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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Teens > Herbie Fully Loaded

Herbie Fully Loaded


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



With their favorite young female star Lindsay Lohan, Disney decided to give it a try at relaunching the “Love Bug” franchise with Herbie Fully Loaded, a 2005 feature film that had mixed commercial and critical results in bringing back one of film’s favorite living automobiles.  Though built in 1963, the Volkswagen Beetle with the number 53 on it is on the brink of being taken apart, but circumstances bring it together with the daughter (Lohan) of a racing legend (Michael Keaton) who needs a car and is forbidden to ever race again after an accident.


The rest would be obvious formula filmmaking, but the film still has fun with mixed results of bringing the car back to life and putting it on new adventures.  Remembering the fun of the original films in their time as the fun, smart family films they were and still are, this film is not bad.  It has a fine cast of mostly unknowns, though Matt Dillon is also good, while the use of the car in its return has some heart and soul.  The problem is that soul is competing instead of integrating with said formula and that is where the film gets into some trouble.  Lohan is a gifted comic actress, as she proves over and over again, while even more could have been done with the story instead of so many “cutesy” moments with the car that can be appealing, but are a bit overdone.


However, it is a good restart and with a simple mix-up, Herbie could ride again like never before.  This DVD will help that.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is not bad, but seems a little more digital than it should be.  Part of this is the outdoor scenes looking less naturalistic than they did on 35mm in the theater.  More annoying are obvious digital enhancements on Miss Lohan’s chest done because the studio thought this aspect of her anatomy was too distracting or “PG-13” for children.  Janet Jackson panicking aside, the result is actually phonier and reminds one of the broadcast/network prints of Paul Verhoeven’s initially NC-17 disaster Showgirls where the topless dancers (of which there were many) have digital bras on throughout.  In both cases, they look like bad bra ads.


The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a bit better, but a DTS mix would have made this film more fun for home playback.  The score by DEVO genius and veteran mark Mothersbaugh brings this up another notch, making for an interesting commercial release all around.  Extras also include a Lohan Music Video with the film, director Angela Robinson’s audio commentary, three featurettes, a semi-complete alternate opening credits sequence that should have been finished and used as the beginning of the end credits, deleted scenes and bloopers that are edited together in a way that is a nice change of pace.  This DVD of Herbie Fully Loaded may not be too loaded, but it is not bad and if things go right, a fun counterculture hero may be on its way to a comeback.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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