The best feature in the film was an accident
One of Home Alone’s best features – the grueling stunts – was a crash, as the back-up “bonus cam” became the crew’s primary camera.
Some of Home Alone’s best features are the result of happy accidents, a recent Netflix documentary revealed. When released in 1990, director Chris Columbus knew he had made a good movie, but not the classic modern audiences who have come to know and love. Since then, fans around the world have repeatedly watched Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin, outsmart potential thieves Harry and Marv, played by Joe Pesci and David Stern.
Coming one year later Die hard, it seemed audiences were inspired by the unlikely new kind of hero – the kind who used their brains rather than muscles. Kevin did this throughout the film, as the many injuries Harry and Marv suffered felt more like carefully choreographed accidents than Rambostyle erasures. Kevin used all kinds of tricks, like a swinging paint bucket, frozen steps, smart shadows, and a face iron.
The latter is the result of a happy shooting accident, that of Netflix The films that made us documentary unveiled. Sure, Alone at home was released before mainstream CGI use, so there was no padding for stunt performers, leaving a small margin for error. This created additional pressure for the team and senior cinematographer Julio Macat in particular. Macat wanted a save for his wide shot if the shot could only be done once. This backup, known as the bonus camera, or as Macat called it, “the chicken **** cam“was the smallest camera available. But director Chris Columbus and his crew quickly realized it captured the grainy, fast, funny, low-to-the-ground style. Alone at home was famous for better than anything they used, so it quickly became Macat’s main tool.
One of the film’s iconic moments – where an iron descends from a drop directly into Marv’s face – was captured using the bonus camera. Macat simply tied the camera to a rope and let it fly down the chute, making it look like an iron was indeed flying towards Marv. Macat managed to reserve the grainy style Alone at home audiences quickly got to know and love without spending more money on a film that was already over budget. With that, bonus cam “became a star. “
In addition, the house Alone didn’t have the luxury of modern visual effects, but instead relied on fearless stuntmen and an accidental piece of cinematic magic. Much like Kevin and his battle plan, the bonus camera was an underdog. Macat only used the bonus camera because he was afraid of ruining his new job. Yet despite an accidental departure, the bonus camera has become one of the Alone at homebecause, like Kevin, the team were constantly trying to find new ways to make things happen by working with what they had.
In light of the Alone at home reboot, it will be interesting to see if Disney can capture the style Fox achieved 31 years ago. Compared to the original, filmmakers now have the luxury of CGI, huge budgets, more secure sets, and more room for error, although films are still expensive to make. It was this small margin the size of an accident that gave rise to one of the Alone at home‘its best features, which makes it one of the best Christmas movies of all time, after all. More than that, however, it highlighted just how easy the process of making a movie is never. Accidents happen, and it can be a good thing.
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