Herbie Fully Loaded

Cover and Menu: 4/10
Disney, the great and powerful creators of fun and excitement…oh wondrous designers could you possibly be any more uninspired when it comes to designing the cover of a DVD? This is Herbie people!! He’s a car that has a mind of his own. He flaps his doors when he’s happy, blinks his headlight covers when he’s being cheeky, and squirts oil in the face of any over-acting bad guy within a 12 foot radius. Don’t you think he deserves better? Looking back over the decades Herbie has a legacy of cutesy covers and comical images, so, where are they now? The poster from the first Herbie is so fun and has a lot of personality, but now we get nothing but a retooled Herbie and Disney’s love child, Lohan posing with all that charm just oozing from her adorable little pores. I had hoped to collect the posters from all Herbie movies for our home theater, but with this dud I think I’ll stick with Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz.
The menus aren’t much more appealing, just your average shots of the cast behind purely functional navigation. A honk now and then, or a squirt sound as you click a link to a deleted scene might be nice, but it’s too late now. The deed is done. The packaging for Herbie Fully Loaded is not giving me a lot of confidence for what the movie has to offer, but I’ll reserve judgment, for now.

Special Features: 8/10

  • Bloopers – If there’s something I like less than watching young starlet’s like Lindsay Lohan’s performances in the final cut of a movie, it’s watching them be extra giggly and oh-so-silly in the blooper reel. I do like to see performers screwing up sometimes. It makes me feel good to know they are working hard for those millions of dollars and having fun at the same time:)
  • Deleted Scenes – Now we’re talking. This movie was, to be kind, fairly flat and uninteresting as I watched it the first time. When I got to the extras and dug into the deleted scenes I found a whole other movie lurking behind the cut footage. I’m not saying this would be a gem of a flick if the deleted scenes were put back in, but to be perfectly honest, it would have been about 150% better with all those story bits and pieces squeezed in where they belonged. I know Herbie is the life of this jamboree, but in the original the characters were endearing, fun, witty, clever, and I really enjoyed watching them through their trial and tribulations. Without the added character development in Fully Loaded we lose a lot of what made that first Herbie movie so classic, likable, lovable people. I would put the deleted scenes back in if I could, but that’s for a special edition someday, I’m sure.
  • Alternate Title Opening – The opening title sequence of Herbie Fully Loaded gives us a run down of Herbie’s life and how he fell from grace over the past 20 years, which I enjoyed and appreciate. The alternate opening is some groovy animation that would make a great Herbie cartoon series, but it’s not got the history behind it that the clips from the original films had.
  • A Day At The Races Featurette – Lohan and the crew got to experience race car driving first hand at a real track in real cars with real drivers. It’s good to know they are following in the footsteps of the greats like DeNiro with their method acting. I will wait for great things from these up-and-comers. I’ll wait, but I won’t hold my breath :)I shouldn’t knock this extra, I learned several things about racing and got to see a pro woman driver and hear her story of how she broke into such a male dominated world. I learned what all the racing flags mean, how to change a tire in .00000009th of a second, and several other things about the racing world. Cut out the actors from the movie and this is a good little extra, cross my heart.
  • Breaking The Rules: The Stunts Of Herbie: Fully Loaded – Ms. Lohan on a wire to assist in the illusion of her being a skillful skateboarder, demolition derby Herbie doing a somersault, rail grinding in a VW bug, it’s all here in this little added feature. I like seeing how things are done in the movies, even if it’s strips away the magic of it all. Hey, I’m getting old I know cars don’t really think or feel anything so why not see how they make the eyes move and the doors pop open on demand? Oh, sorry, didn’t you know it was all done with remote controls and gadgets and special effects? This is probably as traumatic as the day you found out there was no Santa Claus. You did know there was no Santa Claus, right? Oh geez, well, um, there is a tooth fairy. Just go pull out a couple of those pearly whites and shove ’em under your pillow tonight and see what happens:) It will be more fun than watching this movie…hahaha oh my, that was un called for.
  • Bringing Herbie To Life – More special effects and how they bring this little car to life. He’s had a long life of winking, groaning, spurting oil, and driving around on his own. It’s time we all find out how the little bugger does it.
  • Director Audio Commentary – The director is a bit dry and pretty serious considering this is supposed to be one of the whackiest movie franchises out there. However, she is enthusiastic about the movie, about Herbie, and about keeping the legacy alive with a lot of thought for the history and future of the little car that just won’t give up on true love and all that good stuff. I liked listening to the commentary over the movie slightly more than watching the movie without…ah, the wonderful world of DVD. You can take a mediocre movie and with a few added features and a commentary make it worth the time and effort.
  • Lindsay Lohan Music Video: “First” – I watched it. Enough said.

