National Lampoon’s Vacation: 4K UHD Review

Just in time for its 40th anniversary, National Lampoon’s Vacation arrives on 4K UHD. The 1983 Harold Ramis’ directed comedy classic was also written by John Hughes, who also wrote Mr. Mom that same year. Of course, Hughes would go on to direct a slew of 80’s teen classics. While Ramis had given us Caddyshack a few years prior. Vacation spawned three sequels, a Cousin Eddie spin-off and a reboot. While each of the Chevy Chase sequels had their charms, none of them could match the comedy gold of the original (Although, Christmas Vacation fans may disagree).

Clark Griswold (Chase) hardly gets to spend time with his kids because of work. That is the main reason he wants to take his family on a road trip from Chicago to California to visit Wally World. Clark’s wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) thinks it would be easier for them just to fly, but Clark has his sights set on seeing the sights with his family. The Griswold children, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron) are not all that excited about the road trip either. It doesn’t help that Clark’s brand-new station wagon is a massive eye soar and drives about as bad as it looks. The trip turns out to be one disaster after another. What will run out first, Clark’s money or his sanity? It doesn’t help that they pick up an extra passenger during the visit with Cousin Eddie and Catherine (Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn respectively). Don’t worry though, mean old Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) and her vicious dog don’t survive the whole trip. Then of course there is the iconic Christie Brinkley and her red Ferrari.

Warner Bros. has delivered an impressive upgrade with the new HDR10 supported 4K presentation. While the 2013 Blu-ray wasn’t terrible, it left a lot to be desired. As a cross-country comedy, Vacation utilizes various locations. This is where the 4K presentation really shines. From the canyons to the countryside and even a downtown car dealership lot. Each location looks crisp and detailed. Not only that, the green on the Queen Family Truckster really pops. Something so ugly has never looked so beautiful. We get a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track that is serviceable. However, Lindsey Buckingham’s opening Holiday Road track still sounds amazing.

If you are a major Vacation fan and you want the best presentation of the film available, you won’t go wrong with this release.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron and Producer Matty Simmons

By: Marc Ferman