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National Lampoon's Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition

National Lampoon's Vacation

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Grade:
A
Running Time: 
98 minutes
Who Ya Gonna Call?

Director Harold Ramis is better known for his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ghostbuster franchise.

Grab the keys to the Family Truckster and hitch your dog to the back bumper, it’s Vacation time!  To celebrate the three decades that have passed since its initial release, Warner Brother's Pictures has decided to put out another BluRay version of National Lampoon's Vacation - the 30th Anniversary Edition.  Fans of the classic comedy film franchise might be peeved if they purchased the 2010 BluRay edition, but the 85-minute documentary included in the special features this time around make it a worthy upgrade.

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't familiar with Vacation considering how long it has been playing on various cable networks.  Regardless, Chevy Chase (Caddyshack) stars as Clark Griswold, a bumbling father who has planned a 2,460 mile vacation roadtrip from the family home in Chicago to Walley World in Los Angeles.  Along for the ride are his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo, Coal Miner's Daughter), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall, Weird Science), and daughter Audrey (Dana Barron, FOX’s Beverly Hills, 90210).  Things don't go as planned when the Griswolds make a visit to Cousin Eddie's (Randy Quaid, Independence Day) homestead in Kansas and get roped into giving grumpy Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca, NBC's Your Show of Shows) and her dog Dinky a ride to Phoenix.

Vacation has stood the test of time and remains one of the most beloved comedies of the 1980's.  One look at the cast and crew involved and it's easy to tell why.  Chevy Chase is at his best in this career-defining role showcasing his mastery of physical comedy.  Director Harold Ramis would go on to direct the beloved Groundhog Day.  Screenwriter John Hughes became perhaps the most important director of the ‘80’s with films like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  A bevy of comedic legends of the era including Eugene Levy, Brian Doyle-Murray, and the late great John Candy all have brief, entertaining roles.

The transfer of the film is gorgeous - colors pop and reflections can even be seen on Clark’s glasses.  The sound is a mono track yet manages to maintain clarity.  Don’t worry fans, “Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham sounds better than ever.  The majority of special features are imported from older releases including commentary with cast members, the standard trailer, and a short introduction taken from the 20th Anniversary DVD.  The highlight of this 30th Anniversary version is an 85-minute documentary made by A&E a couple years ago.  Viewers will learn everything they ever wanted to know about the making of Vacation including the location selection, Imogene Coca’s fear of traveling, an altercation between Chase and Ramis, and the original ending that flopped at test screenings.  Vacation fans will want to pick this up as well as anyone wanting to relive one of the best comedies from the ‘80’s.

Cody Endres
Review by Cody Endres
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