Van Dyke Excited for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Blu-ray31 Oct, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey
LOS ANGELES — At 84, and with his most noted works all approaching 50 (“The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), you’re forgiven if you’d guess Dick Van Dyke wasn’t up on the latest home entertainment technology.
“I’ve got the 3D Blu-ray player and TV,” the actor said during a Saturday morning celebration of Chitty on Blu-ray Disc. “I thought Avatar would be out on 3D by now, but at least I’ve got Monsters vs. Aliens and that other one [Monster House]. I love it. Wouldn’t [Chitty] be great in 3D?”
Van Dyke, who counts computer animation among his hobbies, has kept up with technology, and his movies, Chitty chief among them, have also stayed relevant through the decades.
“It’s wonderful to be on a third generation now with this movie,” he said. “I have little kids coming up to me and calling me Bert. I give the Sherman brothers (Richard and Robert) credit because the music is what makes this movie. There’s something magical about it.”
The classic family musical gets a high-def upgrade Nov. 2, with remastered picture and a new 7.1 DTS audio track on the Blu-ray combo pack from MGM Home Entertainment and Fox. Besides hours of expected bonus features, MGM adds an all-new “Toot Sweet Symphony” melody maker and an interactive driving game.
“A lot of work [went into the Blu-ray],” said Eric Doctorow, GM of MGM Home Entertainment, calling Van Dyke “an American treasure.” “It’s truly a timeless movie, and we felt the responsibility to make it the best it could possibly be. There’s something about these films that works generation to generation.”
Matt Lasorsa, SVP of DVD marketing for MGM, said the 7.1 track turned out especially well, considering the age of the film (1968).
“I think it’s wonderful it’s being presented in such a wonderful way,” said Chitty star Sally Ann Howes. “People still love seeing stories about good and evil, but it’s also got humor, a wonderful, fun story, and all these weird characters. It’s sophisticated and beautiful to look at.”
At a screening of the film in Los Angeles, dozens of kids grabbed free candy, popcorn and sodas, and had their picture inserted in a photo of the movie thanks to a green screen booth.