Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (DVD, 2004) Reviews
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Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (DVD, 2004)

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"What Did You Expect Herbie to Fall in Love with, the Goodyear Blimp?"

Apr 19, 2009 (Updated Apr 19, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fun story with a main character I love

Cons:Inconsistant with other films in series, one stolen plot element

The Bottom Line: Let your inner kid free to enjoy this film.


Herbie, the Volkswagen with a heart (and brain), returns to his roots for the third film in the series.  The first movie introduced him as an unlikely race car.  The second movie, while fun, found him saving a widow from over eager developers.  But in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, he's back to racing and original star Dean Jones is also back as driver Jim Douglas.

Actually, it's been twelve years since Jim and Herbie retired from racing.  But they have decided to make a comeback.  And where better to have that comeback then the first running of the TransFrance race.  The race starts in Paris and racers through the French Alps before reaching the finish line in Monte Carlo.

A comeback would be hard enough, but there are more than snobbish racecar drivers to deal with.  First, another race car has caught Herbie's eye and heart.  The Lancia is sleek and beautiful.  She also has a firery red headed woman driver named Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars) who seems to fight with Jim every chance she gets.  Adding to the confusion, when a jewelry heist goes wrong, the desperate thieves slip the diamond into Herbie's gas tank.  And Herbie deal with all these things and still win the race?

Since this is that last of the original Herbie movies I saw, it is my least favorite.  It just doesn't quite have the nostalgic draw of the other three.  Having said that, watching Herbie in action is always fun, so I wind up enjoying this movie quite a bit.

And what's not to like?  Since both the lead character (Jim) and racing have been used before, they let that become a sub-plot.  Instead, the focus is on the double romance and the diamond thieves.  The various plot elements are juggled so effortlessly that you never forget any of what is going on or loose interest.  Something new is always happening.

As in the other movies, the story is filled with fun stunts and plenty of times when Herbie thinks for himself.  These are always the highlight for me.  I just laugh at the reactions of the people around him.  This time, we get some funny scenes with waiters to add to the mix.

Of course, that brings up the special effects.  These are the days before computer effects, but I still buy every moment I see here.  In fact, they are more fun because I know they required more work than the effects shots of today.

The acting is fine.  We aren't talking about award winning stuff, but there aren't any bad performances either to throw you out of the movie.  And yes, that even applies to Don Knotts who plays mechanic Wheely Applegate.  I quite often find his acting over the top annoying, but it actually manages to work here.

The scenery is beautiful.  I don't know how they got so much access to the Eiffel Tower, but several key scenes take place with that in the background.  During the race, we get plenty of shots of beautiful countryside as well.  I don't know where they were shot, but I'm willing to pretend they are France.

It's been a few years since I saw this film.  In that time, I've seen several of the Pink Panther movies.  I couldn't help but notice a similarity between those films and this one, from the stolen diamond to the bumbling inspector investigating the case.

My biggest complaint about the movie is the romantic storyline.  Oh, I have no trouble with Herbie falling in love.  But at the end of The Love Bug, Jim is happily married to Carole.  Yet here, there is no mention of her at all.  Seriously, what happened?

I must say I am less than impressed with this DVD release.  This is a movie only version.  Furthermore, the movie is cropped to full screen.  The sound has been upgraded to 5.1 surround, but they don't make much use of the full spectrum.  Then again, since this movie wasn't originally released in that format, that's a minor complaint for me.

Yes, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo has a few flaws.  But the kid in me still finds it so much fun.

This review is an entry in the French Finds Write-Off in Memory of Barbara (ifif1938).  I miss you, my friend.


Recommend this product? Yes


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