[4K Ultra HD Review] ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’; Now Available From Warner Bros

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Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid

Release Date: November 1, 2022

A Review By: Kevin Lovell

Disc Rating: 7/10

Synopsis:

As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.

Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.

[4K Ultra HD Review] ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’; Now Available From Warner Bros 1

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ rejoins the Griswold family who after two wildly troubling vacations to Wally World and Europe have decided to host Christmas for their family at home this year. As Clark, Ellen and their kids Rusty and Audrey begin preparing for the Holiday event they tackle everything from frostbite in their hunt for the perfect family tree, along with one headache and injury after another attempting to set up the lights and plenty of other hilarious mishaps. Unfortunately everything is only about to go further off the rails for the Griswold household when the whole family arrives and the holiday gathering begins to get underway.

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‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ was first unleashed to the joy of moviegoers in December of 1989 and if anything has only become more beloved and iconic in the many years since. Guided along beautifully by director Jeremiah S. Chechik from a brilliantly written screenplay by the iconic John Hughes, and brought to comedic perfection by a stellar cast that includes Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Doris Roberts, William Hickey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and many more who each do their part to help this hilarious ride work as smooth and charmingly as it does, not to mention still hold up remarkably well more than three decades later.

Still considered by many (including myself) as one of the most hilarious and just downright enjoyable Christmas (and comedy) films in existence, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ is nothing short of a comedic, holiday masterpiece that has proven that it has no trouble whatsoever standing the test of time; eliciting as many laughs today as it did the first time around. From the ever amusing opening of the family’s hunt for the perfect tree and the goofy events that occur from on the road to in the forest, down to the hilarious mishaps Clark encounters when trying to load up his home with the most dazzling light display in the state, as well as every other laugh out loud moment in between and after, nothing about this slapstick holiday vacation at home ever seems to become tired or unfunny. It’s really no surprise that so many families and individuals including me go out of their way to revisit this one at least once a year and it’s definitely a real treat to finally have the ability to physically own it in 4K at last.

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Just in time for this year’s holiday season, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings home ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever and this new 4K UHD debut of the comedic gem is definitely reason to rejoice. It delivers a truly spectacular new Ultra High Definition video presentation with HDR-10 that’s a remarkable improvement over the Blu-ray release(s) in nearly every conceivable way, and is only further complemented by a new 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack which marks the first time that the film has been provided a multichannel audio presentation on disc. The release is largely absent of any bonus content aside from a previously released Audio Commentary and the film’s Trailer, but fortunately the marvelous new presentation of the film itself will still make this a must own for any fans of this holiday masterpiece that are fully 4K capable.

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VIDEO:

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with HDR-10 presented in its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks remarkable across the board and provides a clean, sharp and gorgeously detailed presentation from start to finish that’s both faithful to the source and a thorough improvement over the previous releases on Blu-ray (one of which is included in this release). It delivers a richly detailed and clean presentation that displays everything from facial and clothing details to yards and interior backgrounds looking better than ever, while still retaining plenty of grain and other welcome source artifacts; not to mention eradicating the video noise and other troubling artifacts that were noticeable on the Blu-ray release. The new presentation also uses the film’s proper aspect ratio and fixes the framing issue on some scenes (you’ll notice a drastic difference between the moon in the opening segment which is shown in full on the 4K disc and oddly zoomed into on the Blu-ray) and it’s all complemented by the HDR addition which adds a nice color palette throughout. Overall, this is a phenomenal new Ultra High Definition video presentation that looks truly outstanding and should have fans cheering.

AUDIO:

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack marks the first time that the film has been released with a 5.1 mix and it provides a clean, crisp and well balanced audio presentation throughout. It never gets overly carried away with the surround elements, yet it utilizes all five available channels in order to send some music, nature and background effects, along with more throughout the various speakers when appropriate, while always ensuring that all dialogue and other audio elements remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a nice new 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that isn’t a drastic upgrade or change to the Blu-ray’s 2.0 DTS-HD MA track (which is also included as an option on the 4K disc), but a minor one that should certainly still please fans.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ includes an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Jeremiah S. Chechik, Producer Matty Simmons and Actors Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, and Miriam Flynn’ which is available on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs. The Blu-ray disc additionally includes the film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes).

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*Please note that the above images are taken from the previously released Blu-Ray disc included in the 4K UHD Combo Pack and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on the 4K UHD & Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.

Disc Rating: 7/10

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD & Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


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