The Great Movie Re-Watch
Dick Van Dyke
Sally Ann Howes
A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.
After my re-watch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I believe it’s not a movie I need to own. I enjoy it, but there’s nothing extraordinary about it. What makes me keep it is the heaps of nostalgia I have attached to it. It was one of maybe fifteen movies that I owned growing up, and I watched it so many times that it will forever be embedded in my mind. I could sing all of the songs even though I can’t remember the last time I watched it.
One of my favorite parts is the machine that cooks breakfast. It always fascinated me, and I’d always try and figure out how it worked. It was still fun to watch, even though now I’m about 99% sure it couldn’t work. There’s still that part of me that wants it to.
The songs are excellent and fun to sing. Dick Van Dyke was a pleasure to watch and, thankfully, didn’t try to do a British accent.
This was a book adaption and did not follow the book very closely. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books. It was apparently a story that he told to his children. Reading Wikipedia, it looks like Roald Dahl worked on the movie script, which was something I didn’t know. I’m not sure how much of his version was kept since the director said he had to rewrite it. Still, it’s kind of cool that Dahl, a famous children’s story author, worked on this script.
Reviews on release were positive, but it sounds like 1968 was a dark year for movies. I haven’t checked to see what was released, but it was mentioned a couple of times. Later reviews were also positive, but it’s somehow got a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another sign that sites algorithms are garbage.
It didn’t make money on the initial release, but it seems like no movies did back then. Whether that was manipulative accounting practices or it was an actual loss, it doesn’t sound like it was considered a flop at the time.
I didn’t try watching this with my children, though, I did have it on in the background. The beginning held their focus, but it was too long for them. It was too long for me and could have easily had a couple of scenes cut entirely.
Anyway, I’ll be keeping Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, though I won’t be watching it again anytime soon.