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NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION ($25) is the second installment in comic movie franchise featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo, which probably could have been subtitled The Griswolds Storm Europe, as the family of American vacationers do almost as much damage as WWII. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION opens with Clark (Chase) and Ellen (D'Angelo), plus children Rusty (Jason Lively) and Audrey (Dana Hill) appearing on a game show called Pig In A Poke, in which they accidentally defeat the reigning champions, resultung in their winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe. As always, Clark is gung-ho for the family vacation, which leads the family from disaster to disaster across Western Europe.

Starting off in England, Clark has difficulty navigating, while driving on the wrong side of the road, taking out obstacles, bicyclists and historic landmarks. In France, little dogs are far from safe, while Clark’s inability to speak the language saves him from a rude French waiter, but not a common thief. In Germany, the Griswolds invade the home of an elderly couple whom they mistake for distant relatives, after which Clark manages to start a riot at a local festival. Finally, in Italy, the family has their biggest adventure; encountering a thief who kidnaps Ellen, thus leaving Clark to make full use of his newly acquired "European driving skills" as he attempts to rescue his wife. The cast of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION also features John Astin, Paul Bartel, William Zabka, Robbie Coltrane, Eric Idle, Victor Lanoux and Moon Unit Zappa.

Warner Home Video has made NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION features a satisfying 1080p presentation that should tickle fans. Once again, this isn’t a big budget film, but it does look pretty good most of the time. Sharpness and image detail are pretty much on par with other quarter century old comedies. Close-ups and brightly lit shots look best. Longer shots and interiors come across somewhat softer and less defined, but nothing is out of sorts. Colors are bright and attractive, and maintain the eighties pallet quite well. Blacks are true, whites are crisp, while contrast and shadow detail appear just fine for this type of production. The elements from which NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION has been transferred are quite clean. There is some grain is present in the image, but never appears excessive.

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound is efficient, but unremarkable, despite the lossless encoding. The music sounds ok, but the monaural production flattens it out. Sound effects are likewise on the flat side, but fidelity never hampers the sight gags upon which this film depends. Dialogue is crisply rendered and generally easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital monaural tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a running Audio Commentary with Chevy Chase.

While probably the weakest installment in the franchise, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION does provide laughs and chuckles on a regular basis. The Blu-ray presentation is quite nice and will make fans happy. Personally, I am looking forward to the Blu-ray release of VEGAS VACATION.


National Lampoon's European Vacation [Blu-ray] (1985)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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