Mighty Chroma Logo
Mighty Chroma Logo

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Classic Christmas film shines in 4K with clear audio but lacks new extras.

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Warner Bros.' 4K remaster of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation enhances clarity, color, and detail, despite minor skin tone issues, making it a holiday classic upgrade.

  • Audio
  • The film's soundtrack offers clear audio with a new 5.1 mix enhancing depth and providing optional original 2.0 mix, accentuating dialog clarity, ambient effects, and maintaining a tight soundstage.

  • Extra
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation's two-disc set, with both 4K and Blu-ray, features repetitive bonus content, notably an old audio commentary and a lackluster set of extras, within a festively designed case.

  • Movie
  • Clark Griswold's pursuit of the perfect family Christmas leads to madcap disasters and heartwarming hilarity, impacting his family and neighbors.

    Video: 90

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is a significant visual upgrade over its predecessors, thanks to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's meticulous remastering efforts. This new release leverages a 2160p, HDR10-enhanced transfer, which is likely based on the master created for the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. The enhanced resolution and dynamic range breathe new life into the film's visuals, offering improved fine detail, texture, contrast, and shadow detail. The upgrade eliminates previous issues of noise and compression artifacts, replacing them with a natural film grain that adds depth and authenticity. Colors are more vibrant and saturated, particularly evident in the film's iconic Christmas lights display and exterior shots of Warner's lot, capturing the festive spirit with unprecedented clarity.

    However, the HDR10 enhancement comes with its set of challenges, specifically affecting skin tones and low-light scenes. Some skin tones occasionally appear overly tan/brownish, a departure from their natural appearance, while scenes captured in low light sometimes seem artificially boosted. Despite these minor drawbacks, the overall improvements in detail, color saturation, and black levels provide a visually pleasing experience. The HDR application enhances primary colors, with reds and blues looking particularly vivid against the snowy landscapes, achieving a balance between brightness and darkness without compromising detail in shadowy areas.

    Encoding quality is superb, with the HEVC / H.265 encoded disc showing no signs of noise or artifacts, maintaining clean visuals throughout. The 4K image reveals finer facial features and textures, with a noticeable improvement in depth and movement stability. Black levels are deep and natural, allowing for greater visibility in darker scenes without any loss of detail. The color reproduction is strong and natural, with the HDR adding vibrancy to the festive lighting and decorations. Flesh tones remain consistent and lifelike, further enhancing the visual realism of the film's many memorable characters and moments.

    Audio: 89

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" heralds a noticeable uplift in its audio accompanying the film's festive misadventures, catering well to both purists and those with a thirst for a remastered auditory experience. The newly introduced DTS-HD MA 5.1 track shines by injecting a refined depth and presence into the soundscape, enhancing dialog clarity and enabling environmental sounds to envelop the viewer with more precision. Dialogues are crystal clear, promoting an improved separation of the characters' unique vocal tones. Additionally, moments of high jest, such as the sledding scene or the chaotic dinner events, benefit from a pronounced engagement of the front and surround channels, enriching the overall viewing experience.

    The versatility in audio options is commendable with the inclusion of both the remastered 5.1 mix and the original theatrical DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. The 5.1 mix does not merely inflate the volume but offers nuanced auditory cues that travel effectively across the room, making substantial use of the lower end sounds for a dynamic range that underscores the physical comedy without overwhelming it. The score and theme song, though not the focal point, maintain their vitality within this mix, ensuring the holiday spirit is unabashedly conveyed.

    For those inclined towards nostalgia or with simpler audio setups, the original 2.0 track remains compelling, preserving the film's auditory integrity. Whether one is equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system or a modest soundbar, these options cater to a broad spectrum of preferences without sacrificing quality. The balance between loud comedic episodes and quiet, reflective moments is maintained across both tracks, ensuring that regardless of choice, the iconic humor and warmth of "Christmas Vacation" are delivered with consistency and clarity.

