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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
    Reviewer

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    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Blu-ray)

    Directed by Chris Columbus

    Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
    Year: 1992
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 120 minutes
    Rating: PG
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround English, French; 2.0 stereo Spanish
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 34.99

    Release Date: October 6, 2009
    Review Date: October 17, 2009
     
     
    The Film
    2.5/5
     
    Fashioning sequels to hit movies can go one of two ways. The filmmakers can either take the original material and enhance it with deeper, more meaningful ideas, characterizations, or motifs thus producing a movie that’s superior to its parent film (think The Godfather Part II, Aliens, or Toy Story 2), or they can take the original material and regurgitate it in a new package (which is what most sequels inevitably do). Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is the poster child for unnecessary sequels. The original production team and actors basically redo their shtick in a different location that nevertheless feels almost entirely the same. It feels entirely unnecessary, too. For the few laughs the film generates, the sense of déjà vu is so prominent that even those chuckles don’t spring from anything novel on the screen but rather the anticipation of reliving that sense of freshness and fun the first film had that this one vainly tries (and mostly fails) to recapture.
     
    Once again the McCallister family, in its haste to make a last minute airplane connection to Miami Beach, leave youngest child Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) behind in the airport. He mistakenly gets on a plane to New York City where, armed with some cash and his father’s credit card, manages to have a pretty sweet vacation for himself. Sweet, that is, until he runs into escaped “Wet Bandits” Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) who are planning to rob New York’s largest toy store after hours. Kevin sets up a series of booby traps at his uncle’s apartment which is being renovated, interrupts the crooks in mid-robbery, and lures them into his lair of pain and punishment where the chaos of the original film is repeated.
     
    John Hughes wrote and produced and Chris Columbus directed both the original film and this sequel, and the two men have delivered a near mirror image of the original movie with this new one. Sure, there are variations in setting, Kevin befriends a lonely bird lady instead of a lonely snow shoveler, and the second film is nearly half an hour longer than its predecessor. But in every other respect, Kevin’s battles against authority figures like the Plaza hotel staff (instead of an imperious neighbor) and the two bumbling burglars constitutes nothing bright or innovative. The extra length actually works against the film since it’s almost an hour before the adversaries come face-to-face on the streets of New York (how coincidental is that?) and then another thirty minutes before the mayhem begins for them. That makes for a lot of space to fill with uninteresting segues with Kevin’s enormous room service supper of sweets, the lengthy encounter with the pigeon lady (Brenda Fricker), but one short, lovely moment with toy store owner Mr. Duncan (Eddie Bracken). We walk around many portions of Central Park, Chinatown, and Rockefeller Center to get a good feel for the city, but it seems to take an enormous amount of time to get to the film’s raison d’etre: the assaults on the imbeciles.
     
    Two years older than in the last film Macaulay Culkin isn’t as naturally precocious or adorable here, and he seems less invested in what’s going on in the movie. His line readings are flat, and he seems much more mechanical than in the first picture. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern mug and grimace appropriately as the brainless bandits while Tim Curry gets to plot deviously and then squirm unmercifully as the Plaza’s suspicious concierge. Rob Schneider, Ally Sheedy, and even Donald Trump have some forgettable bits in the film though John Heard and Catherine O’Hara pretty much go through their same bag of tricks as the befuddled parents. Brenda Fricker’s face may be dirty, but she appears rather too hale and hearty for believability as a street lady.
     
     
    Video Quality
    3.5/5
     
    The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in 1080p using the AVC codec. Inconsistency is the word of the day in terms of this transfer with almost every element running the gamut from very good to mediocre. Sharpness is often striking but sometimes a bit soft. Color can be rich with hues well saturated, but there is some occasional noise especially in the reds. Black levels are variable but more often good than not. Flesh tones seem to swing wildly from natural to overly red and blooming. The image is mostly clean, but there are stray white specks from time to time. The film has been divided into 29 chapters.
     
     
    Audio Quality
    3.5/5
     
    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix doesn’t have much to offer the rear channels with most of the sound activity being directed to the fronts. John Williams’ score could have been much better orchestrated throughout the soundfield for a greater impact, but such is not the case here. There are a few ambient sounds in the rears, and the LFE channel kicks in during a few of the more painful booby trap outcomes for the hapless victims.
     
     
    Special Features
    1/5
     
    The disc offers three trailers, one for each of the Home Alone franchise. The original film’s trailer is in 1080p and runs for 2 ¼ minutes (though its quality is decidedly poor). The other two films are given what appears to be TV spots in 480i resolution and 4:3 aspect ratios. Home Alone 2 lasts 1 ¼ minutes while Home Alone 3 runs 1 ½ minutes.
     
     
    In Conclusion
    2.5/5 (not an average)
     
    If the original Home Alone left you wanting more of the same, you should find Home Alone 2: Lost in New York exactly what the doctor ordered: a rehash of the original film with bigger, dirtier ambushes on display. The Blu-ray release is light on bonuses and features video and audio quality that is a mild step-up from the DVD counterpart.
     
     
    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC
     
  2. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    Viewed the blu-ray last week and I can't help feeling that Home Alone 2 would have looked much better with less compression if authored on a BD 50 disc rather than the BD 25 used. Home Alone was authored on BD 50 and had a much more pleasing overall look, IMO.

    Also, I had the feeling that the excessive copious amount of unnatural grain look (viewed: projected on a 110" screen), from compression or what, -overall- on this disc gave me the impression that Home Alone 2 was much more aged than the first Home Alone blu-ray disc release.

    Paul
     
  3. Viper

    Viper Well-Known Member

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    grain? as in extra grain compared to the SD? I dunno what's worse, grain or keeping the matted SD. :(
     
  4. Tommy R

    Tommy R Well-Known Member

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    Just got the blu ray pack that included the first one. Now, am I crazy, or was Home Alone 2 shot in 2.35 and not 1.85? And the picture quality is by FAR the worst Blu-ray I've seen thus far. Though I only own about 30 or so titles so far, so maybe there's more bad tranfers out there than I have come across? All blu ray's I've bought up to now have looked pretty great.
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Well-Known Member

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    It was not shot in 2.35. I watched both Blu-Rays last year, don't remember them being awful.
     
  6. Tommy R

    Tommy R Well-Known Member

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    That's weird, I could've swore I had an old LaserDisc that presents the movie in 2.35.
     
  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Well-Known Member

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    I've seen it on laserdisc too, it's 1.85. Maybe you had a widescreen TV on stretch mode? ;)
     
  8. Tommy R

    Tommy R Well-Known Member

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    Probably, I'm not big on the tech stuff though, so I don't always kno how to fix some settings. lol
     

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