19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A Tremendous Tale,
By A Customer
This review is from: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
It amazes me how both Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Willy Wonka have gotten blastings from some critics for having "forgettable" scores. How do you explain "The Candy Man?" or "Truly Scrumptious?" Almost everyone knows these songs, as they are well written and enjoyable. As is this movie.
Set in a turn-of the century small village, apparently in England (mixed accents notwithstanding-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has a similar problem), an eccentric inventor creates a magical car for his adoring children. An evil King gets wind of the invention, and sends spies to steal the car. They instead steal Grandfather, and Van Dyke and his children take off in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to retrieve him.
Largely overlooked is the heavy World War II symbolism sprinkled throughout the film. The King who hates children represents a racist Hitler, supported by the Gestapoesque Child Catcher and spies who could easily be SS Soldiers. Watching the film with this knowledge makes for an entirely different experience, one many reviewers missed. Especially chilling is a scene near the beginning in which the spies attempt to blow up a bridge. They fail, and when the charge explodes belatedly, the smoke clears to reveal both spies frozen in a Nazi "Heil" salute.
But even without this decidedly adult take on the plot, the film is extraordinarily entertaining. Great songs like "The Old Bamboo," "Toot-Sweet," and "Truly Scrumptious" will be attractive to both parents and children, and frequent use of passable, if dated special effects enhance the feel of the film. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a great film for adults and children, one you'll enjoy watching frequently.