Neil Drumming
November 28, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
performer
Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Gert Frobe, Benny Hill, Lionel Jeffries
director
Ken Hughes
distributor
United Artists (MGM)
author
Roald Dahl, Ken Hughes
genre
Musical, Kids and Family, Comedy, Sci-fi and Fantasy
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.

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