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Blu-Ray Review: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector’s Edition’

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CHICAGO – Does the fact that “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is receiving a lavish 20th anniversary edition Blu-Ray release make anyone else feel old? Just me? Whether you’re old enough to remember the first “Vacation” or young enough to know Chevy Chase as “that old guy on Community,” this is a lavish collector’s set for a great holiday film timed for holiday shopping.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Warner Home Video has begun an interesting trend of making Blu-Ray sets for their most beloved films that almost feel more about the collectibles than the movie itself. In some cases (“Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” “The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Edition”), the disc itself includes enough bonus material and a lovingly remastered picture that the collectibles appropriately feel like a companion instead of the main draw. Such is not the case with the set for “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” as the film itself practically feels like an afterthought.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector's Edition was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 3rd, 2009.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector’s Edition was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 3rd, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

The standard package for the Blu-Ray of “Christmas Vacation” comes housed in a very-not-standard collectible gift tin, which I suppose you could fill with Christmas cookies this holiday season if you wanted to look truly dorky.

Within the tin, fans will find a replica of Clark Griswold’s holiday Santa hat, a set of holiday themed drink coasters with memorable quotes from the film, a box of faux snow, an “I Survived a Griswold Family Christmas” button,” and a collectible Moose figurine (which is exclusive to Blu-Ray). Oh, and the actual movie.

If you haven’t seen “Christmas Vacation,” it basically centers around patriarch Clark Griswold’s (Chase) desperate attempts to constantly keep his family happy around a holiday instead of a trip to Wally World (as in “Vacation”) or a trip overseas (as in “European Vacation”). More of a family film than the first two Griswold adventures, “Christmas Vacation” has become a modern comedy classic of the genre that plays on cable every season and basically stands as Chase’s last good movie.

The Blu-Ray for “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is presented in 1080p High Definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and, surprisingly, accompanied by only a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The special features are shockingly light with just a theatrical trailer and a commentary track by Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, Miriam Flynn, Director Jeremiah Chechik, and Producer Matty Simmons. Where’s Chase? Where’s the retrospective look back at the film 20 years later? Maybe those will be on the 25th super-duper-mega-ultimate collector’s edition. Save space on your shelf.

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Johnny Galecki, Diane Ladd, Juliette Lewis, and Julia-Louis Dreyfus. It was written by John Hughes and directed by Jeremiah Chechik. The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 3rd, 2009. It is rated PG.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

Another cheap re-release for profit

I love the movie as much as anyone could. But what I dont love is the crap releases we have been seeing for the past several years. ANy Greatest American Hero fan out there know what I am talking about. You usually end up with a stripped down version. In the case of “Vacation” you end up with a cheap ploy to make a profit. Obviously no one over there cares about what people actually want. If they did, they would have paid Chase any amount to get him on the commentary. And for me personally. I will NEVER buy a re-release if it doesnt include a MAKING OF.

Anonymous's picture

ANy Greatest American Hero

Any Greatest American Hero fan out there know what I am talking about. You usually end up with a stripped down version. In the case of “Vacation” you end up with a cheap ploy to make a profit. Obviously no one over there cares about what people actually want.

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