The year was 1992. The setting was New York City and the time of year was a snow laden Christmas. It saw the return of Macaulay Culkin as the precocious Kevin McCallister and how his family once again forgot (well…this time they just lost him) him for their annual Christmas vacation. As unlikely as the premise and scenario is, the film went on to enjoy a healthy box office life and it only further bolstered the career of the then unstoppable Culkin. For all intents and purposes the film was a giant cash-in on the first film and had a remarkable amount of product placement…but Fox at least had enough sense to stop at this second film. Until 1997 at least when they made a direct-to-video third film. And again in 2002.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is back! But this time he’s in New York City with enough cash and credit cards to turn the Big Apple into his own playground! But Kevin won’t be alone for long. The notorious Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), still smarting from their last encounter with Kevin, are bound for New York too, plotting a huge holiday heist. Kevin’s ready to welcome them with a battery of booby traps the bumbling bandits will never forget!
As far as sequels go this film really is a pretty superfluous outing. It’s not even remotely as believable as the first film…yet at the same time I couldn’t help but love it. As a kid at least; as an adult my reaction is a great deal different, but still…there’s so much here to enjoy purely for nostalgia reasons that even when my adult brain starts to kick in and say “hey wait a minute…”my kid side chimes up and says “Hey shut up! I’m trying to watch the movie!”
I can remember watching this film quite a great deal more than the original…and the main reason for that was because we owned this on VHS. Buying a film on VHS when I was a kid was a ritual in our house and it had to be something that was genuinely something worthwhile and would get many repeat viewings. We owned a number of the Disney animated films and a few live action outings…but it was Home Alone 2 that made the most impact on my young mind that I must have begged for it enough to the point that we actually had to own it.
Honestly I can’t even remember watching it all that often as a kid, maybe once a year (it was a Christmas-time movie, after all, and it just felt strange to watch it at any other period). But I can recall the enchantment and excitement I would feel while watching it. Checking into a big hotel room that w as all my own and raiding a refrigerator that was filled with the most delicious looking cookies and sweets and even just wandering around New York City seemed like a fantastic time and dream for a kid to wrap himself up in.
Of course now it is all a bit ridiculous, but with the added likes of Tim Curry, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, I can’t help but enjoy this film even now. While I would be lying if I said that the film isn’t as awesome as my younger self remembers it, that’s the case with almost all films I watched as a kid—if I enjoyed it then, chances are I won’t enjoy it nearly as much now (and the opposite is true as well, I’ve found). What makes the film still work is just the believability of Culkin’s character, who is an incredible smart-aleck and yet believably still child like.
I will say that the brick throwing scene still makes me laugh my head off though. Stern and Pecsi really did make quite a comedic pair in the series—I’m glad Stern opted not to return for the fourth film when it was made. In any case, Home Alone 2 is only going to work now if you were a fan of it when you were a kid or if you’re under the age of ten. I’m still entertained by it, but it really did work better back in 1992 than it did now…which adds to its charm in a certain way, I suppose.
I had wondered if Fox would release this title on Blu-ray or not. It seemed like they should’ve just put it on the same disc as the first film, seeing as the extras list for this film is basically zilcho. But at least they finally released it—the previous DVD release was severely dated and sported quite an atrocious transfer. As is the disc arrives in a standard Elite Eco Blu-ray case without any inserts or anything fancy. Menu system is relatively easy to navigate, if a bit dull simply because of the lack of options to choose from.
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 1080p 1.85:1 transfer and considering this transfer is going on seventeen (!) years, I have to say it looks quite nice. It’s retained a film like quality and while compression still causes the transfer to get a bit murky at times, overall it’s a very nice transfer. Some grain here and there, but it only adds to the overall appearance of the film. Audio arrives in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that seems a bit overkill for such a movie…until the hijinks ensues. John Williams score also blasts through quite well, as does the environmental sound effects. Overall I was really impressed by how strong this sound mix is…I suppose Fox had the option of presenting a solid A/V presentation or providing extras and they chose the former. I’m conflicted if I should be too upset about that, seeing as this is a Blu-ray release after all.
And the extras? Yeah a handful of Trailers for Home Alone 1, 2, & 3 and that’s it.
Overall only pick this up if you’re looking to toss out the old DVD copy. Recommended in that case, but a Rental is required if you’ve never seen it first as it really probably wouldn’t bring in any new viewers.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is now available on Blu-ray.