Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 100:36
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Vincent McEveety
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Dean Jones
Julie Sommars
Don Knotts
Jacques Marin
Roy Kinnear
Bernard Fox
Eric Braeden
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music Frank De Vol


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 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo is the first film of the much-loved Disney series that I remember seeing. I can vividly recall standing in line with a whole bunch of other kiddies when I was around seven years old, all of us eager to see the story of the little car with a personality. "He is real isn't he?", I kept asking mum at the time!

    After the disappointment that was Herbie Rides Again, this third chapter in the story of the little Volkswagen with a heart gets off to a promising start with the return of Dean Jones as Jim Douglas, Herbie's original driver from The Love Bug. Unfortunately Buddy Hackett does not return as welder Tennessee Steinmetz, and is replaced by the rubber faced Don Knotts as the mechanic Wheely Applegate.

    This time round Herbie is in Europe. He is making a comeback to racing after a 12 year absence and is entered in the inaugural Trans France road race from Paris to Monte Carlo. Driver Jim Douglas is a little unsure if Herbie still has the ability to race in him, so approaches the race with a mix of nerves and caution. Matters are not helped when during qualifying, Herbie spots a sleek light blue Lancia in the field and practically falls head over wheels for her. The distraction of the Lancia on Herbie almost sees both cars fail to qualify for the big race and the driver of the Lancia is left fuming. Of course she just happens to be a beautiful woman named Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars), and takes an instant dislike to Jim Douglas.

    Meanwhile, a couple of bumbling crooks are in Paris intent on stealing the world's largest diamond which has just gone on display. The two crooks (Roy Kinnear and Bernard Fox) are working for a secret Mr Big, and after they successfully pinch the rock they inadvertently have to hide it in the fuel tank of Herbie just before the race to Monte Carlo gets underway. From that moment on, the race to the finish line is on, all while the crooks are trying to reclaim their diamond from unsuspecting Herbie and Jim Douglas.

    Much of the charm and wit of the first film has returned for this chapter. The drama of the race also adds to the story and gives the plot a solid direction in which to head. The crooks are bumbling yet crafty and the charm of Herbie is particularly evident when he falls in love with the other car.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is another quite disappointing video transfer, and is certainly closer in overall look to the disappointing Herbie Rides Again rather than the delightful The Love Bug.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, but it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The lack of anamorphic transfer means detail and sharpness is below average. Shadow detail is fine, with most of the action occurring during the day. Grain is again consistently present across the whole picture, but is certainly not the biggest problem. Thankfully there is no low level noise.

    Colours are better than those in Herbie Rides Again, but are not as deeply saturated as those in The Love Bug. The various examples of bunting, flags, and car decals are displayed in a full array of colours and these do look quite striking. Skin tones are a little one dimensional and the black level are not quite as deep as they should be.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, but a reasonable amount of aliasing pops up on many of the chrome surfaces of the cars and the stands at the race track. The worst aspect of this transfer is the condition of the source print. Unfortunately, film artefacts abound in all manner of variety and size. Some are small, some are large, and some are really large. Overall, this is a very very grubby print.

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

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 55:54 on a scene change and, while noticeable, is not too annoying.

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

Audio

    Just like the transfers for The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again, this disc has been graced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. But just like the others (especially Herbie Rides Again), I'm still wondering 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. Again the 5.1 label is a bit misleading. 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 and Herbie Rides Again.

    The dialogue is similar to the second film with some mild background hiss and comes across as being a little harsh and flat. There are a few ordinary ADR looping instances where audio sync is far from perfect, but this is no fault of the transfer.

    The score is quite different to that of The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again. It is by a different composer in Frank De Vol and is certainly not as whimsical or catchy as the original.

    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 Goes To Monte Carlo is not due to be released in Region 1 until 4 May 2004. So, for now, this is the version of choice.

Summary

    Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo is a welcome return to much of the charm, wit, and fun of The Love Bug. The return of Dean Jones in the role of driver Jim Douglas is pivotal. Throw in some decent scenery during the Trans France race, a host of despicable villains, and another car for Herbie to fall in love with and this all adds up to a far more enjoyable plot. It's not got the naíve charm that was evident in The Love Bug, but it is close.

    The video is still quite disappointing, with no 16x9 enhancement and enormous numbers of film artefacts.

    The audio is again a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that sees virtually all the audio emanating from the centre channel.

    There are no extras at all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, December 13, 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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