Price: 25 cents
Runtime: 144 Minutes
Director: Ken Hughes
Screenplay: Ken Hughes + Roald Dahl
Production Designer: Ken Adam
Cast: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Benny Hill
With Samantha's gurgling under SEED OF CHUCKY post seemingly relgated to residing in a perpetual state of Chinese Detoxcracy, it seems that I need to prop up this boognish with some more filibuster on quarter vids, but this one requires a bit more focus than your average Jean Claude Van Damn Those Olsen Twins vehicle.
You see the first (and prior to yesterday, only) time I saw this lumbering, clunky curio was as a hyperactive kid in kindergarten, which means that there is a 50/50 chance this was still the 80's (feeling old). It was shown to us by that awful wench Ms. Doolittle when the late Ms. Gemme was out sick. I still possess a deep and bitter hatred of that foul Doolittle cunt even though I cannot for the life of me remember what made her so repulsive, I was only 6 at the time. But I digress, Gemme left a copy of this to keep us occupied through our half day and on second viewing, it is very obvious why.
This is maybe the longest seeming movie I have ever seen.
Now I don't mean this literally, of course. 144 minutes barely kicks the ass of the Harry Potter 3 vid I chomped a couple days prior and I've dug some 6 hour Italian familial epic gunk in my day while awaiting the way too long coming of a fucking Berlin Alexanderplatz DVD to crush all others in it's wake, but there is a difference between real time and felt time. While Chitty Chitty Bang Bang may not break the bank in actual measured stop watch time, I'll be damned if I have ever felt more incapacitated and slogged in by a movie. Once the horrifying final chapter kicked into high gear, there was no escaping this film's brown acid grasp on me. I was slathered in molasses and Dick Van Dyke kept on licking my face and throwing pieces of lunchmeat into my slobbering jaw.
It's a pity this movie is so disastrously paced because there is a great great movie lurking somewhere in here. First, you have the gorgeously tacky and oppressive art design of Ken Adam, who famously designed most Bond movies from Dr. No to Moonraker in addition to Dr. Strangelove and Barry Lyndon. His gift for the aggressively massive set lends this movie a sense of scale that almost validates its bloated and fatuous runtime. Second, you have the hateful and misanthropic pen of Roald Dahl scribbling off a story that hinges on poverty, delusion, and the universal enslavement of all children. Third, you have some ungodly Bond money funding this since it was A) based on a story by Ian Fleming and B) as a result, the only post Dr. No non-Bond movie to be produced by the goofily named Cubby Bruccoli. Fourth, you have the gift and curse of the Sherman brothers writing your songs, hot off their Mary Poppins and Jungle Book triumphs.
Ok, fuck this. I am taking this way too methodically and serious. This movie is cracked out on too many drugs for me to try to break it down like it's some fucking Carl Dreyer movie or some shit. Basically, it's too fucking long, a lot of the songs blow, the actors mostly suck, and it pales in comparison to most anything else I can compare it to. As far as overlong clunky late-period road show spectacles go, this most closely resembles It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but without that movie's saving grace of having the best comedy cast from 1936, 1948, and 1957 yucking it up in Sunny Long Beach in 1963. As far as acid drenched kid's flicks with a hint of the OE800, there's always the superior BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, with its animated nuttiness and the hotness that is Angela Lansbury (rowr). God, it's just so fucking slow. And then near the end, it just gets too fucking weird and creepy, just look at this abomination of the senses,
The dead lifeless stare of Cock Molestermobile Butch in his homeless bleached rastafarian clown make up at the end is almost enough to make me pull an Owen Wilson on this bitch. But once again that's all you need to know. The main chick in this is to Julie Andrews what Joe Estevez is to Martin Sheen, but without the blood and plus an Adam's apple. The kids are obnoxious and in need of a good reaming in the shed with Penis Aerostar Lesbian, I have heard horror stories from the set of Diagnosis Murder, let me tell you! I don't know, it's just too much. I need to like get really wasted or something to stop thinking these horrible things. You see that's what this does, it makes you think bad thoughts, it's in that Return to Oz Dark Crystal territory for sure. Fuck it all. I can't take it anymore. It's just Van Damme movies and the Butterfly Effect 2 from here on out.
Also worth noting is the very odd (specially for a kids movie) ad for the fledging Virgin Atlantic airlines starring suicidal monolinguist Spalding Gray rambling about god knows what for entirely too long. oh, branson, what will you waste your money on next? MURRRRDAHHHH!