Best Holiday Movie Moments to Experience in Surround Sound
Those extra channels of audio really bring these scenes to life.
The holidays are a special time of year, and watching seasonal movies with your family can make them even more special. There’s no better way to enjoy a movie than in the comfort of your home, especially if you’ve got a large-screen TV and a surround sound system under the control of a full-featured AV receiver like the Yamaha RX-V2A or RX-V6A, both of which provide support for up to 7.2 channels of audio.
Here are some scenes from classic films that take advantage of surround sound to make the experience truly immersive. Time to grab a glass of eggnog and have some holiday fun!
Home Alone – Staircase Scene and Ensuing Chase
When two bumbling burglars (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) try to break into the home of Kevin, an eight year-old played by Maccaulay Culkin, they realize they picked the wrong place. Left alone by mistake over the holiday season as his family travels, Kevin goes into full defense mode against the crooks and delivers some serious payback when they try to go upstairs to get him. Afterwards, the chase is on but Kevin outwits them every time. Check out the staircase scene here and the chase scene here.
Gremlins – Gizmo to the Rescue
This classic originates from the folklore of mischievous creatures called “gremlins” that the British Royal Air Force attributed as being the cause of equipment failures during World War II. The premise of this film is that a boy receives a pet creature, called a mogwai, as a holiday gift from his dad and names it Gizmo. Unfortunately, it spawns and transforms its offshoots into tiny evil monsters that wreak havoc. In this scene, Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) speeds around in a toy car as he takes on one of the gremlins as it tries to spawn more of his evil brethren in a water fountain. The full-on action soundtrack fills your surround speakers with exciting audio as the two creatures zip around and battle it out. Check it out here.
Love, Actually – Airport Scene
In this 2003 Golden Globe®-nominated romantic comedy, the ensemble cast presents ten different stories about ten aspects of love, many of which interlink their characters. With the likes of Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson and Emma Thompson, the twists and turns are an adventure into seasonal fun. In this scene, Daniel (Liam Neeson) convinces his young stepson Sam to catch the girl he loves at the airport before she flies home for the holidays. Eluding security, Sam finally meets up with her right before she boards, leading to a classic warm-hearted cinematic moment. Check it out here.
The Polar Express – Back on Track
If you’re looking for a scene that will really make your surround speakers shine, check out this one from the beloved animated action adventure. Set on the night of Christmas Eve, a boy who is skeptical about Santa Claus ends up on the Polar Express train bound for the North Pole. The excitement builds as the train accelerates off the tracks into a frozen lake at high speeds and eventually finds its way back onto the rails with some help from the crew. Check it out here.
Elf – Buddy Discovers New York City
This one always puts a smile on my face! Here, a wide-eyed Buddy (Will Farrell) finds himself in the Big Apple experiencing a whole new world of sight and sound as the classic Louie Prima song “Pennies from Heaven” plays in the background, supplemented by a symphony of New York City street sounds. The combination of laughter and naivete is infectious as you watch Buddy hopping across the middle of a midtown street in sheer joy, or discovering himself in a revolving door and creating endless circles. Check it out here.
Disney and Pixar Animations Studios’ new feature film “Soul” has lots of great surround sound. The film introduces Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is playing jazz, and he’s good. But when he finds himself in another realm helping someone else find their passion, he discovers what it truly means to have soul. Check out the trailer here. Stream Disney & Pixar’s Soul on Disney+.
Die Hard – Rooftop Scene
In this classic 1988 action film, police detective John McClain (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife in Los Angeles over the holidays and somehow finds himself in the middle of a terrorist takeover of a skyscraper. This rooftop scene is full-tilt surround sound excitement as helicopters zoom by, with gunshots and explosions going off all around you. Check it out here.
Trading Places – I Can See!
This 1983 comedy tells the story of a commodities broker (Dan Akroyd) and a street hustler (Eddie Murphy) whose lives are unwittingly swapped in a high-level bet between two rich brothers made at a holiday party. In this hilarious scene, Murphy rolls down the street on a cart pretending to be a blind man begging for money when discovered by two street cops who call his bluff. Check it out here.
Krampus – Krampus Arrives
Does your family enjoy horror films? If so, they may want to check out this one, based on a Krampus, a character from Austro-Bavarian folklore who punishes those who have lost the holiday spirit. The action revolves around a dysfunctional family that gathers three days before Christmas and mocks one member over his belief in Santa Claus. In this scene, Krampus arrives on a snowy, stormy night to confront them, making his presence known with total sonic attitude! Check it out here.
Image of Soul courtesy of Disney.
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