“Home Alone 2: Lost In New York”
Music By John Williams
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1232
Disc 1: 19 Tracks/Disc Time: 54:09
Disc 2: 21 Tracks/Disc Time: 58:37
While Winter is almost over officially tomorrow and with winter making one last blast with a storm here in the NYC area, it’s only fitting that I’m working on a review for Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Last year marked the 20th Anniversary of the film which was a much bigger hit than the original, but in all honesty was not as great as the original film which was charming and had its’ moments of pure fun and energy. The sequel brings back Kevin MacAllister (Macualay Culkin) this time a little older and of course, going through the motions with his brother Buzz and his frenetic parents (Catherine O’Hara and John Heard) and relatives. After protecting his home in the original film from the “Wet Bandits” Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), this time around Kevin and his family are planning a trip to Florida when during another airport rush much like the first film, Kevin takes the wrong flight and ends up in New York City. Kevin ventures into large, strange metropolis checking into the Plaza hotel with a suspicious Concierge (Tim Curry) and his merry band of bellhop fools. Kevin befriends a kindly owner (Eddie Brackin) of a toy store (FAO Schwartz doubling as it) and a homeless lady (Brenda Fricker), who share Kevin’s enthusiasms for Christmas. His little holiday is interrupted when the “Wet Bandits” arrive in town after getting out of jail, Their latest plan is to rob the toy store of its’ holiday donations which are going to be given to needy children. When Kevin finds out about their nefarious plan, he sets in motion another one of his booby trap ridden plans that will them begging to go back to jail.
The film, at least in my view was a little to dark at times to enjoy but the best and major aspect of this film was the music of Academy Award Winner John Williams, who happily returned to score the sequel after enjoying the success of the original film. Williams wrote a charming and fun score for the original Home Alone film that is amongst all of the more popular scores in Williams’ career. While this score does feature some of the same charming material from the original film, Williams’ expands the Home Alone universe with some more material that does add an extra dimension to the score. Those added dimensions do add some nice variety but in the end, it ultimately becomes somewhat of a repeat to the original score with better moments to be quite honest. “Main Title” opens with sprinklings of “Somewhere In My Memory” which leads into a touch of dark material as the “Wet Bandits” theme emerges back to a confident coda of “Somewhere”. The basis of the new score themewise is the wonderful “Christmas Star” (“Distant Goodnights”) which is to me one is definitely the best thing about this new score and it plays brilliantly as Kevin prepares a new trap for the two bungling “Wet Bandits” (“Christmas Star/Prepairing The Trap”), that children’s chorus really does get to me. The other theme that Williams introduces is to that of a seemingly dangerous Pidgeon Lady (“Appearance Of The Pidegeon Lady”) who is actually a more tender character than you see her at first. The full of extent of her tenderness is shown through Williams’ special track “Christmas At Carnegie Hall” to which she and Kevin share her story and he perfectly captures their new bond.
The rest of the score is pretty much familiar ground with expanded new material starting with the rambuncious “We Overslept Again/Holiday Flight” which is a fun, and energetic piece which is almost classical in nature underscoring the plight of the MacAllister family racing to get to their flight to Florida. Williams’ underscores Kevin’s adventures in the big city with some nice peppy material in “Arrival in New York”, “Plaza Hotel”, “A Day in the City”, and “Duncan’s Toy Store” which is similar to Kevin’s misadventures in his house in Home Alone. Williams also underscores some of the slapstick based chase scenes involving the Wet Bandits with the same pep as the Kevin’s musical big city adventures with “To The Plaza, Presto” and “Race To The Room”, which are alot of fun leading into the latter half of the score where Kevin unleashes his plan to thwart the bumbling crooks once and for all (“Another Christmas In The Trenches”, “Running Through Town”, “Luring The Thieves”, “Kevin’s Booby Traps” and “Down The Rope/Into The Park”). This sequence which Williams’ scores masterfully as he usually does, added a bigger punch orchestrially than the previous score and it really does succeed in that regard. Williams’ tender finale of the film where Kevin and his mom (like the first film) are reunited at Rockerfeller Center (“Reunion At Rockerfeller Center” and “Finale”) plays much like the original film, but has a little more punch. Williams’ ends the score with the rousing and fun holiday treat “We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Traditional) / Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” as only he could with pure joy.
La-La Land’s album is a reissue of the original Varese Sarabande Club CD had been out of print for a long long time and fans of the score have been wanting to see it reissued since it sold out. This version is remastered and features the same material as the Varese version with a few extras that were left off but not as significant to be quite honest. There is a little more pep to this CD and for those who missed out on the original Varese CD, this set is well worth the price. My main issue besides the lengthy running time of over 100 minutes, is that the music is a bit repetitive and much in keeping with the original Home Alone score too much. I honestly love the new material like “Christmas Star” and the Plaza Hotel material, but it just really wore me down a bit too much. Still, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York is a fun score for what it is and it’s a charming holiday treat that works on all levels. Recommended with reservations of running time.