Overall | The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Herbie: The Love Bug: Four-Film Collection (1969)

Herbie: The Love Bug: Four-Film Collection (1969)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

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Overall Package

    All four of Disney's Herbie films, from the original The Love Bug (1969), through Herbie Rides Again (1974) and Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo (1977), to Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) are now available in a four-disc box set. It is an attractive design, with each of the four films stored in their own Amaray case with artwork that is consistent and colourful across all jackets. The four are then slipped inside a reasonably sturdy slip case which features summarised blurbs for each of the films on the back.

    The set retails for $69.95 which equates to around $17 for each film - terrific value really, especially given the quality of the release of The Love Bug.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, December 15, 2003
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969)

The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Dean Jones, Michele Lee And Buddy Hackett (Actors)
Featurette-That Loveable Bug
Deleted Scenes-Used Car Lot, Playground
Featurette-Herbie Mania
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 103:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:41) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Stevenson
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Dean Jones
Michele Lee
David Tomlinson
Buddy Hackett
Joe Flynn
Benson Fong
Andy Granatelli
Joe E. Ross
Iris Adrian
Ned Glass
Robert Foulk
Gil Lamb
Barry Kelley
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music George Bruns


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Can there be anyone who does not look at a Volkswagen Beetle and immediately think of Herbie from The Love Bug? In one of the rare cases of an object becoming an instant part of popular culture, Disney worked its magic on a piece of metal in 1969 and turned a 1963 Volkswagen into a film star with heart, guts, and all-round charm that won over many fans then and still does more than 30 years later. Disney has recently re-released The Love Bug as part of a four-disc box set which includes the other three Herbie films in addition to a few extras.

    In this, the first film in the series, Dean Jones is Jim Douglas, a nearly down-and-out racing car driver who seems to constantly crash and lose all the big races to the up-and-coming younger guys. After his most recent crash he starts looking for a new set of wheels. Having very little money makes purchasing a new car worthy of racing a little difficult. Passing a swanky showroom filled with European imports, Jim's eyes are first attracted to the shapely legs of sales assistant Carole (Michele Lee) and then by the shiny lines of a new sports car. But haughty owner Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson) will have nothing to do with Jim since he has no intention of purchasing and shows him the door.

     In a moment of pure luck, or fate, just as Jim is about to leave the showroom, he notices a small VW Beetle that has seemingly snuck into the showroom. Enchanted by the car, yet still unable to afford it, Jim leaves the showroom, not realising the little car has actually followed him home. Accused of stealing the car by Thorndyke, Jim somewhat reluctantly agrees to buy the little car, even though he really has no need of something so slow and hardly worthy of being called a race car.

    But Jim's housemate, the spiritual Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), instantly feels there is something special about the little car and dubs it Herbie. Jim isn't so sure about the merits of the car but when he takes it for a drive and finds it basically drives itself he is completely mystified. It can also move very, very fast, so Jim decides to enter Herbie into the various car races around the San Francisco area, which proves an instant success. Jim thinks (at least at first) that it is his driving that is resulting in the wins, but Tennessee (and eventually Jim) knows otherwise - this is a very special little car.

    Of course Thorndyke, who in addition to owning the car showroom also races himself, is completely flabbergasted that he let this car go to Jim for such a low price. He hatches an evil plan to get the car back. He recruits his assistant Carole to befriend Jim and try to discover just what makes this VW so successful. Carole agrees, but she is already falling for Jim romantically and may not be much use to Thorndyke.

    After some wheeling and dealing, the ownership of the car will all come down to the manic and gruelling two-day El Dorado car race in which Herbie is entered. Will he triumph? Will Jim finally see just how special this car is? Or will Thorndyke win the day yet again?

    The stars of this film all play their roles to comic perfection, but of course the real star is Herbie. In a case of Disney magic, a little music, a few special effects (which do seem really dated now) and some cute lines of dialogue have made a piece of metal and a few nuts and bolts into something far more human. Herbie has heart, he is charming, and you just can't help but fall for him.

