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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.

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 can be 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 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. He notices the group checking houses, he knows it is only a matter of time before they try to check his own house, and he knows the police will never believe him, so he starts setting up with a number of booby traps to catch the criminals.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

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 have done his role, but he was perfect for it and he did such a great job that it was inevitable that any replacement would be compared to him. Could someone else do it as well as he did? Sure, but he set the bar pretty high.

The filmmakers needed a new kid for Home Alone 3 and they ended up with Alex D. Linz. I did not think he was as great as Macaulay Culkin, 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, which 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 who made his characters' actions more believable than they otherwise would have been. I did not believe that any kid would have been able to do what he did, but I bought that this character could, and I think the performance by Alex D. Linz was the primary 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, the characters in this movie consistently did things that took me out of the movie. Almost everything that happened in this movie was unrealistic. From the kids ingenuity to the parent’s poor parenting, and from the antagonists incredibly stupid decision-making to the brother’s bird. With all of those things, there ended up being little about this movie that was realistic. Knowing the type of movie this was, I am somewhat forgiving of this issue, as that was what anyone should expect from a movie like this one. I expected that I would need to suspend my disbelief to some extent, but the extent to which I needed to do it here ended up taking me out of the movie consistently, hurting 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 would 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 regardless of their realism. There is no way a child could set all of this up by themselves with such little time, and there is also no way an adult would fall for these traps so easily. Nonetheless, the traps were silly, surprising, and they provided enough mild comedy to keep me going.

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Con: The Antagonists (-5pts)

The antagonists in this movie were just a bunch of walking, talking plot devices. Their plan at the airport was stupid in the most convenient way—for the writers—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 means, but the degree of lazy filmmaking that surrounded these characters was truly special, and it made for a group of weak antagonists. In a movie like this one, you need to believe the antagonists are dangerous, and in this movie, they we’re too silly to be taken seriously.

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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 was the neighbor of the main character, and she was just generally grumpy. Meanwhile, the main character was the kind of person who always tried 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 any more. Just know that I liked what the filmmakers did with this character and her relationship with the boy.

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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 really easy to see where the entire plot was going. At the beginning of the movie, we saw the antagonist’s airport screw up. From there, I had a guess as to how the entire plot of the movie would go. The movie then went pretty much exactly as I expected it to, with literally no twists or turns along the way, and that was pretty disappointing.

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 he made the premise as believable as he could have. I also enjoyed the relationship between the kid and his mean old lady neighbor, and I liked seeing how that relationship progressed throughout the movie. The traps set and by the main character were silly, and moderately entertaining, but realism—or lack thereof—ended up being one of this movie’s biggest issues.

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 here. They delivered ineffective antagonists that behaved very conveniently for the writers, and traps that simply could not have been conceived by a child and that could not have been set in the amount of time that the main character had. Then there was the plot so predictable that you will likely know how the entire movie will play out after only a few minute see. There were some things that I liked about the movie, but the writing was either poor or non-existent and it made for a generic, sub-par movie.

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