Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • Directors: Ken Hughes
  • Producers: Albert R Broccoli, Stanley Sopel
  • Writers: Roald Dahl, Ken Hughes, Richard Maibaum
  • Genres: Family, Comedy, Musical, Fantasy
  • Actors: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Adrian Hall, Heather Ripley, Lionel Jeffries

The time is the 1910s. Jeremy and Jemima Potts are playing in a wrecked car in Mr. Coggins’ junkyard. The wreck, Coggins explains to a potential customer, was a winning Grand Prix race car until it crashed. The customer is only interested in it for salvage, but Coggins accepts his offer, much to the children’s dismay.

On the way home, the children meet the beautiful Truly, who demands to know why they are not in school. They take her home to their windmill, where she is introduced to their eccentric father, Caractacus Potts—who is about to make an attempt to fly—and the equally eccentric Grandpa Potts, who, resplendent in soldiers’ uniform, explains that he is going to India for “a cup of tea with the Maharaja”, before disappearing into the outhouse at the end of the garden. Truly shows interest in Caractacus’ odd inventions, but he is affronted by her attempts to tell him that his children should be in school. Angrily, she leaves.

The children tell Caractacus about the car, and he promises to try and get it, although he can’t afford to outbid the scrap man. Edison, the family dog, discovers that the supposedly useless “sweets with holes in”, made by Caractacus, can whistle. Caractacus goes to a local sweet factory the next day, and attempts to show his new candy to Lord Scrumptious, who turns out to be Truly’s father. He initially refuses to look at the sweets, but eventually gives in, and finds he likes them. However, the whistling attracts every dog in the village, and they ruin the factory’s confectionery, and Lord Scrumptious throws Caractacus out.

Back at the seaside, Jeremy and Jemima finish the story themselves: “And Daddy and Truly were married!” “And lived happily ever after!” When Truly asks, “Is that how the story ends?” Caractacus is evasive, and later tries to “apologize” for the children’s ending by saying “It’s ridiculus for the children to say that”. Truly, feeling rebuffed, storms off. The Potts arrive home to find Lord Scrumptious waiting with wonderful news: he has decided to market the whistling sweets Caractacus invented to dogs. Now assured of riches, Caractacus is about to sign the contract, but dashes off in Chitty to tell Truly the news. He runs her off the road yet again, carries her from the car, and they decide to be married after all. As they drive off together in Chitty, the car takes to the air again, this time without wings.

Curious George

  • Directors: Matthew O Callaghan
  • Producers: Ron Howard, David Kirschner, Bonne Radford, Jon Shapiro
  • Writers: Robert L Baird, Dan Gerson, Karey Kirkpatrick, Michael McCullers, Clare Sella, Joe Stillman
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
  • Actors: Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Dick Van Dyke, Ed O Ross, Frank Welker, Phil Hayes

A clumsy, mischievous, and curious chimpanzee named George (voiced by Frank Welker) lives in the jungles of Africa. His behavior amuses the other young jungle animals, but angers their parents; therefore George is left sad and alone.

Meanwhile, at the Bloomsberry Museum, Ted (the “man in the yellow hat” of the earlier book series) (Will Ferrell), a museum employee, teaches schoolchildren about natural history, not realizing that his lectures bore them. Afterward, he has a talk with Maggie (Drew Barrymore), the school teacher, who admires him and for whom he has strong feelings. Later, Mr. Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke), the owner of the museum, tells Ted that he is pressed to close the museum by his son, Bloomsberry Junior (David Cross), who wishes to build a parking garage in its stead. This upsets Ted, who suggests, to revive the museum’s popularity, that they obtain a statue called the Lost Shrine of Zagawa. Excited, Mr. Bloomsberry thinks to go himself as he had been prevented from doing by his son’s birth, but finds that he is too old. Without thinking, Ted quickly volunteers to make the expedition. Mr. Bloomsberry accepts the idea and Ted prepares to leave for Africa. Junior, frustrated, modifies his father’s map of Africa to prevent Ted from finding the Shrine.