    If you have never seen this classic, try and get a chance to. I promise, you will never, ever look at a VW Beetle the same way again.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a really lovely transfer. It is not without its faults, but overall there can be no dispute that this is the best The Love Bug has ever looked.

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.75:1, it is also 16x9 enhanced. This is of course a major improvement over the original pan & scan Region 4 release.

    Overall this is a sharp enough transfer given the age of the material. Some shots are considerably softer than others, but these are few and far between. This is most notable with the B-roll or second unit shots such as the various car races. The opening demolition derby scene is incredibly grainy and fuzzy, but once the real action starts it looks sensational. There is one scene between 61:40 - 62:00 during a Chinese street parade that is incredibly blurry, but thankfully this is a once-off. Shadow detail is exceptional and grain is basically non-existent. There is no low level noise.

    The colours on offer here are superb. They are fully saturated and solid with no obvious bleeding problems. The primary colours, especially the reds, really jump off the screen.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, and aliasing has been eliminated completely. There are a few film artefacts but not nearly as many as I anticipated. They are all small, fleeting and really not at all disruptive.

    There are only two subtitle streams, both being English. I sampled them extensively during the audio commentary and found them excellent and highly accurate.

    This is a dual layered disc that is RSDL formatted. The layer change occurs at 76:41 and was handled a little clumsily on my player. The very last word of the dialogue from the scene was clipped.

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

Audio

    Originally recorded in mono, this transfer has seen the inclusion of a remastered English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. Rounding out the selection is a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track.

    Don't expect a whole lot of aggressive surround channel action, or even plenty of left and right directional panning across the front speakers. This whole soundtrack is anchored firmly in the centre channel with only a little bit of the miscellaneous effects popping out the left and right channels. That's not to say it's a disappointment, as the major benefit this track has over the original mono recording is just how much cleaner it sounds. There is no background hiss or distortion and the dialogue has been cleaned up remarkably well, so it really shines. There are some audio sync problems on occasion, all the result of sub-standard ADR looping.

    The original and whimsical score is by George Bruns. It is instantly recognisable and mirrors Herbie's personality very well, with shades of 60s hippy pyschedelia thrown in.

    As mentioned, there is basically no surround channel use, and likewise the subwoofer sees little action.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Menu Audio

Audio Commentary - Dean Jones, Buddy Hackett, and Michele Lee (Cast)

    This is actually two separate commentaries that have been spliced together. Dean Jones and Buddy Hackett are together as they watch the film, while Michele Lee's comments have been added in from a separate source. This doesn't really affect the quality of what is a real nostalgia-filled commentary. A lot has happened to all the cast since 1969 and they reminisce about plenty. Lots of interesting Hollywood anecdotes and other little bits of background information are made available in what is a relaxed and fun commentary.

Featurette - That Loveable Bug

    A 43:19 featurette made this year (obviously just before the death of Buddy Hackett, who died in June 2003). This is a great nostalgic look at the production and features extensive interviews with the three main surviving cast members (Dean Jones, Michelle Lee, and Hackett) in addition to many of the other people involved in the film. Heaps of behind-the-scene photos and other historical bits and pieces make this an incredibly worthwhile addition.

Deleted Scenes

    There are two deleted scenes, but calling them 'scenes' is a little bit misleading. You see, neither of them have survived intact, and in fact only the scene 'Used Car Lot' was actually shot, while the other, 'Playground', is just a series of storyboards. Both are shown as a series of either photos or storyboards above the actual script. Used Car Lot runs for 1:10, while Playground runs for 1:02.

Featurette - Herbie Mania  

    This is a 5:54 featurette that has an interview with two owners of Herbie look-a-likes. These two guys are incredibly passionate about The Love Bug and have each completely restored a 1963 Beetle to look just like the original Herbie. Fascinating and slightly scary at the same time.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Love Bug has been released as a two-disc special edition in Region 1 and more importantly is available as a standalone disc. There are also quite a significant number of differences with the Region 4 release (which can only be purchased as part of a recently released four-disc box set).

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    Obviously the Region 1 disc is a clear winner here.

Summary

    The Love Bug is a family classic. The story just oozes charm in the way only a Disney film can. Herbie is of course the star, and young and old will find something to smile about in this story.

