Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Release Date: Available now Studio: MGM Home Entertainment Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX" with slipcover Year: 1968 Rating: G Running Time: 2:25:00 MSRP: $34.99 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.20:1 Standard and high definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 7.1 / Dolby Digital: English Stereo, Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1, Russian 5.1, Castellano 5.1, Czech 2.0, Polish 2.0, Hindi 2.0 / DTS: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1 Various Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Castellano, Swedish, Czech, Greek, Chinese, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Hindi Variable The Feature: 4.5/5 A once-great racing car captures the imagination and affection of Jeremy and Jemima Potts (Adrian Hall and Heather Ripley), who look to their hapless inventor father Caractacus (Dick Van Dyke) to save it from being turned into scrap. Though Potts has no means to purchase the vehicle, he also doesn't want to disappoint his loving children, so he sets about trying to finally turn a profit with his inventions. Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), daughter of local candy baron Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), gets Potts an audience with her father to sell him on his candy that whistles, but when that goes to the dogs, Potts ultimately finds fortune at the carnival. With the motorcar finally in his possession, he applies all his powers as an inventor towards restoring it, eventually emerging from his workshop with a car to rival all others. Dubbed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for its unique engine sounds, the car proves to be an inspiration not just for the Potts children, but for Caractacus and Truly as well, taking the four of them on an adventure they can ultimately only dream of. After the success of 1964's "Mary Poppins," in which Van Dyke also starred, it's not surprising many thought only Disney could pull off a grand musical with appeal for the entire family. But "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" proved otherwise. Featuring some truly memorable musical numbers and classic imagery in the tradition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, the film maintains an enduring popularity. True, the effects aren't always so great and the story takes a bit to get around to some of the most indelible moments, but it more than makes up for its minor deficiencies through spirit and enthusiasm, embodied in both Van Dyke and Howes and their wonderful performances. With details that remind one of both James Bond and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," thanks to a script adapted from an Ian Fleming novel and co-written by Roald Dahl, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" proves to be somewhat off-beat but wholly satisfying for both children and adults alike. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.20:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Black levels are generally stable and inky in depth, though can be somewhat limited in more dimly lit scenes (which are relatively few). This can affect apparent contrast, though overall it displays the full range of values with no transfer related issues with compression. Colors are nicely saturated with accurate rendering of flesh tones. Detail is excellent, holding up in both close ups and wide shots and grain structure appears intact with no indications of misused noise reduction tools. Likewise overall sharpness looks crisp and film-like with no signs of excessive digital sharpening measures. Audio Quality: 4/5 The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is front-oriented, but the surround channels include some slight support for the film score as well as the occasional directional effect. There is some directionality to vocals in the front array at times and is reasonably transparent. Otherwise dialogue is firmly anchored to the center and features great detail. Overall dynamic range is excellent, from Howes' sparkling high notes to the robust rumble of thunder. Special Features: 4.5/5 The Blu-ray exclusives are pretty superficial, but fortunately the majority of extras from the 2003 DVD release have been carried over. Sing Along: Join in on the musical numbers karaoke style, whether over the course of the film or accessed individually. Music Machine (44:16): Watch just the 12 musical numbers. Chitty Chitty's Bang Bang Driving Game: Exclusive to the Blu-ray release, use your remote to navigate Chitty through an obstacle course. Although incredibly easy to complete, it beats getting frustrated by the limits of using the remote as a game controller, which is usually the story with these kinds of activities. Toot Sweets Toots Musical Maestro: Exclusive to the Blu-ray release, the memory and matching game takes place over the course of the film. Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke (26:58, SD): Van Dyke reflects on his experiences working with the director, his co-stars, and performing the various musical numbers. Though it would have been nice to hear from other members of the cast, Van Dyke is an engaging and accessible person, making the piece one of the more interesting extras. A Fantasmagorical Motorcar (9:44, SD): Former clown and entertainer Pierre Picton, who was hired to take care of the Chitty vehicles during filming and who eventually bought three of the cars, provides a tour of the vehicle's various features. Sherman Brothers' Demo: Definitely one of the highlights of the extras, the pre-production demo tracks feature songwriters Robert and Richard Sherman performing 14 of the musical's songs, some of which were revised to follow script changes. Presented in 48khz Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps. The Ditchling Tinkerer (10:07, SD): Vintage profile on Rowland Emmett, the inventor of Potts' various contraptions. The Potts Children's Featurette (3:06, SD): Vintage behind the scenes look at production from the young actors' points of view, though the voice over was obviously done by other kids. Photo Gallery: Over 40 images sized for high definition displays. Theatrical Trailer (3:20, HD) French Theatrical Trailer (3:37, SD) TV Spots: Five commercials ranging in length from 16 seconds to one minute. DVD: A re-pressing of the first disc from the 2003 Special Edition DVD, it includes the feature in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the Sing Along feature, and a trailer for the stage musical adaptation. Recap The Feature: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 Special Features: 4.5/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5 MGM Home Entertainment turns in an excellent audio and video presentation for a grand 1960s musical and a fine family film. Though the Blu-ray-exclusive extras are geared towards kids and rather superficial, the major items from the 2003 DVD release have been included, the highlights being the Van Dyke recollection and the pre-production demo tracks by the Sherman Brothers. Owners of the DVD will find the Blu-ray release a tempting upgrade given the right price point, and first time buyers will see it as an obvious choice.