Children’s Movie

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Directors:

Robert Stevenson

Ward Kimball

Writers:

Ralph Wright

Ted Berman

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Ken Anderson

Starring:

Angela Lansbury

David Tomlinson

Blurb:

An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.

Thoughts:

I remember Bedknobs and Broomsticks fondly. It’s not a movie that I’ve seen often, but it made a big enough impact on me that I bought it when I saw it for sale. I’ve watched it once since then and still enjoyed it, but that’s been years and years ago (it’s a DVD to give you an idea). While talking with some friends, I discovered that they had the same experience. They’d seen it, liked it, but didn’t remember much if anything about it, just that they liked it.

It’s based on a book, of course. Disney purchased the rights when they had issues getting Mary Poppins and then Bedknobs was set aside when they finally did get Poppins. It seems like it did well at the time, though it was compared to Mary Poppins in reviews. I looked to see if there was a blu-ray available on Amazon and it appears to only be on streaming and DVD, so I guess it never made it to blu-ray. It’s not a movie that’s gotten a lot of love and I wonder if it’s because of the witch element.

After my re-watch, I still enjoy it, but since it’s on Disney+, I don’t feel the need to own it. There was a very long singing and dancing number that had some questionable representation. It also felt a bit like Mary Poppins, though, that could have been that one of the main actors was from that film. After reading the Wikipedia entry it sounds like at least one song originally written for Mary Poppins was included in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

By far, the best scene in the movie was the battle at the end. It was so bonkers ridiculous, and amazing. That part alone made me almost keep the film. Still, as I said, it’s a DVD, and Disney+ has it available, and it doesn’t seem likely to be taken down.

I just want to add, Angela Lansbury is a treasure, and every time I see her, I think of Murder She Wrote and want to watch it. Plus, she was Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, the best Disney movie ever! (Maybe not ever, but definitely up there)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Director:

Ken Hughes

Writers:

Roald Dahl

Ken Hughes

Richard Maibaum

Starring:

Dick Van Dyke

Sally Ann Howes

Lionel Jeffries

Gert Fröbe

Anna Quayle

Blurb:

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.

Thoughts:

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.

Mary Poppins (1964)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Mary Poppins (1964)

Director:

Robert Stevenson

Writers:

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Starring:

Julie Andrews

Dick Van Dyke

David Tomlinson

Glynis Johns

Hermione Baddeley

Reta Shaw

Karen Dotrice

Matthew Garber

Blurb:

In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.

Thoughts:

Mary Poppins was one of just a handful of VHS tapes that I had growing up. I watched it many, many, many times. Upon recent viewing, I discovered I’ve watched it so many times I could fall asleep during it. My children were less inclined and quickly got bored; if their past obsession with Blippi is any indication they have no taste.

I love the songs in Mary Poppins. I enjoy them more than any other older Disney movie except maybe The Little Mermaid. I was never a huge fan of the animation in Poppins, I thought it was odd, but unlike P.L. Travers, I don’t hate it with the passion of a thousand suns.

I read at least the first two Marry Poppins books when I was a child and didn’t enjoy them as much as the movie. Mary Poppins wasn’t very friendly, and since my first experience with the character was the film and Julie Andrews, I wasn’t impressed. I like my Mary with a spoonful of sugar.

P.L. Travers sounds like an interesting person, despite her opinions of the movie. She was a Shakespearian actor, wrote poetry, traveled a lot, and met some fascinating people. She also seemed a bit controlling, not just of her written works. Reading her Wikipedia entry, I learned that she adopted a son but never told him he had siblings, including a twin brother. He didn’t find out about his twin until they showed up on his doorstep, demanding to see him. Travers sent the twin away, argued with her son, and he stormed out and searched out his twin. Family drama is entertaining when it’s happening to another family.

I watched Mary Poppins Returns at some point during my review hiatus. Since I barely remember it, I don’t think I was impressed. I am a fan of the actors, though, so that’s disappointing. I have yet to watch Saving Mr. Banks. I plan to one day and just haven’t gotten around to it.

All in all, another great movie that I’m happy to own. It survived the great Disney purge of 2020 in my house. So that’s saying a lot.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Director:

Andrew Adamson

Starring:

Tilda Swinton

Georgie Henley

William Moseley

Skandar Keyes

Anna Popplewell

James McAvoy

Plot:

Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

Review:

I saw this in theaters. I was a bit apprehensive because I loved the book series as a child, but I ended up loving this and was excited for the series. I ended up hating the next movies, and I’ll probably not watch them again to write a review.

Anyway, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the story of four children escaping a world war to a house in the country. Unbeknown to them the house holds a portal to a magical world. It’s a sweet and amazing story, with father Christmas, a talking Lion that will save them all, and an evil white witch.

This is a children’s movie. You could talk about the heavy Christian symbolism and the lack of any racial representation, and it does, actually, bother me more watching it older, but it’s a kids movie. Kids save the day. Kids rule the world. It’s a fun movie, though, not as enjoyable as it once was.

3/5

Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Director:

Kyle Balda

Pierre Coffin

Eric Guilon

Starring:

Steve Carell

Kristen Wiig

Trey Parker

Plot:

Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.

Review:

Gru, Steve Carell, and Lucy, Kristen Wiig, are working on getting into the groove of a married couple and in the case of Lucy a mom. Things of course are never easy and they get fired from the job they love. Then Gru finds out he’s got a twin brother and things go from there.

I freaking loved Balthazar Bratt, Trey Parker, as the villain. The 80s music and clothes, the mullet and balding spot at the top of his head, it was all perfect. So funny!

I didn’t like the Minions movie, but I thought this was a return to what made Despicable Me 2 so good. I really liked it and my daughter enjoyed it too.

4/5