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Toon Talk: Herbie: Fully Loaded
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
June 22, 2005
Kirby reviews the latest Disney live-action released Herbie: Fully Loaded.
Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

Herbie: Fully Loaded
Walt Disney Pictures

53 Pick-Up

Ever since The Love Bug roared onto silver screens in 1969, stealing hearts and, more importantly (and most surprisingly) topping the box office, Disney has been trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle. Three theatrical sequels followed (Herbie Rides Again in 1974, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo in 1977 and Herbie Goes Bananas in 1980) with ever diminishing results. The “little car? with a personality all its own resurfaced on television during two particularly resurgent periods of Disney TV production, with the short-lived series Herbie the Love Bug in 1982 and a Love Bug TV movie remake in 1997. But none of these were quite able to regain the magical innocence of Herbie’s first appearance. (Click here for the Toon Talk review of The Love Bug Special Edition DVD.)

So it was with suspicious trepidation that Love Bug lovers everywhere have greeted the latest attempt to revive the franchise with the new feature Herbie: Fully Loaded. The concept is a natural: what with the ever-increasing popularity among the masses of NASCAR racing, hitching the character to that wagon seems a perfect fit. And what better way to get the youth audience interested then to cast current teen queen (and Disney remake perennial) Lindsay Lohan as Herbie’s new owner.

But hard core Love Bug loyalists have not been amused by the film’s advance trailer, with a computer-enhanced Herbie seemingly running amuck, not to mention rough-shod over their cherished memories of their beloved VW. I too was hesitant at this this high-tech approach to the charmingly low-tech character, so I was pleasantly surprised by how well the spirit of the original has been integrated into the new entry. The CGI effects are distracting at times (as they most often are in recent films), taking the audience by the hand to be sure they know exactly how Herbie is “feeling? at any given time. But over-all, this new Herbie is an enjoyable throw-back to simpler times, when family films didn’t traffic in the lewd and loud.

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