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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992)
The McCallisters are rushing once again as they embark on a trip to Florida. In their haste, Kevin is separated from them and winds up on a plane bound for New York.
For more about Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray release, see Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on October 11, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Tim Curry
Director: Chris Columbus
» See full cast & crew
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray Review
“Do you guys give up? Have you had enough pain?”
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, October 11, 2009
As a 10 year old in 1992, I was the target audience for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. I remember my parents driving me and a whole van load of my cousins to the theater on the day after Christmas. I remember going back to school in January and having enraptured lunchroom discussions about which of Kevin's pranks was the coolest. And I remember pestering my mom to buy me the SNES tie-in videogame and the awesome Tiger Electronics "Talkboy" featured in the movie. It's hard to believe, then, that Home Alone 2 is now 17 years old, and that I have peers who have since shown the film to their kids. What a trip. Until today, I hadn't re-watched Home Alone 2 since the mid-1990s—on a worn-out VHS tape—but I had a good idea what to expect. Namely, to be disappointed. And yes, after finishing the film, my happy cloud of nostalgia evaporated and I was faced with the reality that Home Alone 2 is nothing more than a ridiculous and redundant cash-in on the success of the first Home Alone, which itself, in retrospect, isn't that great either. That said, I can still see why the film appealed to the 10 year-old me, but I question whether today's tweeners—weened on 300 and Grand Theft Auto IV—will have much interest in Macaulay Culkin's tame-by-comparison shenanigans.
Uh oh. It happened again. That darned McCallister family is always in such a hurry. This time, they sleep in and have to race to (and through) the airport so they can make their flight to Florida, where they plan to spend the holidays. In the shuffle, 10-year old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) boards the wrong plane, and before you can say "child neglect," the industrious Kevin has scammed his way into a luxurious suite at NYC's Plaza Hotel while his family collectively frets some 1,000 miles away. Meanwhile, the "Wet Bandits" from the first film, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci), have busted out of prison and made their way to the Big Apple to rob Duncan's Toy Chest, a toy store that donates all of their Christmas Eve proceeds to a local children's hospital. After a chance encounter with the burglars—the whole film is predicated on happenstance, by the way—Kevin decides to save the toy store and once again give the two criminals a night they'll never forget. After all, "You can mess with a lot of things," he says, "but you can't mess with kids on Christmas." Kevin lures the bungling baddies to his uncle's abandoned Brownstone, a booby-trapped domicile, and proceeds to give them what for using a variety of cartoonishly excruciating contraptions, most of which involve blunt force trauma. Said mayhem is interspersed with a sappy, unearned message about friendship and trust, by way of a sad, homeless pigeon lady (Brenda Fricker), who ends up saving the day, or eve rather, in her own literally seedy way.
Scripted and produced by Brat Pack auteur John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, who would later go on to helm the first two Harry Potter films, Home Alone 2 was made by people who should've known better than to simply recast the same basic plot of the first movie in a different location. It seems obvious, but the original Home Alone at least somewhat worked because Kevin was home alone. It seems more plausible—slightly—to have a kid defending his own turf than to have him taking charge and tricking adults in one of the world's largest cities. Then again, this is a film where a guy gets hit in the face with four bricks tossed from the roof of a three-story building—and walks it off—so it's clear that plausibility isn't a motivating factor in the script. I'm willing to grant the film some leeway regarding physics and how much pummeling a human body can take before succumbing, but what I can't forgive is how coincidental it all seems. A tidy sequence of interlinked events just happens to reunite Kevin with the home-invaders from the first film, all so that Kevin can once again go to absurd and impractical lengths to give them their painful just deserts. Of course, none of this matter if you only care—like most kids—about seeing slapstick sight-gags and a Looney Toons level of insanity. In that case, have I got a show for you! Noggins get clocked by paint cans and cast-iron pipe, faces are gooped with paint, slime, oil, and feathers, and the two criminals end up falling on their backs just as often as Macaulay Culkin stands surprised, his mouth agape. Which is, in case you've never seen either film, staggeringly often.
