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4.2 out of 5 stars56
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Last year's special Apocalypse DVD was an average Top Gear release (at best). A fine premise with a below par execution, suffering from being too long and the lack of Jeremy Clarkson, a crucial component to the Top Gear recipe for success.

For Christmas 2011, Jezza was off filming another DVD again (Powered Up), leaving Hamster and Captain Slow to try again at delivering another Yuletide special for Top Gear fans. And Top Gear: At The Movies is the result.

At The Movies boasts a stronger premise than Apocalypse. Richard and James take the role of film buffs this time, focusing on how integral the car can be for all sorts of cinematic excitement i.e. Bond movies, Bullitt, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Italian Job etc.

And in their antics:

- Hammond and May find out which cars have the best engines to produce the most amazing noise for a chase sequence.
- Using a Land Rover to build their own Bond car!
- Top Gear Stunt Man trying again to replicate the legendary barrel roll from Man With The Golden Gun.
- Richard and his trusty band of rally car drivers racing the unsung cars of the movie industry.
- Testing cars for handling via an exciting action-sequence full of cars, bikes, tanks, baddies and paintball guns!
- And Richard `guiding' rally car champion Toni Gardemeister driving a Skoda as they race Yves Rossy and his trusty jet pack!

Promising stuff? On paper, yes. But like Apocalypse, At The Movies again suffers from unnecessary flaws. I've said this before, but it remains true. Why Top Gear is such essential viewing is because of ALL THREE presenters working together. Richard and James do an alright job by themselves, but without Jeremy to complete the chemistry of bickering/teamwork, the presenting is incomplete and doesn't feel half as hilarious as it should be.

Another issue is that like Apocalypse, the content and theme of At The Movies would've suited Clarkson right down to the ground, with his knowledge of both film and cars coming into play for this feature. There's still fine humour throughout from Hamster and Captain Slow, but there's a lot of it that feels forced and too staged, which at times is annoying. Especially when Richard and James can't show the cinematic car chases they're watching (for copyright reasons), attempting to work it into the special with a joke that's repeated over and over again. The FOURTH time I heard it, I just groaned in disbelief!

The structure of At The Movies feels very disjointed as well. Each of the segments are broken up halfway through to move on to another skit, promising to pick up the challenge later. That coupled with the REALLY overlong length of the programme, can make this tiresome viewing at times.

But there is STILL a good amount of content here for Top Gear fans to enjoy. In fact, the Skoda vs. Jetpack race is breathtakingly spectacular! It reflects the DVD's theme superbly, with the stunning camera shots and high-stakes drama matching that of any awesome action film. It's the true highlight of the whole disc, with Toni Gardemeister and Yves Rossy truly deserving props!

Modifying the Land Rover into a Bond car - equipping it with customised gadgets and weapons - is another brilliant idea that works. With both Richard and James coming up with some (actually) brilliant ideas, with the most ingenious being James' cloaking idea to camouflage the car with its surroundings, rendering it virtually invisible. The results are hilarious and superb.

Hammond's escape from baddies with paintball guns is another highlight, with thrilling sequences and awe-inspiring camerawork and music. The presentation feels really cinematic, and Richard embarking on another `no contact' vehicle race with professional rally car drivers is typical smash-mouth fun, with perhaps more carnage than any other race featuring motorhomes, buses and airport vehicles. Jolly good fun indeed, but after seeing this done before several times, I feel it's time to give THIS particular challenge a rest.

There's an extra here as well. A deleted scene which makes for interesting viewing, but like a lot of the main feature's content, it feels rather `meh'. I would've preferred some outtakes, like in Top Gear DVDs from years past.

Nevertheless, Top Gear: At The Movies is a SLIGHTLY superior exclusive DVD than the previous year's Apocalypse. There's some exceptional material that comes in sporadic doses. Again though, it drags, falls flat at times, and NEEDED A CLARKSON! If you're a completist after ALL Top Gear DVDS, then buy At The Movies. For me, it's average overall, which is not what I expect from Top Gear.
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The DVD only stars 2 of Top Gear's main presenters Richard Hammond and James May. Considering Jeremy Clarkson is Harry's favourite person in the WORLD, I was a little worried he wouldn't like this, but instead found he was really enjoying it and the high octane action was exactly what he wanted. This DVD shows the two guys telling us all about why cars are important in action movies, and how they can improve on that brilliant cars. We don't actually see any classic cars from movies so if that's what you're expecting, you will be disappointed. However, I think this DVD is perfect for younger fans of the show, and it's certainly flashy, noisy and perfect for all petrol-heads out there.

I don't want to give away too much information about anything on the DVD as its great just to watch it and find out what's going on with Hammond and May. Instead, I'll just take roughly about the items on the DVD and whether they are any good or not. For Harry, the best bit is probably the boys trying to find out the best "goodie and baddie" sounds the car makes, and this involves them driving them very noisily around the Top Gear test track, with lots of gratuitous noise from the cars. This isn't my cup of tea but Harry enjoyed hearing the sounds, and working out which he thought were the best. Amongst the cars featured were Aston Martins, Ferrari's, and Lamborghini's so plenty in there for everyone. I didn't agree with their final decisions, but there you go, what do I know hey?! Another good section is Richard and professional rally driver Toni Gardemeister in a Skoda rally car racing against the "Rocket Man" Yves Rossy with his jet pack. It's a pretty good sequence, with good camera shots, and a good soundtrack, but I have to confess it isn't a favourite of mine or Harry's.

