On the first day of Christmas the Snooty Ushers gave to you, a re-view of Home Alone… I know it doesn’t rhyme but you get it…right?
Yesterday on the 16th November 2015, the Christmas classic Home Alone celebrated its 25th birthday, so what better time to revisit a film close to so many hearts in the lead up to the festive period? That’s right, there is no better time. So we not only re-viewed Home Alone, we also watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York again. So let us get to it.
Back in 1990, John Hughes and Chris Columbus teamed up to bring us the holiday classic Home Alone. The film stars Macualay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an 8 year old boy who gets left home alone after his parents accidentally leave him behind when they go on a family vacation. Kevin makes the most of this time without his big, noisy family where he often gets forgotten about, thinking that his wish for them to disappear has come true. Also in the neighbourhood are the nefarious wet bandits Harry and Marv, a pair of burglars who are preying on the homes in Kevin’s street, stealing all the Christmas gifts whilst everybody is on vacation. The wet bandits have their eyes on Kevin’s home as the crown jewel, but Kevin has more than a few tricks up his sleeve to keep them out.
As a youngster watching Home Alone when it was released was hilarious. And in great John Hughes fashion he put a youngster at the front and centre of the story, thus allowing all the teens and kids who saw the film to get behind the character of Kevin and relate to his antics. What John Hughes was also brilliant at doing was giving his films a moral and a big ol’ heart that usually carried a warm fuzzy message leaving you happy at the end. From watching the film again those morals have not been lost with age, there is a family spirit that keeps the film as relevant today as it ever was.
That being said, as nostalgic as the film can be for somebody like myself, as an adult I can’t help but think when going through it again the film that it’s fairly uneventful until the last act. It certainly has it’s moments in the build up to the climax, especially the use of the film within a film, Angles with Dirty Faces, which provides some amusing moments. However it is the mischievous plans of Kevin to keep Harry and Marv at bay that were the best part of the film. It was the case when I was younger, and they still remain the best parts now. In fact I have a much better appreciation of the performances of Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci now as the bumbling cat burglars. Throughout both the first and second films they completely embody the visual slapstick comedy of an updated Laurel and Hardy, and it still makes me laugh to this day. So either I’ve struggled to mature (quite likely) or they did an brilliant job (more likely).
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is almost a carbon copy of the first film, which has it’s pros and cons, but if a modern sequel did that today it would likely get slaughtered by the critics and viewers alike. It’s the same premise with a few minor tweaks on location and cause of Kevin being left by himself, but ultimately walks down the same path. The wet bandits (or the sticky bandits if Marv gets his way) are still the best part of the film, and the extended shenanigans between them and Kevin are still as funny, if not funnier, than the first outing.
The magic of watching Home Alone when I was younger is something that I will never forget, and it most certainly stands as a film all kids should get to watch before they are too old to really appreciate it. Watching the films again now certainly feeds my nostalgic needs, but it also makes it clear that these films primarily serve the kids first and adults second. Not a detraction from the quality of the film at all, just something you come to realise as you grow up.