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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Pan&Scan
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish
  Extras
  • 4 Theatrical trailer - Vacation; Christmas Vacation; European Vacation; Vegas Vacation
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes - Behind the Scenes; Film Recommendations

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 97 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Clark W. Griswold, God bless him, just wants the best of everything for his family. The best family vacation (Europe, Vegas, Wally World), the best family car (the Family Truckster) and the best family seasonal festivities - Christmas!

Being a wog (no, really, I am! Did you think Vincent was a Japanese name?) I know all about overblown Christmas festivities. Relatives from everywhere, enough food to feed the Gods, petty squabbles over which is the best football team, too much wine, backyard cricket, smashed windows and pants unbuttoned by the second course.

Clark, for all his efforts, could be an honorary wog. Amongst many of my friends (who are mainly wogs) he is already considered a cult hero. We know his films, refer to them fondly, and weave his fantastic lines into our own wog adventures, bringing that little slice of Griswold Family vacation mirth to our own pathetic corner of the universe.

In Christmas Vacation, Clark just wants to spend the Christmas season with his family and relatives, the way it should be. A big tree, lots of presents, a turkey and eggnog galore.

"Which is to say Christmas, as in Yule. Yule log. Not a log. I don't have a log, but I mean, you know, if I had a log. Not in the sense you think you think I said I did. Good golly."

Then, at the big moment, he can announce to everyone that he’s gone out and bought a pool with the sizable company bonus cheque he’s expecting to arrive any minute now. As long as the bonus comes through, that’ll make putting up with the grumpy in-laws, the freak-show cousins, the dried-out turkey, the psychotic squirrel and the demented aunt a little more bearable. Yep, just as long as he gets that bonus…where’s the damn mailman?

Well, being Clark Griswold and all, you can figure out what happens. Suffice to say, as Clark puts it: “Worse? How could they get any worse? Take a look around you, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of Hell!”

Funnily enough, that quote also kind of neatly sums up most of my own family Christmas get-togethers. And the video transfer of this film...

  Video
Contract

Now why did they have to go and do this to such a classic film? Yet another shitty pan and scan NTSC transfer ripped off from the region 1 release and recoded to region 4, this is just plain ridiculous and insulting. Colours look washed out, the picture is soft, shadow detail is pretty limited, basically it's a pretty average effort all around, with the added er... benefit... of ruling out anyone whose gear can't play NTSC from being able to buy this film. Hell, even if you can play NTSC, show them you don't want it anyway and don't waste your money. This is Australia, we'll have our DVDs in PAL, thank you very much.

  Audio
Contract

Hmm, how best to sum this one up quickly? It sounds clear? Yep. That ought to about do it. That’s a mighty good summary, right there. You see, there’s not a lot else to say, not without waffling on needlessly about ‘dynamic range’, and ‘soundstages’ and ‘panning’ and whatnot. Nopesiree, this little effort is just your everyday average Dolby Surround type of audio track, with nothing spectacular to attribute to it, but also nothing really troublesome to point out for your pleasures. Yep, I best be thinking that it just sits there and does its thing, maybe the surrounds kicked in hard and noticeably once, but that was about it. It’s clear enough, even if rather thin sounding and limp, but there are no other problems with clarity. There’s not really a whole lot to say about this one. Nope. Nothing much at all, if I do say so myself. Damn pity about the picture though, plenty to criticise there, but let’s not travel over old ground shall we? I’ve said my bit, let’s leave it at that. Even if it does deserves a good slagging off. NTSC my arse!

  Extras
Contract

Theatrical Trailers
Trailers for the whole National Lampoon Vacation series are covered here: Vacation, Christmas Vacation, European Vacation, Vegas Vacation and Sorrento Vacation. Okay, I made that last one up.

Cast and Crew Bios
Covers the whole cast, and some of the crew, in brief text based form.

Production Notes
More very brief text notes about the film production. Scintillating reading. Had me on the edge of my chair, until I fell off. Then it had me on the floor.

Reel Recommendations
Yeah, I could recommend something too... like, how about PAL DVDs? Is that too much to ask?

  Overall  
Contract

A classic film given a royal shafting, I hope that this trend of releasing DVDs in NTSC to save costs doesn't last much longer, because I find it insulting considering that I've never purchased a DVD from overseas in all these years, with the expectation that most films will eventually get released here one day, in PAL, like all titles in Australia should.

Looks like I'm pretty stupid, huh?


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2661
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  •   
      And I quote...
    "The Griswolds in NTSC? What the f*ck is the world coming to?"
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale WH-2
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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