Dyke Van Dyke plays Caractacus Potts, an unconventional man who likes to invent things and whose children are left to their own devices much of the time. They come across an old car in a junk yard and beg their father to buy the clunky old car. Potts cannot afford the car so he comes up with ideas to get the extra money. After one failed attempt, he decides to present a dance routine at the county fair and is able to get the money he needs to buy the car. He then spends time tinkering on the car, making it look as good as new. On a car ride with the kids down by the seaside, Potts tells a tale about the car's powers-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies and floats-and the people who want the car and its inventor. The out-of-this-world adventure is filled with pirates, an evil baron, a child catcher, underground caves, and even a rescue mission.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Bang: two hours and 20 minutes of Dick Van Dyke...ugh. Clearly, I am not a Dick Van Dyke fan; despite this, I can appreciate his musical performance. But does the movie really have to last over 2 hours? I highly doubt it. My kids watched the first hour one night and had a little light bulb moment when they discovered that the car was named after the sound it makes. That was about when Chitty Chitty ran out of gas. The movie started collecting dust as days went by without even a word about the movie's second half.
Seeing as I had never seen the movie as kid, I sat down to watch the last hour. I actually think the second hour is a little more entertaining that the first. The second hour is when the exciting part of the movie unfolds. I think my kids could have been a little freaked out, though, when the child catcher lures the Potts' kids with lollipops and then kidnaps them-something parents often warn their own children against. There are some story lines that stay with you, but the only thing that I got from this is the catchy jingle... chitty chitty bang bang...chitty chitty bang bang....