    Extra: 67

    This release of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" on 4K UHD Blu-ray offers a somewhat underwhelming set of extras, considering the film's iconic status. Both the 4K and standard Blu-ray discs contain the same legacy audio commentary track, which includes insights from director Jeremiah Chechik, producer Matty Simmons, and cast members Randy Quaid, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki, and Miriam Flynn. While the commentary provides an engaging look behind the scenes, the absence of new bonus material or deleted scenes is a missed opportunity to celebrate the movie's legacy further. The package itself is attractively presented with Christmas card-themed art and includes a digital code, but for enthusiasts hoping for an expanded suite of extras, this release may disappoint.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary: Available on both 4K and Blu-ray discs, featuring director Jeremiah S. Chechik, producer Matty Simmons, and cast members Randy Quaid, Beverly D’Angelo, Johnny Galecki, and Miriam Flynn discussing the film.

    Theatrical Trailer: A 2-minute and 24-second vintage trailer available on the Blu-ray disc.

    Movie: 90

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" in 4K UHD Blu-ray is a festive treat that Warner Bros. has gifted fans this holiday season. This film, a cornerstone of American holiday cinema, offers a vivid look into the chaotic yet endearing Christmas preparations of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family. With an ensemble cast including Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the movie benefits from a script ripe with humor and warmth, penned by John Hughes. The leap to 4K UHD, with a 2160p resolution and HDR10 enhancement, only intensifies the visual feast of 25,000 twinkling lights and seasonal shenanigans, providing an unparalleled viewing experience that makes the Griswold family's misadventures shine brighter.

    Technical upgrades aside, what truly stands out is the impeccable blend of comedy and family dynamics, showcasing Chevy Chase in one of his quintessential performances. Chase’s portrayal of Clark's unwavering determination to deliver the perfect Christmas, despite the avalanche of setbacks, resonates with a genuine sincerity that transcends comedic caricature. The film's transition from HD-DVD and previous Blu-ray iterations to 4K UHD highlights Warner Bros.' dedication to preserving cinematic nostalgia while embracing technological advancements. Fans old and new will appreciate the enriched color palette and refined detail that bring every outrageous moment and subtle expression to life with unprecedented clarity.

    Beyond the technological enhancements, "Christmas Vacation's" charm lies in its ability to depict a flawed yet deeply loving family navigating the trials of holiday perfectionism. The inclusion of a BD-50 disc from the 25th Anniversary Special Edition as part of the package ensures that aficionados and newcomers alike have access to a treasure trove of laughs and heartfelt moments. As more than just a holiday movie, this release serves as a celebration of the enduring appeal of the Griswold family's festive follies, now immortalized in stunning 4K.

    Total: 82

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation has made its long-awaited jump to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, presenting an upgrade that's been on many a fan's Christmas list. The new 4K HDR10 transfer breathes fresh life into this perennial comedy classic, offering visual improvements that mark a significant step up from the previously available 25th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. Complementing the upgraded visuals, the audio experience has also been enhanced with the introduction of a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track alongside the original theatrical 2.0 mix. This new audio setup ensures that dialogue is crystal clear, providing a level of vocal clarity and tonal variation that faithfully reproduces the unique characteristics of each character. Ambient sounds and discrete effects are thoughtfully mixed across both front and rear channels, enriching the film's soundstage and enveloping the viewer in the Griswold family's chaotic holiday experience.

    However, this release is not without its disappointments, particularly in the extras department. Despite the stellar presentation of the film itself, there is a noticeable lack of new bonus content. Viewers will find the same commentary tracks and features repackaged from previous editions, which might feel like receiving last year's leftovers rather than a shiny new gift. This oversight is somewhat mitigated by the overall quality of the film's transfer and sound mix, which together significantly enhance the viewing experience.

    In conclusion, while the absence of fresh bonus material is a letdown, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation nonetheless stands as a recommended addition to any holiday movie collection. The remarkable improvements in both picture and sound quality ensure that Clark Griswold’s hilariously calamitous quest for the perfect Christmas shines brighter and more immersive than ever before. Despite its shortcomings in the extras department, this release successfully delivers a worthwhile upgrade for one of the finest holiday comedies, making it a must-have for devoted fans and newcomers alike.