It is hard to believe this classic is not 30 years old. It seems like it was just yesterday that my family was laughing themselves silly watching it in the theaters. Being a fan, I was pleased to see that a 30th Anniversary edition of the film was being released. I figured even if it was not the highest quality release, it might bring some attention to the film (believe it or not – some people have still not seen it).
I own the movie on DVD and some of the extras on my DVD are included again (I did not buy the 2010 BR), but it does have a couple of new things I did not own in disc form. I will talk about the extras at the end. First I want to talk about the picture and sound. The picture is solid. This is my first time seeing the film in HD and it looks good. You would think with some of the scenery that the film would have some eye-catching shots, but I am not sure that the movie was filmed to capture that part of a cross-country road trip. So don’t expect a “Wow” moment. Instead expect a faithful transfer. It might be the same as the 2010 Blu-Ray though (someone I know told me that). So if you have that one already, you might not need to upgrade.
The sound is nice, but it is in Mono — Just like the original film. I am not a big audiophile, so that was not a big deal to me. What was a big deal is that some of the music is different. I guess it was a rights problem. This was also changed on the 2010 BR release. I do not appreciate that at all, since many of my memories associated with a film are soundtrack related. How much could the Pointer Sisters want???
The release has some nice extras including:
- Commentary track with Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, and Producer Matty Simmons
- Introduction by Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid and Matty Simmons – This was also on my DVD
- Inside Story: National Lampoon’s Vacation – This was a TV doc, but it is really nice. Long and chock full of stars.
- Theatrical Trailer – good memories
I am a fan of the Vacation movies and this is a nice addition to my film collection. Can I recommend to you? Well, if you do not own the film in HD and really enjoy a nice transfer and some decent extras, I say pick it up. It certainly looks better than my DVD, but I think for the experience most similar to the one I saw in the theater, I am going to need to hold on to my DVD. If you can wait a decade, maybe for the 40th Anniversary edition, they will restore the film’s soundtrack? If you can’t wait…