Upon the exhibit’s re-opening, Ted redesigns the entire museum to be more interactive, thereby igniting the children’s interest in history. The museum now includes a dinosaur rib cage, where the children can learn of the skeletal system, a space where they can learn about the solar system, a paint area, where the children can paint for and other exhibits. Junior is set to work parking customers’ cars, somewhat to his chagrin, but by fulfilling this task, however, he earns his father’s praise, which he has much coveted. Ted and Maggie are about to become sweethearts in earnest when George again interrupts them by hijacking a nearby spacecraft (The empty fuel tanks were filled by Clovis, accidentally). Ted and George orbit the Earth in this craft, which is itself a reference to the book series on which the film is based. The film concludes as they make their second and third orbits at a comically exaggerated speed.

Mary Poppins

  • Directors: Robert Stevenson
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Screenplay, Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi, Books, P L Travers
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Ed Wynn

The film begins with Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) perched on a cloud high above London in Spring 1910.[1] The action descends to earth where Bert (Dick Van Dyke), a Cockney jack-of-all-trades is performing as a one-man band at a park entrance. After the show, he breaks the “Fourth wall” and introduces the audience to the well-to-do but troubled Banks family, headed by the cold and aloof Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson) and the loving but highly distracted suffragette Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns).

The Banks’ latest nanny, Katie Nanna, quits out of exasperation after the Banks children, Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) run off in pursuit of a wayward kite. Mr Banks returns home from his job at a bank, and Mrs Banks reveals the children are missing. A policeman arrives with the children, who ask their father to help repair their damaged kite, but he dismisses them and advertises for an authoritarian nanny-replacement. Jane and Michael draft their own advertisement asking for a fun, kind-hearted and caring person, but Mr. Banks tears up the paper and throws it in the fireplace. Unnoticed, the note’s remains float up the chimney.

The next day there is a queue of old and disagreeable nanny candidates waiting at the door. However, a strong gust of wind literally blows the queue away, and Mary Poppins floats down with her umbrella to apply. Mr. Banks is stunned to see that this calmly defiant new nanny has responded to the children’s ad despite the fact he destroyed it. As he puzzles, Mary Poppins hires herself and begins work.

Her work done, Mary Poppins takes to the air with a fond farewell from Bert.

Night at the Museum

  • Directors: Shawn Levy
  • Producers: Shawn Levy, Chris Columbus, Stephen Sommers
  • Writers: Milan Trenc, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Jake Cherry, Dick Van Dyke, Carla Gugino, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Patrick Gallagher, Rami Malek, Kim Raver, Pierfrancesco Favino, Charlie Murphy

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a divorced father who is unable to keep a stable job, the bulk of them being failed business ventures. He is desperate to win the support of his son Nick (Jake Cherry), whom he fears is beginning to look up to his more successful future stepfather, Don (Paul Rudd), a bond trader on Wall Street. Larry therefore applies for a job at the American Museum of Natural History, where he is assigned as a night guard.

The three elder (soon to be retired) night guards, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney), and Reginald (Bill Cobbs), give him a quick tour, advise him to leave some of the lights on, and warn him not to let anything “in . . . or out”, which Larry meets with humorous skepticism. They also leave some odd instructions for him.

Once night comes, Larry discovers that the museum exhibits come to life. Larry barely manages to survive through the night. First, he discovers a Tyrannosaurus rex drinking from a water fountain; Larry distracts it by throwing a bone it has ripped from its own skeleton. Then, despite a narrow escape in the wildlife exhibits, Larry manages to lock up the lions. Finally, he double-checks his belt, only to discover that a capuchin monkey named Dexter has in fact stolen his keys. When Dexter destroys the old guards’ instruction manual, Larry is forced into humiliating himself.

The next day, Dr. McPhee fires Larry despite his effort to clean up the museum; but when the reports issued by the news media begin increasing the Museum’s popularity, he readmits Larry. Some time later, Larry appears in Nick’s classroom during Career Day. Later that night, Larry returns with Nick and all the exhibits celebrate. Cecil, Gus, and Reginald eventually become janitors at the Museum; a stereotypical punishment in comedy films for defeated antagonists (and still allows them to be around the energies of the tablet).