    This remastered disc features a solid, colourful, and mostly artefact free transfer.

    The remastered audio is clean and crisp, but hardly worthy of a 5.1 tag.

    The extras are few, but are of decent quality. Unfortunately, compared to the Region 1 release, they do not stack up.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Thursday, December 11, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Herbie Rides Again (1974)

Herbie Rides Again (1974)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Love Bug (Remastered) (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

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Released 21-Jul-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 89:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Vincent McEveety
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Cloris Leachman
Charles Martin Smith
Stephan W. Burns
Elyssa Davalos
Joaquin Garay
Harvey Korman
Richard Jaeckel
Alex Rocco
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music Frank De Vol


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    So we come to the last of the four films in the Herbie series. Released in 1980, Herbie Goes Bananas is really a sad way for the series to bow out. The magical little car has somehow been left in a garage in South America and the story opens with new owner Pete Stanchek (Stephan W. Burns) heading to Brazil to collect him. He is joined by his mate DJ (Charles Martin Smith). Unfortunately, the lads have their pockets picked by a small street kid called Paco (Joaquin Garay) and lose the money they were going to use to pay for Herbie's storage. The lads manage to catch the little kid, but not before he also manages to pickpocket another man's wallet. Unfortunately for them all, this guy just happens to be involved in some smuggling of rare Inca treasures and in the wallet was a set of film negatives showing the location of the hidden treasure.

    The boys manage to get their money back, but they also mistakenly acquire the negatives, thereby starting a chase across the country. With Herbie safely tucked away on a cruise ship headed for some major Brazilian car race, the boys think their troubles are over. But when it is discovered that Paco has stowed away inside Herbie, the captain of the ship is none-too-pleased and orders the offending Bug immediately off the ship. It looks like curtains for Herbie, unless Paco can possibly save the day and rescue him from a watery grave.

    This film lapses into the same problems that afflicted Herbie Rides Again. Little of the charm is evident and the main characters just don't connect with the car in the way they did in the original film. One strange thing I did notice in this film was that I'm pretty sure that nobody actually uses the name Herbie at all during the whole film. Strange, and I wonder if there is a logical reason for this.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is another quite disappointing video transfer, not so much for the condition of the print this time, but for the aspect ratio we are graced with.

    The transfer is presented in a modified aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. From the information on imdb.com, the original aspect ratio is listed as being 1.85:1. From the look of this transfer it does not appear to be a pan & scan effort, but rather an open-matte transfer. As a result nothing is lost, but it does have a real Saturday afternoon television look to the whole thing.

    This is only an average transfer in terms of sharpness and clarity. 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 fairly drab, even when the bright outdoor scenes allowed for plenty of full colour saturation.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, and very little in the way of aliasing is evident. The source print is in much better condition than either of the middle two films in the series with film artefacts being present, but in nowhere near similar numbers or size.

    I checked out the English subtitles, and while not perfect were accurate enough to understand what was happening.

    This is a single layered disc so there is no layer change.

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, Herbie Rides Again, and Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, this disc has been graced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. But just like the others (especially the middle two films), I'm still wondering why.

    Unlike the three previous films, there is only one soundtrack on this disc. It is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at  448 Kb/s. As with all the other soundtracks in the series, the 5.1 label is a bit misleading. Probably 98 per cent of the soundtrack emanates from the centre channel, in exactly the same manner as the soundtracks for the other three films.

    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 and is closer to the Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo soundtrack. This is most likely because it is by the same composer as that latter film. Frank De Vol is again responsible for this effort and again it is nowhere near as whimsical or catchy as the original theme. There are also a couple of corny, kids jingle-style songs about friendship and the like featured, also written by Frank De Vol.

    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 Bananas 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 Bananas runs a poor fourth (and therefore last) place in the series of Herbie films. It share the same problems as Herbie Rides Again by missing much of the charm and heart that is so evident in the original The Love Bug and even in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo.

    The video is open-matte 1.33:1 and really quite dull and uninspiring.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is on a par with the others in the series and is really a centre channel dominated track.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, December 14, 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

Other Reviews NONE
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