They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

What A Dreadful Excuse For A Children's Movie

My mother was always good at getting us marvelous books when I was a child. One was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Which was so good, we saw no reason to see Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka until very recently. Thanksgiving night was a slow night for television. I saw no need to see a third NFL game. Thanksgiving is Detroit and Dallas at home, no matter how bad they are, though this year both won. Especially the Lions, which beat up on Green Bay 40-10.

Here's another movie I'd never seen:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Turner Classic Movies, Thanksgiving, 8-10:30pm

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a dreadful adaptation, a loose -- very loose -- adaptation of the classic children's book Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming. Yes, that Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books.

What gets me is how well loved this 1968 movie is. Still, the reviewers were mixed as to whether anyone over the age of twelve would be its audience. I was ten when this came out and I can assure you, I would have hated it then, too.

Honestly, what were they thinking? In the book the car is a real mystery, with its quirky dashboard which changed when you weren't looking and the mysterious GEN II license tags. The car looks nice in the film, but even its history and rebuild is a shady shade of the book's brilliance.

And then the movie gets weird. We're supposed to make of it that the latter half of the movie is just the shaggy dog story told by Dick Van Dyke to the children, a fact that they had to make more explicit in the novelization of the movie, I understand from the Wikipedia entry, all in service of deviating from the REAL book.

In addition to wiping out the mystery of the book -- if you buy the whole story/dream sequence
-- then there's NOTHING magical about the car in the movie. Poop.

And then there's the whole Holocaust-like business with the children being hidden. And the rather anti-German Vulgarian plot just adds to the Holocaust motif. And the children's battle tactics? Straight out of Babes in Toyland. AND Dick Van Dyke pretty much abandons them to make their own escape.

And his own children? Not well behaved, though they don't seem to suffer long for their bad behavior. I mean, they were TOLD to stay put and they STILL fell victim to the nasty child catcher. Ugh. Did not like. Not at all.

The studio wanted to pair Julie Andrews with Dick Van Dyke again, but she wisely stayed away from this Turkey because she thought the female lead was too much like Mary Poppins. Hmm, maybe that's why they showed it last night -- it's a turkey. (evil-old-sourpuss-grin) Nothing but a Shitty Shitty Bang Bang.

Meanwhile, here back in daylight on Black Friday, we're enjoying a Hitchock marathon on AMC. End of Vertigo. Rear Window now. Hard to go wrong with either Alfred or Jimmy. Later on it's the 50th anniversary of The Birds. Just in case the turkeys of Thursday need their revenge.

Dr. Phil
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