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Warner Bros brings holiday classics to 4K                                   review by Bobby Blakey

There are so many films out there that have found their way into the classification of holiday classics across all the genres. This year Warner Bros is bringing four of their beloved films that have cemented themselves in the classic category to 4K for the first time with A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Polar Express and Elf.  Of course these films have been seen and reviewed countless times so let’s revisit them to see how they still hold up and if the 4K is really worth it.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation follows Clark Griswold who wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen, and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie, and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark's employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.


I have always loved this film and while it is a part of a franchise with the other National Lampoon vacation movies it stands all on its own as the best of them all. There are just so many great moments that perfectly capture the insanity of the family Christmas gathering times a thousand. The entire cast are perfection with William Hickey’s Uncle Lewis and Mae Questel’s Aunt Bethany being my favorites. Chase is front and center here leading the charge with no doubt his best film in my opinion until Randy Quaid shows up and steals the show.


Everything about this movie delivers and the kind of film that you can watch over and over. It never stops being funny if you are a fan and has cemented itself as not just a classic holiday film, but a classic comedy period.

ELF follows the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Years later Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity.


Elf is one that shouldn’t work and if you have seen the episode of The Movies That Made Us then you know that it almost didn’t work and most didn’t have high hopes for it. Here we are all these years later and it stands on its own gigantic elf feet to be a hilarious film that connects to all ages. The pairing of Ferrell and the late brilliant James Caan is what makes this film work as they just don’t go together. Add to that a film that is pretty ridiculous in idea and they created a Christmas miracle.


This is yet another holiday masterpiece with quotable lines, laughs, heart and everything in between. It never fails to bring a smile to my face in all its just dumb fun and clever writing that elevates to something way more special than you might have expected, but no doubt now love.

The Polar Express follows a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.


Of the four films they have released this might be my least favorite, but not because it’s not good. It is a film that was a head of its time in a lot of ways and benefits the most from the 4K platform as it looks amazing. Despite it being a great movie with a great cast it just never fully connected with me for some reason. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy it, but its not one that I revisit all that often.


Love it or hate it the animation here is outstanding and loos gorgeous in this format. I know this film has its fans and this is the perfect format to watch the film to give it the impact it deserves.

A Christmas Story follows a seven-year-old boy, who only wants one thing for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun in a Midwestern town in the 1940s. This tale chronicles not only his schemes to convince his mother and father to buy him one, but also offers a warmly nostalgic look into 1940s middle-class American life. From the stories of, and narrated by, Jean Shepherd.

Of all the films here this is my all-time favorite. I love everything about this timeless classic, but also know it can wear on some especially with it being unescapable during the Christmas holiday. The story and jokes never get old and I look forward to it every year. I have a specific rule to not watch this movie at all throughout the year except of the month of December, but this great looking 4K edition might make me rethink that stance.

Like the others this film has been released in varying formats previously, but with the official sequel A Christmas Story Christmas getting ready to premiere on HBO MAX this is the perfect time for this classic to get the 4K treatment.

All four of these films are worthy of their holiday classic status and will no doubt be even more popular with them all hitting 4K for the first time. Each of them not only offer up the films in glorious 4K, but also numerous bonus features including commentaries, gag reels, deleted scenes, featurettes and so much more.

Grab your copy of Polar Express, A Christmas Story, ELF and National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation available now on 4K from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.  

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