National Lampoonís Christmas Vacation appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The nature of the source held back the visuals, but overall, the image seemed strong.
For the most part, sharpness was satisfying. Some wide shots appeared slightly soft Ė such as the view of the Griswolds as they trudged toward the pine tree forest Ė but most of the flick seemed accurate and well-defined. Jagged edges and moirť effects caused no concerns, and edge enhancement remained absent.
Print flaws created no distractions. The movie exhibited natural grain, and I witnessed no specks, marks or other problems.
Colors never quite excelled, but they seemed above average. The movie stuck with a warm palette that consistently seemed clean and concise. The hues didnít stand out as terrific, but they were satisfying.
Black levels looked deep and rich, while shadows seemed well developed. Comedies from the Eighties often suffered from a drab look that often affected those elements, but they worked nicely here. The film exhibited traits typical of its era but still looked pretty good.
As for the DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio, donít expect a great deal from this mix, as it seemed good but not special. Unsurprisingly, most of the material emanated from the front speakers. Some decent use of directional dialogue occurred, and elements moved effectively from one channel to another.
The score presented decent stereo imaging. The score featured fairly decent spread, but the songs worked less well. I suspect that stemmed from the source, though.
Effects mostly focused on general ambience, though they came to life moderately during some of the flickís big slapstick scenes. The same held true for the surrounds. Those played a small role in the proceedings and became active only briefly during a few comedic pieces.
Audio quality showed its age but seemed satisfactory overall. Speech appeared reasonably natural and distinctive, and I discerned no concerns connected to intelligibility. Music sounded fairly solid and general clarity was usually fine.
Effects made the most use of the subwoofer, as some of the big slapstick bits kicked in pretty good bass. Otherwise, those elements appeared acceptably accurate. This was never a great mix but it suited the material.
How does this remastered 2015 Blu-Ray compare with the original Blu-ray from 2009? Audio seemed a little warmed and fuller, though not to an enormous degree. Iím glad the 2015 Blu-ray offered losslees audio instead of its predecessorís Dolby Digital track but the nature of the source limited how much better the audio could sound.
Visuals also showed modest improvement. The 2015 Blu-ray offered mildly better definition and lost the light edge haloes and smattering of print flaws from the 2009 disc. Though the 2015 release didnít blow away the old one, it did deliver stronger visuals.
The 2015 Blu-ray replicates the extras from the 2009 disc. In addition to the filmís theatrical trailer, we get an audio commentary from actors Beverly DíAngelo, Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn, and Johnny Galecki plus director Jeremiah Chechik and producer Matty Simmons. All six of them sit together for their running, screen-specific track. Putting all of them in one place gives their chat a nicely rollicking and lively tone, but it doesnít mean we learn much about the movie.
The actors provide occasional insights about their characters Ė mostly as DíAngelo relates struggles related to her hair Ė and Chechik adds the greatest level of detail via some production anecdotes. DíAngelo also gives us the most tantalizing teaser when she states that at the start of each Vacation flick, she and Chevy Chase love each other, but they come to hate each other by the end of production. Unfortunately, she doesnít expand on this nugget.
Mostly the participants watch the movie and laugh; that tendency becomes especially heavy during the filmís second half, and gaps become more substantial during that period as well. The track remains moderately entertaining, mostly because the folks seem to enjoy themselves, but you wonít learn much about the production.
The package also includes a DVD copy of Christmas Vacation. This replicates the 2003 Special Edition DVD.
I donít think Christmas Vacation offers the worst holiday movie Iíve seen, but it seems pretty blah nonetheless. It just rehashes the same old formula and doesnít do anything particularly amusing or noteworthy. The Blu-ray offers very good picture as well as satisfying audio and a mediocre commentary. This remastered 2015 Blu-ray is the best version of the film on the market, but I donít think it offers a big step up in quality when compared to the original 2009 BD.
To rate this film, visit the Special Edition review of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION