1997. Director. Peyton Reed.
THE LOVE BUG '97 is the fifth instalment of the HERBIE series and is more or less the forgotten sequel. It was made as part of the WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY, which was an ongoing series of feature length films made exclusively for the Disney network. Many of the WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY films were fantastic and their quality was as worthy as any of the regular theatrical releases. 15 years had passed since HERBIE GOES BANANAS when Disney looked to revive the franchise and the result was THE LOVE BUG. It's a confusing name considering that the original 1969 film was also called THE LOVE BUG. I guess Disney were looking to introduce the story to a new generation, which confuses me even more considering that most people identify with the name HERBIE. Anyhow, while the movie loosely rehashes the events from the original film, it also plays very nicely as a sequel to the others. Legendary cult actor BRUCE CAMPBELL leads the party as a down-on-his-luck mechanic & former race driver who takes a chance on HERBIE, rescuing him from the scrap heap. If you love the series then you will consider this to be a very welcome addition. The magic of the previous movies is there and it is a damn-sight better than the atrocious HERBIE GOES BANANAS. Campbell rocks the lead role and plays into the family genre wonderfully. An added excitement factor is the return of Dean Jones, reprising his role of Jim Douglas. It gives the movie credence and makes it a worthy addition to the franchise. The only thing missing is the wonderful George Burns theme music. For some absurd reason Disney have never released THE LOVE BUG 97 to DVD and have excluded it from all HERBIE boxed set collections and re-releases. I don't understand why. It fits in so nicely. The best you will do is finding a good quality VHS transfer on DVD. It's worth the purchase and worth adding to your collection. Lots of fun. HERBIE RULES!