We gave it a B
Before ”Knight Rider”’s KITT spoke, before Christine killed, even before James Bond’s sleek, Swiss Army Lotus Esprit surfaced in ”The Spy Who Loved Me,” Ian Fleming dreamed up a floating, flying, truly ”fantasmagorical motorcar.” Sugar-spun from Fleming’s 1964 children’s novel, ”Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” follows the adventures of a bumbling inventor (Dick Van Dyke) and his jazzed-up jalopy. But there’s more here than gears-and-gadget love. At the heart of the broad, slightly oversung musical is the tale of a nuclear-family-in-the-making struggling against the worst intentions of some very effeminate pirates and the single scariest child abductor ever.
EXTRAS Puzzles and sing-along features for the kiddies, and for the adults, two lengthy Van Dyke interviews, one old, one new. Watch him transform from confident, disarmingly forthright movie star in his heyday to sappy, white-haired oldster.