Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home Alone 2 - The Perfect Sequel: A Holiday film review by Robert Steven Mack

I hope you won't think me too corny when I talk about time. Time is a very interesting and fickle rascal that you have got to deal with, whether you like it or not. When I was about five I looked upon the nineties as a next door neighbor. But time moved on, and at this point it is no longer that next door neighbor I looked upon with such fondness.

The nineties was, in a sense, a time of reinvention for film studios in Hollywood. After an unhappy slump in the eighties Disney pulled out and in to what is today known as the Disney Renaissance in which they produced such successful and wildly recognised films as The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, and others.

The eighties having been such a dramatic outcome of decades that lead up to that change, the nineties was a modern reincarnation of the 50's. Part 3 of the Back to the Future trilogy was far less the eighties movie than the first in 1985 five years earlier. And perhaps not even of the fifties but at least an attempt to get back on the right track (especially after a long string of ultra violent movies coming out in the summer of 1990). Home Alone when I first saw it, was kind of a recent movie from about a little over ten years ago. By now it is a classic.

In the most recent of years films and technology have progressed that Home Alone (1990) could not possibly have been produced in these years. From the camera work and direction, to the comedy and actors, and the credit sequences and music this film is indeed a product of its time and an excellent film at that. Chris Columbus's direction is done with care and precision, the performances go from brash to innocent and the music truly makes it memorable.

Unfortunately I find that its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) is largely overlooked having received negative reviews upon its theatrical release. It still remains within Home Alone's shadow of enduring success. It takes place about one or two years after the events of the previous film and doesn't rely too much on its predecessor. And I suppose those who saw the first Home Alone film will get a bigger kick out of the whole story. Basically, Kevin gets lost in an unholy rush to their flight in the airport. Well, at least he made it to the van this time around! Instead of going to the ever so blissful and "sunny" Miami with the rest of his enormous family (including good old uncle Frank's clan of tacktless monsters) he accidentally hops on a flight to New York. Using his father's credit card he decides he might as well enjoy himself and checks into the grandest hotel he can get to. The Wet Bandits (Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci) join the fun, having recently escaped from jail with plans to rob a charitable toy store.

Macaulay Culkin returns as Kevin in this hilarious and innovative sequel to the original Holiday favorite. It's almost a remake but not quite. They put together a similar story but with an added basaise, even more fun. Everything's bumped up a level and done with such care. Chris Columbus' direction is a again pure, crisp, and every moment in the film counts. The transition into a second round of turmoil and violent craze was powerful and heartfelt enough for them to get away with it. In further evaluation, the sequence in which Kevin once again battles his two nemeses takes us away from the content reality and cleverness of the last film. At times it is now pure cartoon violence. At times so crazy, it becomes almost unwatchable and you know that our poor villains could not have survived it. Some friends and family members, I watched it with this Christmas said that it was perhaps better than the first sequel except for that one sequence of cartoon violence and that it looked like they had just thrown a bunch of gags together to beat the last sequence. I don't know if all that is true or not. I think that Home Alone 2 is fresh and original and deserves recognition. I don't know if it gets with this new generation -born 2005 plus. But the sequel is a great addition to the series as well and should also be looked upon as the great film it is. The sequence is very violent, but there are moments of cleverness and funny moments in it and the sequence wraps itself up very nicely.

The film should be seen by ages 8 and up, but I think that with the predecessor you can go a little earlier. It is a great film!

With a terrific cast of Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O' Hara, John Heard, Tim Curry, and the returning cast of "McAlisters".

If you are a fan of the original, I suggest you take a chance with this film; I don't think you'll regret it.


Copyright 2011 by Robert Steven Mack (all rights reserved!)

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