What's new

Blu-ray Review The Love Bug Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,179
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
The Love Bug Blu-ray Review

Supernatural comedies were nothing new for the Walt Disney Company when Robert Stevenson’s The Love Bug became the highest grossing movie of 1969, higher than that year's Oscar-winner Midnight Cowboy, higher than the year's big musical Hello, Dolly! and higher than the rollicking western adventure Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It also spawned a clutch of sequels (soon to be reviewed) all possessing that innocent Disney charm and wholesomeness that was the company’s stock-in-trade. The movie still retains its peculiar charms, and there is a load of slapstick for the little ones, but it’s hard to believe this innocuous little film brought so many riches to the Mouse House’s mouse hole.



Studio: Disney

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: G

Run Time: 1 Hr. 48 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

keep case in a slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: ABC

Release Date: 12/01/2014

MSRP: $24.95




The Production Rating: 3/5

Down and out race driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) is about ready to throw in the towel when an inconspicuous little Volkswagen Beetle nudges him in a luxury car showroom owned by champion driver Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson). He soon comes to learn that this little Bug has a mind and spirit of its own with a surprising amount of power and a stubborn streak that insists it gets its own way. Spurred on by Throndyke’s female assistant Carole Bennett (Michele Lee) and his own tool shop friend Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), Jim begins winning a series of races with his car they’ve named Herbie, wins that infuriate Thorndyke since he originally owned the Bug and now wants it back. When Jim refuses to sell, Thorndyke begins plotting ways to separate Jim from Herbie even though the two have become very close.

 

The Bill Walsh-Don DaGradi screenplay takes a simple idea (based on a story by Gordon Buford) and with the help of Disney’s special effects and stunt driving crews, manages to give Herbie a soul and personality all his own. They stumble a bit being true to their own supernatural mythology, however (why can’t Herbie stop the two different sabotages that Thorndyke and his henchman Havershaw (Joe Flynn) inflict on the little Bug when we’ve seen the car do other remarkable things to people it likes or doesn’t like?), and even real-world hurdles like the rocky and debris-strewn terrain that Herbie traverses off road without problems during the climactic two-stage final Open Formula One race requires not just suspension of disbelief but complete ignorance of such matters in order for the film to work for adults. Director Robert Stevenson lets pacing lag a bit in the early going, the plot of which seems to take a long time to get going, but he includes some great overhead views of the different raceways while the races are in progress, and even though our actors seldom seem to leave the studio with their racing scenes done mostly with a rear projection process screen, the second unit work with Herbie and Thorndyke’s various race cars on the speedways is well shot and involving. They’ve minimized that icky romance stuff between Jim and Carole so youngsters with no interest in such things can be spared the agony and maximized slapstick tomfoolery in the typical Disney tradition.

 

As always, the Disney organization has hired top-flight talent to carry these films. Here, Dean Jones, Michele Lee, Buddy Hackett (who leers and brays much less than usual), and David Tomlinson work well together as heroes and supreme villain. There are also juicy little featured parts for veterans like Iris Adrian as a mouthy carhop, Ned Glass as a toll booth attendant, Joe Flynn as Thorndyke’s sneaky right-hand man, and Joe E. Ross as a detective investigating Herbie’s runaway when he follows Jim home early in the movie. Without any of them being standouts, all execute their acting chores with a minimum of fuss and bother.



Video Rating: 3.5/5  3D Rating: NA

The film has been framed here at 1.66:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Early reels have a processed and digitized look about them with flesh tones that are too saturated and occasionally too pink (especially noticeable in those rear projection process shots). Later, the quality evens out and seems much more natural. Sharpness is never a problem in close-ups and medium shots though there are occasional long shots that appear soft and indistinct. Color is always rich, and reds (especially the racing suits worn early on by Lee and Tomlinson) come across very deeply saturated but don’t quite bloom. Contrast has been applied evenly throughout, and black levels are good if not great. The movie has been divided into 15 chapters.