The Movie 4/10:
I think by now you might have gotten the hint that I’m not a big fan of Herbie Fully Loaded. I don’t have any idea why Lindsay Lohan is the darling of Disney right now. She’s an ok little actress with wide eyes and big boobs, but other than that she’s about as generic as they come. Yes, I mentioned the boobs. She’s grown up a lot in the past couple of years and in Herbie Fully Loaded you can’t help but notice. There are the reports that they digitally dehanced her figure because she was a bit too grown up, and at times you can see why. You may even notice when they did their digital surgery. Not that this has anything to do with the movie or her talent as a performer, but it’s part of the production of this film, so it’s fair game for discussion.
Getting past the breast controversy what was the movie like? It’s hard to give a fair assessment since I am completely neutral on the whole thing. I didn’t hate it. I laughed a few times, at what I don’t recall, but I know it happened.

It’s almost impossible to not compare a modern day Herbie movie to the original. I try not to compare movies, ever, but this time it seems unavoidable. Why? The original Herbie movie was truly charming, funny, entertaining, and offered up something this new version just doesn’t have, characters I care about.

I don’t care about a young college grad who secretly wants to be a race car driver, or her down and out father who’s racing days are over along with his hopes of passing the family business on to his only son. It’s dry, uninteresting, and I never sympathize with any of them, ever, not once. I couldn’t care less if their racing team loses their sponsors. Even Michael Keaton as the middle aged father trying to do what’s best for his daughter doesn’t evoke any kind of emotion out of me. Call me cold hearted, but this family doesn’t make me go, “awe, those poor people. I sure hope everything works out ok for them in the end.” It’s Disney, I know it works out, but at least in other films I can go along with the illusion of pending doom and be glad in the end when the characters come out on top. With Fully Loaded they could have all become homeless and sent little Lohan off to be a stripper to make a living. Race car driver, stripper, it’s all the same when you don’t care about the people in the story.
The reason I don’t care goes back to all those deleted scenes they cut from the movie. Those scenes developed more of the story about her brother, his dream of being in a band, and more that filled in his character enough to make him less like a cardboard cut out, which is how he comes off in the movie.

Maggie (Lohan) goes from college grad to living with her Dad again in the first 2 minutes of the film. I’m not certain, but the whole college grad, going to work for ESPN thing feels REALLY tagged on to the story. I have a feeling it was forced in there to make this female character seem more modern, strong, independent. The thing is there’s nothing else to this character until she gets behind Herbie’s wheel. Then she comes to life with lots of screaming, exaggerated facial expressions, and shrugging her shoulders. The college graduate side story is little more than a distraction, a way to start the film, and a pat on the back for young strong ambitious women, who end up living off their dads and driving old used cars 🙂
Trip Murphy is the best part of the movie, and he’s not that much of a draw to be truthful. Matt Dillon is always fun to watch. He’s being the evil bad guy who wants to destroy Herbie, and from scene to scene he’s the one thing I look forward to. He’s not as slap sticky as old school bad guys, but he gets his fair share of grease in the face, whacking by car hoods, and generally humiliation at the hands, er, parts of a certain little vehicle.
Overall Herby Fully Loaded didn’t win me over. It’s good enough, but not what I consider a proud moment in the whole history of Herbie flicks. I know there have been some stinker Herbie movies, but these days I expect more, better writing, better effects, just more in general to keep the fun factor and nostalgia of Herbie alive and well.

Value: 5/10
This is not a classic Disney keeper. Rent it, wait for it to be on the Disney channel, wait for it to be the Sunday night movie on ABC, but don’t bother paying almost $25 for a very very painfully average movie, and only just better than average DVD. The extras are actually pretty good, but that’s not what should make you want to buy a Herbie DVD.

Overall Score 5/10