1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cameron Yee, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    12,075
    Likes Received:
    903
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Since 2006
    Real Name:
    Cameron Yee
    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. Guest

    Just finished watching it five minutes ago! Wonderful!
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    53,897
    Likes Received:
    9,544
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    One of the best looking catalog transfers currently out there.
     
  4. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,138
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    New Orleans
    Real Name:
    Allen

    Makes my mouth water in anticipation of West Side Story and Fiddler On The Roof, whenever that may be. They are certainly taking the time and effort to do these right.
     
  5. Guest

    One small change from the dvd: on the dvd, the Entr'Acte title fades out and then part 2 fades in. On the blu-ray, the Entr'Acte title card stays on the screen until part 2 pops up with no fade in.
     
  6. sharkus

    sharkus Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Marcus Kellerman
    I can't wait to watch this one. Unfortunately, I'm giving it to the kids for Christmas, so I got a few weeks of anticipation.
     
  7. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson
    Is the original full-length British theatrical trailer included on this release? It was on the lovely gate-fold laserdisc (and the soundtrack CD!), but strangely missing from the deluxe DVD release. This is the trailer I'm talking about:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJkvka1UgUY&feature=related


    "It's the most Fantasmagorical entertainment in the history of EVERYTHING!"


    This is the American trailer, which ain't nearly as entertaining, and which I'm presuming is the one included in HD on the Blu:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4uGRx1abbo&feature=related
     
  8. Mark B

    Mark B Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Location:
    Saranac Lake, NY
    Real Name:
    Mark
    The British trailer is not included; just the US, French, and several TV spots.


    I just picked this disc up and all I can say is WOW! It is easily the best transfer to Blu I have yet seen. STUNNING! It sounds great, too. The film itself is OK. I think about 30 minutes of trims, song deletions, and tightening could have served it well. Be that as it may, I grew up watching it on TV in the 70s (when it was cut for time), have owned many home video incarnations, and watching this Blu-Ray I enjoyed the film more than I ever have. I forgot to "re-cut" it in my mind and just went along for the ride. Many thanks to the production team who churned this disc out.
     
  9. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,782
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Could be anywhere
    Real Name:
    James Perry
    ^Yep. I put this nearly up there with 2001 ASO. Very impressive looking transfer. I wish all oldies looked this good at least. Wondering out Willy Wonka compares? I have it on my list to get REAL SOON. Waiting on a price drop.

    Bought this last week and watched it Friday afternoon. Was a little sleepy, nearly stopping the film for later finishing up, but I couldn't! I was kind of hooked. I have to say, last time I watched this film was on VHS in the late 90s and my first thought was "I can't believe me and big sis counted the days until this appeared on TV". Not a good experience. I thought it was one I'd outgrown. A buddy of mine at work (who is now deceased) mentioned watching this with his kids and having a great time. That helped me remember to give it another go. I don't know what my problem was before. But I'm glad I took a chance. Had a ball, my 44 year old self, all alone watching this great kid's film. Humming along with the outstanding songs, etc.

    Made me order a couple more flicks I haven't seen in years, Treasure of Matecumbe and Island at the Top of the World. Although just DVDs on those.

    I never look for cheese unless it's overly obvious I won't even notice. Here, I didn't notice a thing. ??? Van Dyke is a treasure. He helped this work for MGM.
     
  10. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    708
    Trophy Points:
    4,110

    I have to say I'd probably seen CCBB about 30 times before the bluray came out. But I never enjoyed it more than on the bluray. Certain things sprang to life, simply because you see what's going on better (it's a very busy movie with all those extras and dancers running around). Just an example of the storytelling ability of a film being enhanced through bluray. It seemed more impactful even though, as I said, I've seen that movie a zillion times.

    Willy Wonka looks very, very good on blu. I believe it's a port of the previous dvd, but nonetheless it looks like a pristine print. It certainly does not look like a 40 year old movie...it looks like it was shot a month ago. Sound and color are also very good. It really does make me remember what the film looked like back in '71. I'm not sure if there have been any negative comments on the blu, but I certainly sign off on it--
     
  11. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,782
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Could be anywhere
    Real Name:
    James Perry
    Great way to put it. I agree. The film is a better watch on bluray.

    It never looked as good as it did last Friday for me. A real beauty. While watching, I was considering some of my other childhood favorites that need to look as good. One, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972), is just a travesty. :( It's one of my most adored films, warts and all. And there is not one single version that gets the job done, even the region 2 widescreen release, which just looks awful instead of depressingly sad like all the other other releases. I can't play it on my player, only my computer or old equipment. With the recent Burton film I was hoping a restored bluray would be wheeled out...but I guess that's just a dream. But at least so many films are getting decent releases like CCBB.


    Willy is very high priced. I was hoping it would drop to about $15 or so. Seems like it's twice that minimum. I'll have to just wait.
     
  12. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,431
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Greg
    "CCBB" looked great on theaters when it first came out even in 35MM. The budget was very high and the cinematography was incredibly beautiful. In 70Mm it was stunning. Few other children's film ever looked this good.The German and France locations alone add to the production value.


    Blu-ray is the next best thing, for those who only grew up watching the film Pan and Scanned on TV/VHS and the original DVD

    (Too bad they could never get the green screen shots to look better when the car is flying)




    "Wily Wonka" was not a 70MM widescreen production and had a very modest budget (it was filmed to promote the candy bar which tanked when released to supermarkets - the chocolate kept melting). In fact, Wonka was a bomb when it first opened. Grossing less than a Million Dollars in theater rentals. It became a classic due to annual TV showings (much like the Wizard of Oz)


    "Doctor Dolittle" never did much for me until I saw it in 70MM a few years ago. All of a sudden it was a different film, beautiful to look at and extremely well detailed and vibrant and no where as dull (I guess I had all the scenery to keep me entertained)

    The blu-ray should be comparable to CCBB if done correctly
     
  13. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,782
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Could be anywhere
    Real Name:
    James Perry
    I was really young when I first saw it in theaters. I know I was swept up in it though. Now, my only real comparison is pan and scan VHS. It like comparing a diamond to a piece of glass.