Audio Rating: 3.5/5

This disc has been provided with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, remixed from available elements from what was likely a theatrical mono mix. The rear channels, however, get very sparse usage as the majority of the mix concentrates on the front three channels. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been placed in the center channel. There is occasional spillover of George Bruns’ chirpy music score into the rears, but there is very little use of the rear surrounds during the race sequences, a real disappointment in trying to widen the soundstage with this multi-channel mix.



Special Features Rating: 0/5

There are no bonus features with this Disney specialty Blu-ray release.



Overall Rating: 3/5

The Love Bug is a pleasant family comedy with some fun slapstick and some clever invention along the way. Its debut on Blu-ray is most welcome even if it’s without any bonus material detailing how the Disney magic was brought about (for those who might be interested). The movie is offered as part of the Disney Movie Club (www.DisneyMovieClub.com) though you can certainly find it offered for sale with varying prices at Amazon (see below) and with other marketplace sellers.


Reviewed By: Matt Hough


Support HTF when you buy this title:

 

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,179
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
Jeff Swearingen said:
Can you compare the video / audio to any previous releases of this title?

I'm sorry; I can't with this one. I've never owned any of the disc releases.
 

Mark-P

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
6,497
Location
Camas, WA
Real Name
Mark Probst
Jeff Swearingen said:
Can you compare the video / audio to any previous releases of this title?

I can oblige you there with a handful of captures:

(I never realized that the DVD was slightly windowboxed!)


LBblu1.jpg



LBdvd1.jpg



LBblu2.jpg



LBdvd2.jpg



LBblu3.jpg



LBdvd3.jpg
 

haineshisway

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
5,564
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
Bruce
It took them a LONG time to put this out - they were working on this transfer at Fotokem when I was transferring Nudie Musical - I believe that was four or five YEARS ago.
 

ChromeJob

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
Messages
368
Location
Durham, NC
Real Name
David S.
Ew, looks like they've cropped it top and bottom. In the last comparison, Michelle Lee's lost her knees. :(

Worse, in that previous capture, the wooden pillars stand out well from the back wood veneer road. In the new capture, those pillars looks like they're part of the wall, flattening depth, and losing color contrast.

Not to say it DIDN'T look like that on release, but between the two, the newer capture looks washed out. :P
 

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,179
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
ChromeJob said:
Ew, looks like they've cropped it top and bottom. In the last comparison, Michelle Lee's lost her knees. :(

Worse, in that previous capture, the wooden pillars stand out well from the back wood veneer road. In the new capture, those pillars looks like they're part of the wall, flattening depth, and losing color contrast.

Not to say it DIDN'T look like that on release, but between the two, the newer capture looks washed out. :P
The top captures are the Blu-ray. I think you're reversing what's one and the other.
 

JohnMor

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
5,157
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Real Name
John Moreland
Matt Hough said:
The top captures are the Blu-ray. I think you're reversing what's one and the other.

Thanks. I was doing the same. The comment about the dvd being slightly windowboxed gives the impression that the top images are the dvd.
 

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,179
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
JohnMor said:
Thanks. I was doing the same. The comment about the dvd being slightly windowboxed gives the impression that the top images are the dvd.
The Blu-ray is framed at 1.66:1 which is what the top clips appear to be in. That's what I'm basing it on.
 

Mark-P

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
Messages
6,497
Location
Camas, WA
Real Name
Mark Probst
Sorry about that. I should have labeled the captures but I thought they were obvious. The top captures (pillar-boxed) are Blu-ray. The DVD captures have teeny tiny black bars on all four sides, hence the windowboxed comment. Disney seems to have taken the stance that all their movies made before 1980 should be 1.66:1, as you will find the first three Herbie movies are 1.66:1 on Blu-ray and the last one (Herbie Goes Bananarama) is 1.85:1.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Sign up for our newsletter

and receive essential news, curated deals, and much more







You will only receive emails from us. We will never sell or distribute your email address to third party companies at any time.

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
356,950
Messages
5,126,876
Members
144,213
Latest member
trishy!
Recent bookmarks
0
Top