A retrospective essay
HERBIE FULLY LOADED
June 22nd of 2005, Herbie the Love Bug came back to the big screen in Herbie Fully Loaded. The film arrived with a mixed reception (currently sitting at a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes) and is one of those films that surprises with today's standards with a G rating. The film cost an estimated 50 million and brought in 144.1 million - which is a modest success for the abnormal VW race car.
This new iteration of Herbie was indeed Fully Loaded, with a fantastic cast attached: Cheryl Hines, Michael Keaton, Justin Long, Breckin Meyers, Jimmi Simpson, Tom Lennon, Matt Dillon, and Lindsay Lohan in her final prime-time role.
The featured racing is fun and exhilarating with the practical effects shining brightly, while the additional CGI special effects distract ever so slightly. Sure the story may be a bit on the predictable side of things, but sometimes a by the number story from your childhood is exactly what you need. The cinematography during a key race between Maxx and Trip is striking, yet unfortunately shows the lack of great shots throughout.
That derby scene near the close of the film draws the most memories on rewatch. The rivalry between Herbie and the big monster truck is truly something to behold, especially with the epic conclusion in that scene (Spoiler: Herbie wins).
The editing is littered with nostalgic and charming visual transitions featuring the famous Herbie colored stripe or silhouette of Herbie expanding to lead us into the next scene and I just can't get enough. Closing with the classic "The End" couldn't have been a better finale for the Herbie saga.
The cast has been listed, but how do they all do? The answer is that the cast is certainly the weakest element of the film with Lindsay Lohan's performance being the weakest link among the lot, and she is what is supposed to lead the film. The remainder of the cast do well enough considering the script at hand.
In conclusion, as Herbie Fully Loaded turns 15 there is still a ton of fun to be had and a lot of product placements to spot, but the nostalgia wins in the end, making Herbie Fully Loaded a nostalgic trip to be had for fans of the love bug.