    I remember hearing that about Willy, I guess in one of the features. That's pretty funny that the choclate melted. Hee! By the way, the kid who was "Charlie" became a veterinarian. How approperiate is that!

    I'm exactly the same with Doctor Dolittle, although I believe that's one of my mother's favs). But adding that to my list since you mentined it. I'm a believer since Friday that Bluray can breath new life into films. And I"ll repeat, to be able to watch Alices Adventures from '72 in that form with the best it could possibly look, would be a religious experience for me. (not even going to insert a "haha" or a "heehee" on that because it's true!) Sucks that Eddie Murphy's so-so version is out. I have no interest in that at all. Any date on the Rex Harrison version?
     
  14. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson
    I picked this up a few months ago, and it does indeed look spectacular. Absolutely mouth-watering, in fact, and I'm extremely glad to own it in such amazing quality.


    HOWEVER...


    The omission of the British trailer is lamentable (you'd have thought that would be a no-brainer), as is the omission of this wonderful cast reunion documentary that was broadcast on UK television:





    The inclusion of those two vital items would have made the Blu-ray release perfect, instead of merely damned great.
     
  15. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,782
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Could be anywhere
    Real Name:
    James Perry
    I can't wait until it's time to watch it again.

    I don't know if you have a 7.1 sound system, but that bit at the beginning when the screen is black and the cars whiz through is very cool. Although the sound settles in to a mainly front speakers affair after that.
     
  16. Howard S

    Howard S Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2000
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    10
    I've only just got around to watching this, and was bowled over by the detail in the image, and how natural the colours looked. It really made me appreciate the wonderful cinematography. Beautiful. However, I thought from the start of the film that there was something not quite right with the audio on the DTS-HD track. Difficult to explain exactly what, but I noticed it most on the sung vocals, they sounded dull and lacking detail, almost as if some noise reduction had been done, which had stripped away some of the the mid/high end. By contrast, the stereo track was much clearer and detailed, and much more satisfying as a result. The song "Lovely Lonely Man" is a good example. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has noticed this significant difference between the two tracks, or can offer any explanation? The review above gives the DTS-HD track high marks, so I'm wondering if my decoder/set-up may be at fault.
     
  17. Andrew Bryan

    Andrew Bryan Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    chitty11
    I agree with this entirely. Something has happened which has removed all of the brightness and sparkle from vocal and instrumental tracks on the 7.1 soundtrack of the Chitty bluray. Listen to the opening credits on both English soundtracks. The Chitty theme blazes loud and clear on the Stereo soundtrack, it fades behind racing car sounds on the 7.1 soundtrack. About 1hr15 into it, the amazing orchestral score is also somehow relegated to background music for the sound effects. The music going into intermission is also "make do" on the 7.1 soundtrack like it is on the dvd 5.1 dolby digital mix. The correct cinema release version stands proud on the Stereo soundtrack. For me the low frequencies are also out of sync with the movie. In the middle of the Toot Sweets number the bass actually goes out of time with the rest of the orchestra. I have compared with the soundtrack on the laser disc and this does not occur on there. I had thought that the problems were associated with the UK disc release or a single pressing as I hadn't read any other similar comments despite me making such comments on release day. If The Sound of Music could have had the picture quality of the Chitty bluray, and Chitty could have had the audio quality of The sound of Music bluray, both releases would have been beyond perfect. I guess the blemishes on what we have does leave us wishing for more and guarantee that we will buy the bluray rereleases of these two in the future in the hope the flaws have been addressed and solved..
     
  18. Howard S

    Howard S Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2000
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Hi Andrew Your comment about all the brightness and sparkle being removed on the 7.1 soundtrack hits the nail on the head. I can accept that the 7.1 soundtrack is a modern creation (I assume), and that some contemporary decisions about how the track should sound will have been made in the mixing process, including the relative volume of the different sound stems, however something isn't right when it sounds markedly worse than what has gone before. I have the UK disc, so you've set me wondering whether the issue is UK disc specific - which might explain why it's not been highlighted in the review and comments above. If anyone reading this has the US disc, it would be really appreciated if you could compare the clarity of the two soundtracks and let us know what difference you hear. I'd be willing to rebuy this...
     
  19. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,431
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Greg
    I thought th 7.1 sounded muffled - esp the vocals and they were out of sync. The Stereo track sounds fine and is in sync - so that is what I listen to. Most Blu-rays with 7.1 have sync problems on my players
     
  20. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    708
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    ??? I didn't notice any synch problems on my copy (U.S. version). However, there were synch problems on the older dvd. The older dvd, and even going all the way back to the film's vhs days, had very strange balance/mix problems throughout the film. It always seemed like the kid's voices were coming from the wrong place. I think those kids were looped quite a bit and the tincture of their voices doesn't match up with the other actors. But they do match up in the current blu-ray so I figured they'd made a conscious effort to re-mix some of those known balance problems. I recall from the vhs and earliest dvd that there were other mix/balance problems in certain sequences. Some of Potts' dialogue was off-balance, as was the woman who screams "oh Cyril--you're smoking!" Also the Baron's henchmen were off-balance on the dirigible and moving on into the ballroom sequence. But I didn't notice any of those problems on the blu-ray, which I feel was in good hands.
     

Share This Page