Blu-ray Review: ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary’

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CHICAGO – Few comedies from the ’80s are as beloved and rewatchable as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” a surprise hit that produced multiple sequels and legions of fans. It’s probably playing somewhere on cable right now and will be for another three decades. However, in those cable airings, you won’t get to see the feature-length documentary, “Inside Story,” about the making of the film featuring new interviews with nearly all of the major players from Chevy Chase to Harold Ramis to Jane Krakowski. If you’re a comedy fan, the Blu-ray is worth picking up just for that special feature alone. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

From the location scouting to Imogene Coca’s fear of travel to Anthony Michael Hall’s crush on his sister in the film, “Inside Story” is a really strong “Behind the Music”-esque look at one of the most iconic comedies of its era. “Vacation” has held up remarkably well. It’s one of those movies that can get laughs out of jokes you’ve heard a hundred times before and “Inside Story” both illustrates how much work went into a film that might have looked easier to make than it was and shows how much luck plays a role in cinematic success. In many ways, it’s hard to believe that it’s been three decades since the Griswolds went to Wally World. I wish more classic comedies had a featurette as strong as “Inside Story” about their history and lasting power. Maybe other producers will take note. The Blu-ray also contains the previously available and great commentary track from many of the major players.

National Lampoon's Vacation: 30th Anniversary was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21, 2013
National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21, 2013
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Everything is planned, packed - and about to go hilariously wrong. The Griswolds are going on vacation. In the driver’s seat, of course, is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), an Everyman eager to share the open road and the wonders of family togetherness with his wife and kids. Myriad mishaps, crude kin (Randy Quaid), encounters with a temptress (Christie Brinkley), financial woes, Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) on the roof, one security guard (John Candy) and 2,460 miles later, it is indeed a wonder the Griswolds are together. There’s never been a family vacation like it. Except perhaps for yours. And that helps explain why National Lampoon’s Vacation remains so popular…and so very funny.

Special Features:
o Featurette Inside Story: National Lampoon’s Vacation
o Introduction By Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid And Matty Simmons
o Commentary By Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron and Matty Simmons
o Theatrical Trailer

“National Lampoon’s Vacation” stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Randy Quaid, Christie Brinkley, Dana Barron, Imogene Coca, and John Candy. It was written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis. It was released on Blu-ray on May 21, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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