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Movie Review: "Home Alone 3"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Home Alone 3

Theatrical Release: 12/12/1997

Theatrical Release: 12/12/1997

Synopsis

Alex (Alex D. Linz) is not your ordinary kid. He is a young, aspiring inventor, and he tries to be a good Samaritan. He shovels driveways for neighbors after snow storms to make a little extra money, and Mrs. Hess (Marian Seldes) is one such neighbor. After an airport mix-up resulted in her losing her bag, she ended up with an RC car. Rather than give the young Alex money for shoveling, she decides to give him the RC car that she accidentally picked up at the airport.

Little does anyone realize, the other party involved in the airport mix-up was a group of terrorists. They had in their possession a $10 million chip that is used to cloak missiles. They knew they could not just walk through an airport with the chip in plain sight, so they purchased an RC car and hid the chip inside the car. After the airport mix-up, the terrorist group has tracked the RC car to Alex's neighborhood. The group plans on checking houses in the day while no one is home, but the young inventor is home sick during this particular weak. He notices the group checking houses, knows it is only a matter of time before they try to check his own house, and knows the police will never believe him, so he decides to invent a number of booby traps to catch the criminals.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

The Kid (+4pts)

Realism (-4pts)

The Traps (+5pts)

The Antagonists (-5pts)

The Neighbor (+2pts)

Predictable (-4pts)

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Pro: The Kid (+4pts)

I cannot imagine the dilemma that the filmmakers had when trying to find a new kid for Home Alone 3. I am not going to suggest that Macaulay Culkin is the only one who could do this role, but he was perfect for it and did such a great job that it is almost impossible to do it better than he did. Could someone else do it as well as he did? Sure, but I cannot imagine anyone doing it better.

However, the filmmakers needed a new kid for Home Alone 3 and they ended up with Alex D. Linz. Do I think he was as great as Macaulay Culkin in the role? No, but I think that is an unfair comparison, as Macaulay Culkin also had a better script behind him. Alex D. Linz had an entertaining personality that made it easy to go along with his character’s unrealistic intelligence. A lot of what the character was doing was unbelievable, as you can imagine if you have seen either of the previous two movies. Nonetheless, Alex D. Linz was an entertaining young actor that made his actions more believable than they otherwise would have been. You do not believe that an ordinary kid would be able to do what he does, but you believe that this kid can, and the performance by Alex D. Linz was the reason for that.

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Con: Realism (-4pts)

While you are invested in a movie, it is easy to go along with what is happening. However, characters in this movie consistently do things that make you take a step back and realize how ridiculous this whole premise is. Almost everything that happens in this movie is unrealistic. From the kids ingenuity to the parent’s poor parenting, and from the antagonists incredibly stupid decision-making to the brother’s bird, there ended up being little about this movie that was realistic.

Knowing the type of movie, I am somewhat forgiving of this issue, as that is what you should expect from a movie like this one. However, in order to be invested in what is happening, the things that are taking place on screen have to be realistic to some degree. This allows the audience to put themselves in the character's shoes, and therefore gets the audience invested in what is happening on screen. Unfortunately, that was not the case with this movie. I expected that I would need to suspend my disbelief to some extent. However, the extent to which I needed to do it here ended up taking me out of the movie and hurt my ability to get invested in the story.

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Pro: The Traps (+5pts)

If you imagine a sequel to Home Alone, you naturally expect more silly traps, set by a child. In that respect, this movie did not disappoint. As I have said before, the realism in this movie was thrown completely out the window, but the traps were as silly as you would expect them to be. There was ice, a trampoline, electricity, and just a ton of toys and household items being used in ridiculous ways. Some of these traps were far more realistic than others, with none of them being very realistic at all, but they were moderately entertaining anyway. There is no way this child could have set all of this up by himself with such little time, and there is also no way adults would have fallen for these traps so easily. However, the traps were silly, surprising, and provided enough mild comedy to keep me going.

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Con: The Antagonists (-5pts)

I have already touched on this a couple times in this review, so I will keep this one brief. The antagonists in this movie were just a bunch of plot devices running around. Their plan at the airport was stupid in the most convenient way (for the filmmakers), and their idiocy was just as convenient, as there is no way any adult should have fallen into so many traps so easily. I was not going into this movie expecting well-written antagonists by any stretch of the imagination, but the degree of lazy filmmaking that surrounded these characters was truly special, and made for a group of weak antagonists. In a movie like this one, you need to believe that the antagonists are dangerous and intimidating, and in this movie, that was not the case.

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Pro: The Neighbor (+2pts)

I expected this character to be nothing more than your typical mean old lady in a kids movie. She is the neighbor of the main character, and is just generally grumpy. Meanwhile the main character is kind and always tries to do the right thing. I liked the dynamic between these two characters, and I liked what the filmmakers did with their relationship throughout the movie. I know you are reading this, praying that I do not spoil this minor plot point in a 22-year-old movie for you, so do not worry, I will not say anything more about it. Just know that I liked what the filmmakers did with this character and her relationship with the main character.

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Predictable (-4pts)

There is not much to say here, other than the fact that this movie was incredibly predictable. Some of the traps were surprising, but it was just really easy to see where the entire plot was going. At the beginning of the movie, we see the antagonist’s airport screw up. From there, I had a guess how the entire plot of the movie would go, and It went exactly as I expected it to, with no twists along the way. It was simply a lazily thrown together plot.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C- (73pts)

Was this movie able to recapture the magic of the first movie? No, but it was not without its strengths. Alex D. Linz did a decent job in the lead role, and made the premise as believable as he could have. I also enjoyed the relationship between the kid and his mean old lady neighbor, and liked seeing how that relationship progressed throughout the movie. The traps laid out by the main character were silly, and moderately entertaining, but realism ended up being one of this movie’s biggest issues.

Now I did not go into this movie expecting an accurate representation of what would happen if you leave a kid home alone. There needed to be some lack of realism for the sake of entertainment, but the filmmakers went overboard. The extent of the lack of realism made for ineffective antagonists that behaved very conveniently for the writers, and traps that simply could not have been set in the amount of time that the main character had. Then there was the super predictable plot that will leave you knowing how the entire movie will play out after the opening scene. There were some things that I liked about the movie, but the writing was either poor or non-existent and made for a generic, sub-par movie.