m actually very pleased with this DVD. It’s not perfect, by any means: a considerable amount of temporal noise reduction has been applied to the image, and, like most of the Fox DVDs I own, it looks rather soft (some of which may be a result of the original photography, but at least some of which is the result of digital tomfoolery). Still, when all said and done, it could have looked considerably worse, and I don’t need to tell you that it’s a vast improvement on the yellowy, smeary, artefact-ridden disaster that was its predecessor.
The extras are all of a high standard, and, unusually, myself and Lyris, who generally doesn’t rate extras particularly highly, actually made our way through the entire contents of the disc without getting bored. Writer John Hughes, who supposedly banged out the script over the course of a weekend, is nowhere to be found, but director Chris Columbus, actors Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern, and a variety of crew members, are all over the bonus features, which include a neat little retrospective documentary as well as some archive materials from the time of the film’s original production and release. Also included are a variety of deleted scenes, many of which are a hoot, and the contents of which actually made it into the novelisation I read when I was about eight years old. Finally, there’s a great commentary with Columbus and Culkin, who gently take the piss out of the film and themselves, and provide a great deal of informative and fun anecdotes about the production.
I’m very surprised to find myself saying this, but this is actually one of the best DVD releases I’ve come across this year. Okay, so it’s not exactly a multi-disc epic with seamless branching and a DTS-ES audio track, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and provides you with just about everything you could want for this film. With this, the special edition of The Omen and the extended cut of Kingdom of Heaven, Fox have certainly been releasing some decent packages recently. Let’s hope we can eventually convince them to jump aboard the HD DVD wagon!