Dick Van Dyke, the unaccountably American father of two very English children and theson of the equally English (and doddering) Lionel Jeffries, retools an abandoned early-1900s racecar into the gleaming, flying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Off they go on a series of adventures,most particularly involving the imaginary kingdom of Vulgaria. Based on a book by Ian Fleming,the creator of James Bond, the film is produced by Albert Broccoli (who also produced the Bondseries) and fea…ures (among others) Gert Frobe, Goldfinger himself. At 145 minutes, the film is,regrettably, a bloated slog with special effects that are often as mediocre as the songs. Get itgoing for the very little kids, then walk out of the room.
Quite the impressive 5.1 treatment for a 1968 film. The opening, with the sounds of an earlycar race over a blank screen, is incredible, with the cars most convincingly circling the room.There is some distortion now and then in the dialogue (which is constantly shouted with forcedwhimsy). The music sounds fine. It doesn’t have a huge rear speaker presence, but given the ageof the track, one can’t really complain. There are some surround effects, and while they aren’tstrong enough to create a fully immersive experience, they aren’t bad at all.
A spectacular print. No grain, no damage, no dirt, no edge enhancement. The picture isextremely sharp (which doesn’t always do the FX any favours, but there you are). The coloursare very bright, and the contrasts equally strong. This is a very fine looking transfer, and comes inboth fullscreen and 2.20:1 anamorphic widescreen ratios.
Quite a package of extras, though no audio commentary of any kind. Instead, Disc 1 has asing-along function (i.e. music and song only), along with a trailer for the stage musical. Disc2 is where the extras gather, leading off with a retrospective documentary featuring Dick VanDyke. Lots of ground is covered, but this is strictly from the Gosh-Everything-Was-So-Greatschool of documentaries. “A Fantasmagorical Motorcar” is a tour around the famous prop by thecurrent owner. An audio-only feature is 14 demos by the Sherman Brothers of their songs. Thereare 3 period featurettes, 2 trailers (one in French), 5 TV spots, a photo gallery, 8 trailers for otherfamily films. There’s also an on-screen read-along story book, and an actual 34-page booklet inthe packaging. Slip the disc into your DVD-ROM and there’s a colouring book to print out.Finally, there are 2 games, which I can’t help but feel will be considered tiresome by kids used toNintendo and the like. The menu’s main page, transitions and intro are fully animated andscored.
An extremely elaborate movie, but hard to sit through unless (I suspect) you formed anattachment to it at a very early age. At least Dick Van Dyke doesn’t try to do the awful Englishaccent he inflicted on audiences of Mary Poppins.
Special Features List
- “Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke” Documentary
- “A Fantasmagorical Motorcar” Documentary
- Sherman Brothers’ Demos
- 3 Vintage Featurettes
- Trailers and TV Spots
- Sing-Along Track
- Read-Along Storybook
- Photo Gallery
- 2 Games
- Colouring Book
- Bonus Trailers
- 34-Page Booklet