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Release Date: June 27th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1983

National Lampoon's Vacation 40th Anniversary Edition - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

National Lampoon's Vacation drove everyone across the country in that iconic family trickster and introduced the Griswolds into every living room in America. They became a household name for their misadventures on their own family vacation. This one started it all and continues to bring laughs some forty. years later. The new 4K image with HDR looks phenomenal and the new DTS-HD 2.0 stereo mix sounds surprisingly better than it should. The only extra is a decades-old audio commentary track, which is still great to listen to, but for an anniversary edition, this is a letdown, ultimately For Fans Only

 

Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), are driving from Illinois to a California amusement park. As Clark increasingly fixates on a beautiful woman driving a sports car, the Griswolds deal with car problems and the death of a family member. They reach Los Angeles, but, when Clark worries that the trip is being derailed again, he acts impulsively to get his family to the park.

OVERALL:
For Fans Only
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265
Length:
98
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
June 27th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

National Lampoon made audiences across the globe laugh until they cried with its homage to college in Animal House. Several years later, a good old family vacation was in the cards and National Lampoon's Vacation was born showcasing what most American family vacations might have been like. Starring the top comedians and actors of its time, Vacation still stands tall with its brilliant comedy, performances, and memorable scenes that mix absurd comedy with endearing family moments. America took to Chevy Chase's Griswold family instantly and has spawned numerous successful sequels. But after forty years, it's great to see how a comedy at the ripe age of forty still works generations later. This is still one of the best comedies in cinema. 

Click Here for our previous Film Review...

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
National Lampoon's Vacation drives its way to 4K + Digital Code via Warner Bros. There is NO Blu-ray copy in this set. The single disc is housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The disc itself is colored gold. The artwork featured is a new photo that has been oddly photoshopped together that features the entire cast. No word on why the original amazing artwork was not allowed on this disc. The sleeve has a gold outline with the 100-year anniversary of Warner. There is also an insert for a digital code. 

Video Review

Ranking:

National Lampoon's Vacation has finally made it to 4K with a new 4K restoration in 2160p UHD with HDR enhancements. This movie is a classic and has been released on home-video many times, most memorably ten years ago for its 30th anniversary in 1080p. The improvements on this 4K release are sizable and satisfying.

The color palette is natural and nostalgic which makes those pea green and brown colors of the Griswold family Truckster stand out perfectly. This contrasts wonderfully with the red Ferrari that Brinkley drives throughout the movie. Traveling across the states, there are ample moments of crystal clue skies above that mix with the sandy, amber desert pastures and even red and golden cliffs of the Grand Canyon. Night-time shots explore inky black levels with no crush. The blue pool water and bolder primary colors at the theme parks look fantastic. The HDR gives each color a nuanced upgrade that is beautiful in every frame. Skin tones are natural this time around as well.

The detail is vivid with this new transfer, capturing all those fine detailed moments throughout the film. Closeups reveal the facial acne, pimples, individual hairs, beads of sweat, and more on the actor's faces. The hairs of the yellow dog look fantastic and the wrinkles on Aunt Edna are exquisite. The textures of those fine, white leather shoes, along with the rubbery moose statue and metallic sheen of the vehicle are wonderful. There are some wonderful layers of grain, keeping within its filmic state. Even nighttime sequences look wonderfully managed and balanced here. There are no issues with banding or aliasing here. This is easiest the best part of this release sans the film itself.

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release comes with a slightly upgraded DTS-HD 2.0 audio track that cleans up the previous one-channel option with bigger and better sounds. It would have been nice to have a brand new 5.1 option at least here though. But the two channels now offer up a wider dynamic range that makes the song cues and score play brighter with easily defining notes. The sound effects are still robust for a stereo mix that flows smoothly through the two speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear without any problems. This is a surprisingly hefty track for being in stereo only, but again, a big 5.1 option with some bass could have knocked this out of the park.

 

Special Features

Ranking:

A sloppy job of the extras on this 40th anniversary 4K is unwelcoming. Just the previous audio commentary track is included here, but not that amazing 85-minute documentary with the entire cast and crew.

  • Audio Commentary - This is the same commentary track from the previous Blu-ray releases that features Harold Ramis and all the original cast and producer of the film. It's a great commentary track but is fairly old. It would have been great to have the remaining members of the cast come back for a great new chat for its 40th anniversary.

National Lampoon's Vacation is still one of the all-time greatest comedies. It's still funny after four decades and brings together family bonds and new friendships. the new 4K image with HDR looks outstanding and is the best the film has looked yet. The DTS-HD 2.0 stereo track sounds very good within its limits. But the only extra is a decades-old commentary track. Plus the new artwork is something less than desired, get the SteelBook if you can. It's a worthwhile upgrade to 4K, but as a 40th Anniversary Edition it's a disappointment and really For Fans Only

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National Lampoon's Vacation 40th Anniversary Best Buy SteelBook