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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Herbie Rides Again
Herbie Rides Again
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // May 4, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 19, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Movie:

There are a lot of people who don't like Disney's business practices or the way they chose to handle their DVD releases.  But one thing the Disney Company excells at is making family entertainment.  There was a time not too long ago when Disney was practically the only company that made movies aimed at the entire family.   And though Dreamworks and others have jumped onto the family friendly bandwagon, Disney still is a leader in children's entertainment today.

Having grown up watching The Wonderful World of Disney on TV and pestering my poor parents to take me to the theater every time another Disney movie was released, I am thrilled that the mouse is now releasing some of their back catalog of live action movies.  It is a great delight to see my two sons enjoying the same movies I loved when I was their age.  One such movie has recently been released; the sequel to The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again.

Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn) is a rich industrialist who builds shopping malls and office buildings on the land where neighborhoods once stood.  He's kicked a lot of people put of their homes, and now he's trying to get Mrs. Steinmetz (Helen Hayes) to sell the last plot of land he needs to build the largest office building in the world, Hawk Towers.  But Mrs. Steinmetz won't sell her old firehouse, no matter what the price.  Mr. Hawk decides to send his innocent looking nephew, Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) who just graduated from law school, to try and talk some sense into the old lady.

When Willoughby arrives at Mrs. Steinmetz's house, he finds her to be a kind gentle old woman who thinks that her Volkswagen Beetle (an ex-race car her nephew, Tennessee Steinmetz, used to work on) is actually alive.  He's convinced that she's going crazy until Mrs. Steinmetz's boarder, Nicole Harris (Stefanie Powers,) gives him a ride in Herbie.  After the wild ride that ends with Herbie and Willoughby entering a car jousting contest, he is convinced that Herbie is sentient and that his uncle is wrong for wanted to tear down the firehouse.  Willoughby joins the two ladies in their fight against the powerful industrialist.  Mr. Hawk has a lot of money and a cadre of expensive lawyers, but the underdogs have the Love Bug on their side.  Alonzo Hawk and his lawyers don't stand a chance.

This was a fun family oriented movie.  There were a lot of laughs and a good deal of action.  My two children were rolling with laughter in some scenes, especially the part where Alonzo Hawk promised to steal Herbie in 15 minutes or less.  That scene left them in stitches.  One of the things that was so enjoyable is that they established the fact that Herbie was sentient early on, which left the rest of the film for Herbie's antics.  There was plenty of slapstick and a lot of jokes.  The humor starts early and the laughs are steady throughout.

The movie is populated with standard Disney actors.  Even the small parts are filled with faces you'll recognize from other Disney projects.  While the acting wasn't outstanding, it was just what you'd expect for a family film, and fits the movie well.

This was an enjoyable movie.  If you liked the first Herbie movie, you'll enjoy this one too.  It is better than the thrid Herbie movie, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and much, much better than the poor final movie in the series Herbie Goes Bananas.

The DVD:


Audio:

This movie has an English 5.1 soundtrack with optional English subtitles.  There wasn't a lot of use made of the soundstage but there was a little directionality.  The sound was clean and clear, with the dialog easy to understand and the sound effects coming through nicely.  The crashes and building demolition scenes weren't as forceful as they would be had the movie been made today, but they are loud enough to get the feeling across.  A good sounding DVD.

Video:

Disney seems to be a little schizophrenic when it comes to putting out their classic live action movies.  On May 4th, they put out the last three movies in the Herbie series, two of them were butchered pan and scan versions, but this one preserved the movie's original aspect ratio.  It was anamorphically enhanced to boot.  The picture quality was very good for a bare bones movie from 1974.  The colors were strong and the detail was excellent.  You could clearly see the sweat on Willoughby's brow as he is dangling from a window washing scaffold 20 stories up.  The print had a few specks but not other damage.  I was very pleased with the way the disc looked.

The Extras:

There were no extras, not even a trailer.

Final Thoughts:

I had a great time watching this movie again.  It has been years and years since I've seen it, but it still has all the charm I remember from when I was a kid.  In some ways it's superior to the original.  There is a lot more humor, but it is a lot less realistic, with Herbie driving up on the side of a cliff and through the water.  But who turns to Disney movies for realism?  If you enjoyed the first film, this is a worth sequel.  The fact that Disney sensibly released this in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen version with high quality sound and video is a great treat.  Even though the DVD is lacking in extras, this disc comes Highly Recommended.

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