Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Chitty Chitty Bang Bang</strong> (1968)

(On TV, January 2018) I didn’t end up enjoying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang all that much, which is strange given that I certainly expected to like it. Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, fancy retro-technology … what’s not to like? The film is a minor reference in Science Fiction fannish circles, so I finally got some of the jokes. Even the opening credit sequence has a few promising surprises, from a Roald Dahl script of an Ian Fleming story. What a pedigree! For a while, it looks as if the film is off to a good start with an eccentric inventor, a big musical sequence set in a candy factory and enough quirky ideas to keep things interesting. I even had an audible “ah ha” as I recognized the source of a verbal tic (“toot sweet”) of an acquaintance of mine. Somehow, though, along the way Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sort of lost me. The radically different second act takes us to an unpleasant place, and while I was momentarily fascinated by the film all over again during the “music box doll” sequence, the film seemed less interesting as it went on. It wasn’t what I was expecting.

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