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Movie Review: "Home Alone 3" (1997)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
During the production of "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York", director Chris Columbus had plans for a third film. Supposedly, it had something to do with Kevin babysitting a younger sibling. Beyond that, we never got to find out what exactly he planned to do with "Home Alone 3" because the studio executives stepped in and messed things up as usual. It wouldn't be long until it joined the likes of "RoboCop 3", "Alien 3", "Howling III: The Marsupials", "Halloween III: Season of the Witch", and many more failed third franchise entries.
"Home Alone 3" has zero connection to the first two movies, so I don't know why the number '3' applies to it. It's like taking a 'Home Alone' rip-off like "Baby's Day Out" and calling it "Home Alone 3". The character of Kevin McCallister and his family are gone, instead we get Alex and his family which is essentially a more condensed version of Kevin's.
The plot involves a stolen computer chip which gets mixed up at the airport and ends up at Alex's house inside a toy car. Enter the four new crooks which consist of three guys and one woman. Mind you, these villains seem to be modeled after henchmen from a 007 film. Oh and did I mention that John Hughes also wrote this one? I'm surprised this wasn't his last movie before he passed away, because it's just so bad.
Home Alone 3: The Spy Kid Who Loved Me
So after the 'Home Alone' stylized opening titles, the opening sequence takes place in none other than... Hong Kong, China! The next several minutes or so is akin to that of a James Bond movie. We're introduced to the bad guys, we learn about the computer chip, there's a shady business deal, yadda yadda. Wait a second, I thought this was "Home Alone 3"? This might as well be a 'Spy Kid' sequel.
What's the point of making a sequel to begin with if you're not going to stay true to the nature and universe of the other films in the series? Anyway, so the four idiots, I mean villains, put the chip inside of a remote-controlled toy car and go to the airport. But during the metal detector screening process, the bag gets mixed up because it turns out that many other people in the airport have the same type of shopping bag.
So what do they do next? They split up and look in every lounge and bathroom. After turning up with nothing, they automatically jump to the conclusion that whoever has their bag is on a plane to Chicago because it just so happens to be the only departing flight at that exact moment. Gee, what if the person who has the bag just left the airport and got into a cab?
Rinse and Repeat
All James Bond business aside, the big stinker in "Home Alone 3" is that its essentially a remake of the very first movie. Now, let's back up a little bit, one can argue that "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" is a clone of the first movie. To a certain extent, yes, "Home Alone 2" took the successful formula of the first movie but gave us a different set of circumstances.
Aside from that, even though "Home Alone 2" used the same formula, the return of the same cast and crew made it very likable. Chris Columbus returned to direct, John Williams did the music again, and Culkin was back as Kevin. I think these factors are much overlooked when it comes to criticizing "Home Alone 2". Sure, it's not "The Godfather: Part II" but it's not a terribly bad sequel.
Which brings us to "Home Alone 3" which can safely be considered as the first of two bad sequels in the series. "Home Alone 3" does not attempt to outdo the first two movies; instead, it tries to remake the very first one. Shall we point out the major ones?
- Set in a house within a Chicago suburb.
- Alex's older brother is a skinnier clone of Buzz, Kevin's older brother. Same haircut and all.
- Alex's mom is a clone of Kevin's mom, from her face right down to her eyes and hair color.
You Don't Score, Until You Score!
What the heck happened to the music in "Home Alone 3"? The first two 'Home Alone' movies were composed by the legendary John Williams himself, this third feature is composed by Nick Glennie-Smith. I find it hard for someone who worked with Hans Zimmer so much to suck so bad. Maybe he didn't like "Home Alone 3" and purposefully composed a bad score for the film?
Either way, the soundtrack for "Home Alone 3" doesn't elicit any heartfelt emotion from it like John Williams had previously done. Remember suspense music when Kevin had to rush back home to prepare the traps? Or how about when Kevin is reunited with his mom and family? We get nothing like that from the soundtrack of "Home Alone 3". It's just one big lame family movie attempting to cash in on a popular title.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- Alex's mom leaves Kevin home alone several times throughout this movie. The big question is why doesn't she have the big sister or brother babysit every now and then while she's away? I mean, apart from them having to be in school, was there really an excuse not to go this route? I know this wasn't possible in the first two 'Home Alone' movies because Kevin's entire family was away on vacation.
- How does Alex's pets know what he is saying to them? When did 'talking animal' films become involved with the 'Home Alone' series? I don't recall Kevin having a conversation with Buzz's tarantula.
Remedies for "Home Alone 3"
- Definitely ditch the whole computer chip/James Bond angle. That is not 'Home Alone' by a long shot.
- The recycling has to go, "Home Alone 3" should be "Home Alone 3" and not "Home Alone", period.
- Kevin babysitting a younger sibling sounded like a step in the right direction, I wonder what else Chris Columbus had up his sleeve for a third film?
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