Director: Harold Ramis
Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid
Release Date: June 27, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Everything is planned, packed – and about to go hilariously wrong. The Griswolds are going on vacation. In the driver’s seat is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), an Everyman eager to share the open road and the wonders of family togetherness. Myriad mishaps, crude kin (Randy Quaid), encounters with a temptress (Christie Brinkley), financial woes, Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) on the roof, one security guard (John Candy) and 2,460 miles later, it’s a wonder the Griswolds are together. There’s never been a family vacation like it. Except maybe yours. And that helps explain why National Lampoon’s Vacation remains so popular… and so very funny.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery 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.
Get ready to join the Griswold family once again and revisit the hilariously chaotic outing that started it all. ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ accompanies the average Griswold family of Clark, his wife and two children as they pick up a new vehicle from the car dealership (but not the one they ordered naturally) and pack up their new pea-green station wagon to head on a road trip set to end with some great family fun at a theme park. Along the way they’ll visit various big sights, take some unexpected detours and even reconnect with family, but always in a manner that just seems to go amusingly and terribly wrong for these four. But hey, it’s all about the experience and spending time with family. Right?
The cult classic comedy ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ made its debut in the Summer of 1983 and was swiftly guided along by director Harold Ramis from a screenplay written by John Hughes which was based on his short story “Vacation ’58 which appeared in the publication/magazine “National Lampoon.” Only helping tremendously is the film’s well selected cast which includes Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, along with Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid, John Candy, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, and Christie Brinkley in her feature film debut; each doing a great job of contributing to the fun and helping to keep the laughter and excitement moving at full speed throughout.
‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ certainly hasn’t lost much of its charm or ability to elicit repeated laughs over the four decades since it was first released and while some of the gags and content within are undeniably dated and probably wouldn’t make it into a modern comedy due the questionably approach and implications that some of it gives off, it definitely still manages to deliver a consistently enjoyable and hilarious misadventure that never seems to get dull no matter how many times it’s revisited. Ridiculous, occasionally offensive and just downright silly at times, it all just seems to mesh together remarkably well and with a great cast led by Chevy Chase to back it up, it still tickles the funny bone more than many folks might expect. If you’ve never had the pleasure of this classic comedy then I would strongly encourage giving it a chance whenever possible because this is one unforgettable comedy gem that shouldn’t be missed, and still manages to offer up as much fun and hilarity as it did forty years ago.
In celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary this year, as well as Warner’s year-long centennial celebration, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment brings home ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ in 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever which is definitely reason for fans of the film to celebrate. The new 4K UHD release brings the comedy classic back home sporting a rather stellar new Ultra High Definition video presentation with HDR-10 that looks better than the film ever has before. Complemented by a nice split-mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack and a previously released commentary track included on top of it, fans of this beloved classic should be thrilled with the quality that its 4K debut has to offer. It may not be one of the most outstanding UHD releases to ever grace the format, but it certainly looks great and is a massive improvement from all previous releases of the film to say the least. For any fully 4K capable fans that are already considering a purchase, it’s highly recommended.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘National Lampoon’s 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 very good as a whole and provides a clean, sharp and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish that’s absent of any unexpected issues to be uncovered throughout, and it’s almost certainly the best the film has ever looked at home by a fair margin. The presentation delivers a great, filmic appearance that retains its share of grain and other welcome artifacts in multiple sequences, while showing undeniable improvement in everything from character faces, clothing and vehicles, along with roads, desert landscapes and even the surroundings at the theme park. The HDR-10 addition also contributes an improved color palette that’s repeatedly noticeable throughout, especially on vehicle and building colors, along with various other artifacts and elements appearing along the way. Overall, this is a pretty great new Ultra High Definition video presentation that should have fans quite excited.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a 2.0 split mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless soundtrack sounds quite good in its own right and offers a clean, crisp and fully capable audio presentation throughout. Everything within is well balanced and dialogue, various effects and vehicle noise, along with a good deal more all share the channel(s) without issue and allow the louder and more effects-heavy moments to come through with the proper aggression when necessary. At the same time it still makes sure that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring along with other content remains clean, sharp and fully audible every step of the way. Overall, this is a solid 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that doesn’t disappoint and should leave fans pleased.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ includes one previously released extra in the way of an ‘Audio Commentary with Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Matty Simmons, Harold Ramis, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dana Barron’.
*Please note: The above images were provided by Warner Bros. and are not reflective of the actual 4K Ultra HD release or its quality. A standard Blu-ray copy of the film was not included in the release that could be used for screenshots therefore the above publicity stills were utilized. They are all the property of Warner Bros. Discovery and any other respective owners.
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD & Digital from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
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