Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
After a long wait, MGM has finally released a two-disc special edition of this favorite family film, and while it may not be perfect, it sure comes awfully close. Presented in both pan-and-scan and 2.20:1 anamorphic versions (the original release was only pan-and-scan, losing too much of the picture) the transfer is simply wonderful. Colors are bright, while detail is outstanding. Restoration work has created a print which highlights everything that makes this film so fun to watch. Brief moments of scratches don't change the fact that the film looks so good. The 5.1 English soundtrack, the same used for the original release, is primarily based up front, but there are moments when the surrounds kick in. Overall, the audio is pleasantly full, and the musical numbers have never sounded better. The first disc, with the movie, also contains two supplements, a singalong option to add subtitles during the songs and a very brief look at the London stage musical version. While not the most comprehensive special edition, the supplements on the second disc are certainly worth singing about. Starting things off is a 18-minute interview with Dick Van Dyke recalling the making of the film. He's delightful as usual, but he comes across as somewhat dry. Also included are four featurettes. The first, "A Fantasmagorical Motorcar" is a rather silly look at the magical car hosted by his longtime owner, Pierre Picton. The other three are vintage pieces, "The Ditchling Tinkerer," an entertaining look at Roland Emett, who created the inventions in the film; "The Potts Children's Featurette," which gives a peek at the youngsters in their first film roles; and, finally, "Dick Van Dyke Press Interview," in which he is very charming and candid. A real find are the demo tapes made by the Sherman Brothers, which they sing themselves. Their early versions, though similar to the final product, are unique in their own way. Next up is a vintage advertising gallery which includes two trailers (one in French), five television spots, and a average photo gallery. Other features are more for the kids, including two games, "One Person's Junk is Another Person's Jalopy" and "Toot Sweet Special Delivery." Neither is particularly interesting, while the second might not even work depending on how the DVD remote is set up. Children may also find the four coloring book pages, printable from a DVD-ROM, interesting. Finally, along with a full-color book that is glued into the packaging and which tells the story of the film, are a batch of "previews" for other miscellaneous children's titles and a read-along that will appeal to the very youngest fans.