Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo,Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, French DTS 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Italian DTS 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1, Spanish (Castilian) DTS 5.1, Spanish (Latin American) Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
- Subtitles: English SDH, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Turkish
- Rating: G
- Region: A (B? C?)
- Discs: 2 (1x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: 20th Century Fox/MGM
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 1, 2011
- List Price: $34.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Perhaps a lot of people don’t know, but Ian Fleming, the creator of 007, wrote a children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 1968, Hollywood brought that book to life in a grand musical starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes. The fantastical musical was nearly guaranteed to be a success with a screenplay by children’s writer Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Fantastic Mr. Fox) and songs by the songwriting brothers Richard and Robert Sherman.
The story is about eccentric inventor Caractus Potts (Van Dyke) and his two children (Heather Ripley and Adrian Hall), all three of them with a wild and vivid imagination. Potts saves an old car that his children want from the junk heap and refurbishes it into a gleaming motorcar. Together with a pretty lady who has a delicious name, Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), the daughter of a local candy making tycoon, the four go on a fantastical adventure in the car, named Chitty for the sound it makes. The magical car, as the passengers soon find out, can float on water like a boat and even fly! Soon an evil baron and his clueless minions are hunting them down to steal Chitty. Their adventure takes them all the way to the baron’s country of Vulgaria, a world turned upside down, where all the adults behave like children, and the children are all locked away in a dungeon.
The film features wonderfully playful musical numbers and memorable songs (I still have “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stuck in my head). It’s a splendid and colorful production from the waning days of the big Hollywood musical. It’s one of the best examples, alongside The Sound of Music, from the era.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was originally filmed in 65mm using the Super Panavision 70 process for projection in the 70mm format. As such, one would expect a very clean, high resolution image with a fine grain structure when transferring to HD. The 2.20:1 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding does not disappoint. Chitty Chitty just sparkles in this new high definition transfer from MGM/20th Century Fox. The image is clean, detailed, and free from intrusive artifacts. The grain structure is consistent and very fine, but there is enough there to impart a film-like look. Colors are bright and flesh tones are natural. This is reference quality stuff through and through.
The soundtrack has been remixed to 7.1 and encoded losslessly in DTS-HD Master Audio. It greatly expands the depth and staging of instrumentation with just the right amount of ambience and low frequency support in the LFE. The opening credit sequence even features some fun, discrete panning of engine sounds in a circular motion around the room. This is a good reworking of the original soundtrack, but for those purists, an English Dolby 2.0 Stereo version of the original soundtrack is also provided. The stereo panning does not seem as wide and the high frequencies are a bit duller in the 2.0 version, but it is still effective.
The disc is loaded with new and vintage featurettes featuring the stars and filmmakers plus some great interactive features that will be fun for the whole family.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Sing-Along – Play the film in sing-along mode or sing-along with each of the songs featured in the film individually.
- Music Machine – Jump directly to the musical performances throughout the film.
- Chitty Chitty’s, Bang Bang Driving Game – Steer Chitty through the course without crashing on the way to the finish line.
- Toot Sweet Toots Musical Maestro – An in-movie memory game featuring candy and the film’s candy making machine.
- Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:25.58) – The actor reminisces on his time working on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; featuring lots of stills and clips from the film.
- A Fantasmagorical Motorcar (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:09.44) – The current owner of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, Pierre Piction (Pierre the Clown) speaks of the film and owning the car.
- Sherman Brothers’ Demos – MGM Archivists uncovered this rare demonstration tape of Richard and Robert Sherman performing their songs for the motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Vintage Featurettes:
- The Ditchling Tinkerer (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:10.07) – A real-life Caractus Potts in Ditchling England is spotlighted in this vintage featurette.
- Dick Van Dyke Press Interview (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:08.48)
- The Potts Children’s Featurette (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:03.06) – The two young stars tell of how Van Dyke kept them entertained on set between takes.
- Photo Gallery (1080p/24)
- Vintage Advertising Gallery:
- Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
- French Version Theatrical Trailer (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- TV Spot #1 (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- TV Spot #2 (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- TV Spot #3 (1.33:1; 480i/60)
The Definitive Word
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is absolutely terrific on Blu-ray. The film’s 65mm production sparkles, the sound is engaging, and the film itself is great family fun that anyone can enjoy. Highly recommended.
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