DVD Review: Home Alone - Family Fun Edition
Release Date: November 21, 2006
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
· Chris Columbus
· Macauley Culkin
· Joe Pesci
· Daniel Stern
· Catherine O'Hara
· IMDb: Home Alone
by R.J. Carter
Published: November 25, 2006
Who would have thought that, after sixteen years, a blockbuster holiday film made on a shoestring budget, would become an enduring mainstay of the Christmas holiday season?
Which means, of course, there's not much that can be said in a review that the average viewer doesn't already know? Young Kevin gets left alone in the rush when his family goes on a vacation to Paris over the holidays. Mix in a pair of less-than-brilliant burglars, throw in a Rube Goldbergian maze of pain right out of the mind of The Three Stooges, and you've got a kids wish fulfillment fantasy that guarantees the laughs.
The "Family Fun Edition" of this DVD release of one of John Hughes' more memorable productions thus relies on the bonus features to push the sales. To begin with, there is a new commentary track with Director Chris Columbus ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") and, the star of our show, an all-grown-up Macauley Culkin. You'll get some interesting insights into the film -- including special effects, stunts, and plot -- as these two chime in on how air travel has changed since 9/11, and how the proliferation of cell phones would have obviated the whole core of this plot right away if they'd tried to shoot it today. We learn that the legendary John Williams was not the composer originally chosen, and that (House Stalker Alert!) the original house used in the film is in Winnetka, Illinois. And the special effects were, apparently, purchased at literally bargain basement prices, being done by a gentleman just starting out in the trade and, at the time, living in his mother's basement!
AAAHHH!: Realization sets in on Kevin (Macauley Culkin) that
he's been left "Home Alone".
(c) 1990 20th Century Fox
Moving on to the Special Features menu, the viewer will find quite an array of featurettes and activities. There's the "Mac Cam: Behind the Scenes with Macauley Culkin" where we see shots taken by young Mac with a camcorder, with commentary provided by grown-up Mac. This is slightly less than five minutes. There's a nearly four-minute featurette shot in 1990 done to promote the film's release, a seven-minute look inside how the stunts were performed called "How to Burglar-Proof Your Home: The Stunts of 'Home Alone'", and another four-minute segment called "'Home Alone' Around the World" where you'll see clips redubbed in languages other than English.
The most meaty of these special features is the DVD standard, "The Making Of..." mini documentary, weighing in at about twenty minutes. But by the time you've gone through the others, there's not a whole lot of new stuff to see here. Although it's not a disappointing feature -- not like the rather useless "Where's Buzz Now?", which is three minutes of the crew conjecturing where Buzz -- the fictional character -- is fifteen years later.
Two minutes of bloopers, two minutes of the film-within-a-film "Angels with Filthy Souls", and sixteen-and-a-half minutes of deleted and alternate scenes (fifteen in all) round out the rest of the documentary bits. Which leads us to the digital arcade.
There are three games here, and they all rely on your memory of the film. In "Battle Plan", you see the burglar's footprints walk around Kevin's map of the house. When they stop in a certain area, you have to remember what trap Kevin planted there to trick them. Correct answers are rewarded with a clip of the event. "Trivia Quiz" is eighteen questions, some of which are based on still shots or clips shown before the question, which could be as simple as "What was Kevin holding?" to "What color was the pizza guy's hat?" Taking this to the extreme is "Head Count", where some of the faster and busier scenes are shot across the screen, followed by questions like "How many females were running into the kitchen?" As games go, I've seen more inventive uses of DVD technology.
Audio on this disc can be set to English (in either Dolby Surround or 5.1 Dolby Surround) Spanish Dolby Surround, or French Dolby Surround, with optional subtitling in English and Spanish.