*UPDATE* – 7/19/2009
Me Ol’ Bamboo and Posh were too slow. Posh is kind of understandable for the actor, but the only excuse for Bamboo is that they dont have enough offstage chorus people covering vocals for the exerting dancers. I mean I just saw the 83 year old Dick Van Dyke do it at tempo without the choreography, so do they really even have an excuse? And they modified the roll off choreography that Potts leads slightly (Laura noticed it and I agree with her).
Truly Scrumptious was too fast. They also didn’t do the talking intro for it (you’d had to be called somethig lovely like toot sweets).
I actually heard Lord Scrumptious (who is double cast as Baron Bombast) be angry at Potts for his invention ruining the factory with the dog whistle.
The kids steal the show everytime.
It’s still very cute (Hushabye Mountain is beautiful!). And the choral finale of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is still pompous.
*UPDATE* – 7/13/2009
Now that I’ve seen the movie, I can comment more thoroughly on what I like/dislike about the adaptation.
I appreciate the new songs (Teamwork and Samba) and appreciate being able to hear all the prettiness instead of being interruted by comedic dialogue. I mean I’ve got no problem with comedy, but “Doll On A Music Box/Truly Scrumptious” is very pretty and the movie only hints at it’s loveliness because Dick Van Dyke is hilarious. Same with Posh – with Grandpa using it as a time transition (but one that didn’t take nearly as long as the movie – observation, not complaint), you get to savor the lyrics ad enjoy his eccentricities. I also liked the extended Hushabye Mountain where Caractacus is energized and singing the song brimming with hope that he can raise the 30 bob and buy the children their car. I like Teamwork reprise, but I love the Hushabye Mountain duet.
I like the tweaked opening that has Caractacus defending his children from the junk dealer (albeit with his own eccentricities).
The movie draws a hard line (via special effects) between fantasy and reality that bends but never breaks while the musical chooses to never enter (leave?) the realm of fantasy which is a slightly better choice in my mind: everyoe wants to see the car fly, so why not just make that the reality of the show!
AND THE CAR FLIES!
It wasn’t clear to me that Caractacus didn’t make any money from Toot Sweets until I saw the movie…and it was a one line of dialogue fix! Just have Lord Scrumptious say, “Ring for the police!” and now we know he’s unhappy with a small pack of dogs runnig across his factory (obviously the best dog-related chaos you can show on stage, but I’m just saying it wasn’t completely clear).
The spies were very funny.
Chu-chi Face is much darker in the movie because the Baron really doesn’t like his wife…delightful fun in the movie but just kid of *meh* in the musical.
I love when new writers honor the old guard by taking instrumental music from the source material and turning it into a full blown song (the example here being The Vulgarian Anthem).
And I didn’t know this wasn’t a Disney film because it was the Sherman Brothers. But the Sherman Brothers are always charming and a brilliant songwriting team because they write for characters…it doesn’t matter if melodies are similar…the characters are all different.
And it’s much easier to have a toymaker be a deus ex machina than have the entire cast stage a full scale rebellion.
Absolutely delightful. It brought Laura back to many happy memories of watching the movie and singing the title song over and driving her parents crazy…and we happily skipped downthe stairs singing “pretty chitty bang bang” and having a wonderful time. What can I say…her giddiness is infectious!
I wasn’t particularly fond of the Act 1 finale…I mean it was amazing to watch the car fly, but the chorale arrangement of the title song seemed rather pretentious (while Laura was overwhelmed with giddyness by the flying car, she does agree that it’s a little pompous).
What kind of toymaker can just repeal a royal decree and depose a baron just for being evil?