For me, the best bit was Hammond and May trying to build their very own Bond car using a Land Rover. Hammond's idea of armour is really funny, and had me really laughing out loud, it is truly hilarious and displays some of that humour we have all come to expect from Top Gear. May's idea for camouflage is actually quite ingenious and might work were it not for the fault's that Richard points out, but overall this is definitely one of my favourite things on the DVD, and has enough shooting, explosions, fire, and action to keep you hooked to your screen. Another good part of the show is Richard's "no contact" rally race with the unsung heroes of the movie automobiling world, including, amongst others, the stars' limousine, the port-a-loo delivery van and the catering truck. Richard recruits some professional racing drivers to race with him, and Harry loves watching it, it's predictably silly and a lot of fun, and when Harry watched it with his uncle, nan and grandad, they all found this very funny too! Yes, it's pretty much like other silly races Richard has done before but Harry and I enjoyed it all the same!

As well as these things there are a few more, but I haven't watched them enough to comment on them. One is the Top Gear stunt man attempting to do the legendary car roll from The Man With The Golden Gun, and the boys testing cars for handling against lots of obstacles. One of the things I didn't like about this DVD was the continuity, or rather lack of it. Instead of choosing to show a whole section on its own and in full, such as the Bond Land Rover, it was broken up into several pieces which were shown with other skits either side of them, and it did break it up a bit too much for my liking. I would have preferred them to carry it on and see something through to the end, and means you have to watch the bits you like slightly less just to get back to the bit you do really like. It works for the TV show, yes, but not for a DVD and perhaps its something they need to reconsider for their next DVD outing. Another niggle is that they couldn't show any of the famous car chases they constantly reference, instead showing Hammond and May watching these chases and telling us about them, and that they couldn't show them due to copyright which was a bit of a pain, especially when I didn't have a clue what most of them were in the first place.

Overall though, if you're a really big fan of Top Gear, then you are going to want to watch this one, and add it to your collection as it certainly won't be shown on television. Yes, it's clearly been made for the "festive gifting period" as Richard points out at the beginning, but there's lot of fun and games to be had here for just over an hour, and I think this will especially entertain younger Top Gear fans like Harry who love the silliness, noise and explosions. My favourite sequence definitely comes at the end with the Bond Land Rover and I defy you not to laugh! Yes, it does feel like it's missing Clarkson just a bit because you're so used to seeing him with the boys, but Hammond and May do work well together, have a good sense of comedy between them and it's an easy watch. I enjoyed it, Harry loved it, and we've seen it several times over all ready. Definitely one for the real Top Gear fans out, but worth a watch!
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on 13 January 2012
Movies on a tv screen playout without our seeing them but the two chaps watch them, so it requires a fine level of memory for the film sequences they are talking about. Which is a fine jest. For a while. Then it admits to being merely a cobbled together bit of 'what we let these two do on their school holidays' arrangement.

Thin and lacking in detail, but overall the two chaps are a pleasant enough minor detour. Perhaps instead of aiming at Z grade sci-fi production values, they might aim for a B-movie level of time. Which there will be. No doubt. With or without the loud taller northern one.
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on 26 November 2011
I always look forward to the Top Gear Specials and what makes this cool is that it's a little different from previous offerings. It's still got everything that makes Top Gear a great show and is a worthy special. Enjoy!
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on 12 February 2012
This is a really entertaining dvd and has a lot of the ingredients which make Top Gear a success. Except perhaps for Jeremy Clarkson. Some might say that makes a change.

There are some good ideas, from car movies, the only thing is they can't show the film clips in question for legal reasons. But a true car buff will know them anyway. I enjoyed this dvd and there are some sections which I may watch again. Such as the rally car race and the barrel roll sequence. Also I liked the invisible car.

All in all a good offering from May and Hammond.
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on 29 December 2011
Bought this DVD during the Christmas holidays because I was bored and wanted a DVD to watch. Although the DVD doesn't have Jeremy Clarkson in it, it's very entertaining, and not just Richard and James driving expensive cars and seeing how fast they go round the track, it's much more exciting than that. The feature is approximately 75 minutes long and there are no boring bits. Would recommend this product to anyone ages 8+. The only reason why I didn't give this DVD 5 stars is because £7 is quite a lot for a DVD which is only 75 mins long.
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on 7 September 2013
This dvd is terrible and stupid ( not in a good way )
The dvd is just pointless a waste of money its just james and richard playing around with a land rover and some supercars like aston martin and lamborghini there a rally car challenge at the start which was in the tv series
just don,t buy it if you want to buy your family friend or yourself a top gear dvd buy the worst car in history of the world
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on 20 December 2011
With so many Top Gear dvd's out there it's tricky to know what's new and what's not, but this one is actually all new. Got to say there's a really good mix of films, especially the Jet Man race which is proper epic stuff. For me the fast car track stuff is ok but the challenges are far more enjoyable where Richard and James are actually getting stuck in. The invisible car is classic Top Gear tom foolery.
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on 3 October 2013
This is by far not the best Top Gear Christmas special DVD I have watched, but it does have funny parts none the less.

Oddly it just seems a little poorly produced and put together for me. Almost lazy in the production really.

If you can get it second hand really cheaply then it is probably worth a watch. But other than that I would say save your pennies.
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on 9 January 2012
Present for my 11 year old son. wicked DVD really funny, with lots of explosions and lots of fast cars.
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