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Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/6/2009

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/21/2009

For those of you who weren't up and around in 1990 (and thanks for making me feel so old), you may not be able to understand just how big Home Alone was. I can't remember if anyone expected it to be big, but it was big. It made over $500 million worldwide. Even my Mom went to see it! Yes, this little movie about a kid who is, wait for it, home alone, became one of the biggest blockbusters of the 90s. Sure, there were some big names behind the camera, namely John Hughes and Chris Columbus, but I'm pretty sure that this kiddie movie took everyone by surprise. Something which didn't take anyone by surprise was the announcement of a sequel, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York arrived in 1992.

On the off chance that you aren't familiar with it, Home Alone tells the story of a boy named Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin). In the film, his family and his uncle's family are going on a trip together and in all of the confusion to get to the airport on time, Kevin is left behind. But, instead of being distraught about this, he revels in finally having the house to himself. When two bumbling burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), come to rob the house, Kevin fights them off using household items and ingenuity.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York takes place one year later. Once again, it's Christmas time and the families have gotten together for a trip to Florida. And, once again, they are running late for their flight. As the group is rushing through the airport, Kevin stops to put batteries in toy and gets separated. He then spots a man whom he mistakes for his father and follows him onto a plane which is heading for New York City. When Kevin gets off of the plane, he's not sure what to do, so he takes a cab into the city. He wanders around for a while and then gets a room at The Plaza. Despite the fact that the staff (led by Tim Curry and Rob Schneider) are suspicious of this boy who is seemingly alone, Kevin orders room service and lives it up. Meanwhile, Harry and Marv have escaped from prison and have come to New York to rob a toy store. As luck would have it, Kevin gets wind of this and decides to stop them. Meanwhile, Kevin's family is trying to get to New York to be reunited with him.

Despite the fact that I saw Home Alone in the theater at the time of its release, and enjoyed the movie for what it was, I didn't go see Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In fact, I'd never seen the film until I watched this Blu-ray Disc. If I had seen it in the theater, I would have demanded my money back.

Again, I'm not sure what the expectations for Home Alone were, but neither John Hughes or Chris Columbus are dumb men, and I'm sure that they both realized that they'd struck gold. And, again, a sequel to such a big movie was no surprise. But, such a lazy, carbon copy, unrealistic sequel is an insult to the audience which made the first film such a hit.

The screenplay for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is credited to Hughes, who had proven himself to be a talented writer many times in the past. But, this movie is so identical to the first one, one can't help but get the feeling that he simply took a template of Home Alone and filled in the blanks with new details. Once again, the family vacation causes a ruckus. Kevin gets separated from his family. He watches gangster movies and uses cheesy dialogue to scare away intruders. (What 12 year old watches black and white gangster movies?) He uses silhouettes to trick people into thinking that he's with adults. In the first film, he was afraid of his creepy neighbor, played by Roberts Blossom. Here, he's afraid of a creepy homeless woman, played by Brenda Fricker.

And of course, we have Kevin's confrontation with Harry and Marv. (More on this in a moment.) In the first film, the groundwork is laid for the squaring off between Kevin and the burglars throughout the movie. Here, it is simply something which happens in the third act. If it wasn't in the trailers, would the audience have even expected it? And the Three Stooges-like antics which take place in this duel are even more violent than they were in the first film. I'm about to take about the creative liberties that the story takes with reality, but the amount of abuse which Marv and Harry take would have easily killed either one of them.

OK, so this movie is a lot like the first one. Isn't that just giving the audience what they want? Maybe, but this movie truly stretches our suspension of disbelief. Kevin arrives in New York and instead of panicking and begging someone to call his family, he books a room at The Plaza. What? Being accidentally left at home was one thing, but this movie is ridiculous. Then we have the fact that Harry and Marv arrive in New York. They escaped from prison in Illinois and came to New York? If Kevin had run into others burglars, it wouldn't have been as bad, but I can only imagine that they wanted the stars back. Home Alone was a silly movie, but at least it was fun. The sequel is an unoriginal, unrealistic childhood fantasy which devolves into something resembling torture porn.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York raids the mini-bar on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp, but noticeably grainy at times. The level of grain varies radically from shot-to-shot, but in some, it can't be ignored. There are no defects from the source material. The colors look good, most notably primary colors. The image is never overly dark or bright. Skin tones look realistic. The level of detail is pretty good, but the depth is lacking when compared to other Blu-ray Discs. The Disc contains a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track features nicely done stereo effects which show a good amount of detail. The surround sound is good as well, most notably in the scenes involving the pigeons, as we can hear them fluttering all around us. The finale provides good subwoofer effects.

The only extras on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Blu-ray Disc are TRAILERS for Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and Home Alone 3.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long