Herbie Rides Again (1974)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 84:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Stevenson
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Helen Hayes
Ken Berry
Stefanie Powers
John McIntire
Keenan Wynn
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music George Bruns


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Dutch
Norwegian
Danish
Swedish
Finnish
Hebrew
Greek
French Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Released in 1974, Herbie Rides Again is the sequel and obvious attempt by Disney to cash in on the enormous success and cult following that The Love Bug had created.

    Unfortunately only Herbie returns for this film - and despite his best endeavours he can't handle the whole film by himself. The rest of the original cast have vanished, with the previous owner of the little bug, Jim Douglas (played by Dean Jones)  having moved to Europe to continue car racing. Herbie is now owned by an old lady known as Grandma Steinmetz (Helen Hayes) who is supposedly the aunt of Tennessee Steinmetz (he was the welder in The Love Bug). This time round Herbie is again asked to save the day when an evil property developer, Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn), wants to demolish the old firehouse where Grandma Steinmetz lives. Hawk is a big shot property tycoon who lets nothing stand in his way and wants the land where the firehouse stands to build the world's tallest office tower. He will stop at nothing to get her out of the house and resorts to all manner of dirty tricks - which to date have been unsuccessful. So when his nephew, a meek and extremely clean-cut and polite young man called Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) arrives looking for a job, Hawk decides to use him and his charm to get the old lady out of the house. Of course this doesn't all go to plan and just like in the first film, Willoughby finds himself falling for the charms of both Herbie and Grandma's young lodger Nicole (Stefanie Powers).

    What follows is a collection of silly set-pieces as Herbie and the good guys fend off the challenges of Hawk and his henchman. Much of the charm of the first film is simply missing and it is quite obvious that much of the subtleness of the original film that dealt with rejection and belonging have been removed for the sake of a simple story aimed at children.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is quite a disappointing video transfer, especially considering how nicely The Love Bug scrubbed up.

    It is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.75:1, but it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    As a result of the lack of an anamorphic transfer, the level of detail and sharpness is below average. While it is certainly more consistent than the transfer of The Love Bug, it never reaches any great heights. Shadow detail is fine since almost the entire film is shot in bright conditions. Only the closing scenes pose some possible problems and these are all handled well. Grain is pretty consistent across the whole picture, but is certainly not the biggest problem. Thankfully there is no low level noise.

    Colours are really quite drab. After the vibrancy of the original, this looks like nothing better than a stock-standard Sunday afternoon matinee television movie.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, and only a tiny little bit of aliasing pops up on a couple of the shiny chrome surfaces of the cars. Unfortunately, film artefacts abound in all manner of variety and size. Some are small, some are large, with some scenes (most notably second unit style shots) copping the worst treatment.

    I checked out the English subtitles, and while not perfect they adequately perform the task required of them.

    This is a single layered disc only so there is no layer change with which to contend.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Like the transfer for The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again has been graced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. But you've really got to wonder why.

    There are a total of three audio soundtracks present. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at  448 Kb/s is joined by French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1  soundtracks encoded at the lower bitrate of 384Kb/s. To be honest, the 5.1 label is a real misnomer here. Probably 98 per cent of the soundtrack emanates from the centre channel, in pretty much the same manner as the soundtrack for The Love Bug.

    The dialogue is not quite as clean or free from mild background hiss as the original film, and comes across as being a little harsh.

    The score is similar to that of The Love Bug and is again credited to George Bruns. In fact, if you shut your eyes and just listened to it you could probably easily mistake it for The Love Bug score. Quite whimsical and extremely catchy.

    There is basically no discernable surround or subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Herbie Rides Again is not due to be released in Region 1 until 4 May 2004, so for now this is the version of choice.

Summary

    This is a poor sequel to a classic Disney film. It bears all the hallmarks of merely cashing in on a good idea. Pedestrian plot, too many gags the same as the first film, and none of the same cast appearing for a second outing do not make for a very convincing film.

    The video quality is below average. Non 16x9 enhanced video with plenty of film artefacts and a generally washed out appearance do not make for a great viewing experience.

    The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, but don't be fooled as probably 98 per cent emanates from the centre channel only.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, December 12, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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