Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 05-17-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Warner - 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Checy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Imogene Coca, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Christie Brinkly
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Music by: Ralph Burns
Written by: John Hughes
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 21, 2013

"Every summer Clark Griswold takes his family on a little trip. This year he went too far"

Film Synopsis:

Everything is planned, packed – and about to go hilariously wrong. The Griswolds are going on vacation. In the driver’s seat is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), an Everyman eager to share the open road and the wonders of family togetherness. 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’s a wonder the Griswolds are together. There’s never been a family vacation like it. Except maybe yours. And that helps explain why National Lampoon’s Vacation remains so popular…and so very funny.

My Take:

Vacation is one of those 80’s classic comedies that is beloved by the generation that grew up during its popularity. Penned by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis is truly epitomizes all that we love about the comedic films from the period. Clark W. Griswold became an icon thanks to the superb talents of affable funnyman Chevy Chase. He along with co-star Beverly D’Angelo as wife Ellen, have appeared in each of the Vacation sequels which have featured various actors playing the roles of Griswold kids, Rusty and Audrey, played in this film by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. Of course we have to pay homage to Randy Quaid who simply owns the character of the crass but loveable Uncle Eddie. The film is filled with memorable moments, oft quoted lines, and is responsible for introducing us to the unforgettable Christie Brinkley. I have seen every one of the Vacation films both in the theater and numerous times on broadcast TV/cable and home video. I like them all but Vacation remains my favorite. It has lost some of its relevant luster but none of its nostalgic appeal. For me it’s a lovable comedy classic that will always have a home in my video collection.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, partial nudity, sensuality, and thematic content.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 76

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 82

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Vacation comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 1.1 Mbps.

This is a solid looking high def catalog release that presents this 30 year old film in a positive light. It boasts clean, slightly muted primary colors and a fair mix of earth tones and secondary hues that mate well with the film’s theme. I found little to complain about in terms of the overall quality of the video. Resolution is discerning with varying degrees of delineation. There is mild innate softness but beyond that sharpness is stable with fair clarity that enhances depth. Black levels are elevated and contrast is spot on which gives a fair amount of pop to colors and brighter exterior sequences while mildly washing out darker/low lit segments with no ill effects to shadow delineation. Grain is present and moderately textured. This is a pleasing video presentation that predominantly appears faithful to the film’s original elements.

** It should be noted that this VC-1 encoding appears to be the same one from the original 2010 Blu-ray release.**

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mono soundtrack is a one dimensional affair with all of the recorded elements emanating from the center channel. With a dialogue driven film such as this good vocal reproduction is essential. I was impressed with the quality of what I heard as the higher resolution handled the various sounds, music and vocal reproduction with defining detail, notable separation, and open expression. While this soundtrack is clearly dated I never found myself wanting more and thought it sounded quite good.

Bonus Features:

  • (2003) Introduction by Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, and Matty Simmons

  • Cast/Crew audio commentary

  • (HD) A&E Inside story: National Lampoon’s Vacation – 84 minute documentary

  • Theatrical trailer

Final Thoughts:

Vacation is one of those 80’s classic comedies that is beloved by the generation that grew up during its popularity. Penned by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis is truly epitomizes all that we love about the comedic films from the period. This 30th anniversary edition marks the film’s second foray onto Blu-ray. It features gratifying high definition audio/video and a fair that supplemental package that in addition to previously released material adds a new making of documentary containing lots of behind the scenes footage, production facts and recent interview of the cast/crew. If you already own the 2010 Blu-ray release the only difference here is the new documentary. Depending on your interests, that may be enough of a reason to upgrade. I found the documentary to be both interesting and fun. Either way Vacation on Blu-ray is a must have for fans.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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