"The Culk," as I like to call him, was a child star on par with Shirley Temple back in the mid- 1990s, and Home Alone 2 is a perfect showcase for just how smarmy he could be. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are much more entertaining, even if they solely exist to be human crash test dummies here. Pesci is like a more explosive Moe from The Three Stooges, and I love it when he mumbles family-friendly PG curses, like "maddafraddasonofabadda." And Stern, with wild-eyed, maniacal glee, is a doofus for the ages, an imbecile who deserves his own hour-long episode of World's Dumbest Criminals. In fact, all of the adults in the film—including Kevin's parents, played by Catherine O'Hara and John Heard—are portrayed as irresponsible, blithering, moronic, or emotionally maladjusted, whereas Kevin is smart enough trick a concierge into letting him check into a hotel room, mature enough to help a homeless woman learn to trust people again, and good-hearted enough to defend a children's hospital against a couple of brainless criminals. Such a kid-centric perspective can really only be appreciated by kids, and the lack of respect for adults may be a point of contention for parents who carefully monitor the moral fiber of the cinematic fare their children consume.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray, Video Quality
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York arrives on Blu-ray 17 years after first screening in theaters, and considering the early-1990s vintage of the source material, the film's 1080p/AVC- encoded transfer looks swell. The print itself is very clean, with hardly any specks or flecks or other blemishes, and though grain levels fluctuate throughout the film—at their heaviest during some of the indoor scenes, like Kevin's parents at the Floridian police station—I never found the grain to be overtly distracting. The film goes for a realistic color palette that largely presents New York as it is, and holiday colors are expectedly in abundance. Since much of the film takes place at night, it's important that black levels are properly attuned, and for the most part, they are. I was worried that the scenes in Kevin's uncle's Brownstone would be too dark, but there's really only a little bit of crush and I found that I could make out all the necessary details. Overall clarity is good, but not necessarily great. There are some occasional soft shots, but most close-ups show a good deal of facial and clothing texture. I did, however, notice what seems to be some minor edge enhancement during a few scenes, giving the image a slightly artificial quality. Aside from that, and some negligible contrast wavering during a few aerial shots, I was pleased by Lost in New York's look.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray, Audio Quality
"That was the sound of a tool chest falling down the stairs."
One of the highlights of the film is John Williams' frantic holiday-themed score, and it gets a proper treatment here with a decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Bright horns stab and squeal, strings jump up and down staccato stair steps, bells and xylophones chime with Christmas cheer, and the reedy timbres of woodwinds sound clear and defined. The score bleeds pleasingly into the rear channels, where it's often joined by environmental ambience, like the hustle and bustle of airport chatter, the cooing and fluttering of pigeons, big thunderclaps, heavy rain, and the mechanical whirring, buzzing sounds of Duncan's Toy Shop. Some of the foleyed tumbles and body-blows that Marv and Harry take are a bit boxy and over-the-top, but the sound design plays into the whole "live-action cartoon" feeling of the film. Vocals are prioritized well, and you'll have no trouble comprehending dialogue during even the most audibly hectic scenes. The only audio hiccup I caught was at 17:14, where you'll hear rain beat down in the rears, cut out suddenly for a split second—for no reason—and then resume once again. Otherwise, the track is stable and dynamically solid, even if it doesn't necessarily deliver any explicitly impressive sonic theatrics.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
All you get in your supplementary stocking are trailers for Home Alone (1080p), Home Alone 2 (SD), and Home Alone 3 (SD).
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
No, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York isn't nearly as mind-blowingly awesome and hilarious to me now as it was when I was 10. In fact, the film only tickled my funny bone once or twice this time around. Judging by the inflation of maturity levels among kids these days—there are now 10 year-olds using social networking sites—the default age for proper enjoyment of Home Alone 2 may now be in the 5 to 9 range. If you're an adult looking to pick up the film for the nostalgia factor, you may be disappointed, but if you've got a young kid who's into pranks and hijinks, this could be one of those discs that gets constant rotation.
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