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At the movies with Hammond and May! But I want Jezza as well!,
This review is from: Top Gear at the Movies [DVD] (DVD)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.