Top Gear Apocalypse DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 8.5
Audio 8.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 7.5
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 73
Classification:
 G
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs

7.5


Top Gear Apocalypse

With a reported global audience of over 350 million people, Top Gear is one of the most watched television shows in the world. Itís a recipe that has been added to and tweaked over time, finally finding the ultimate success in the last decade due to its perfect blend of information, humour and outlandish driving stunts.

Top Gear Apocalypse is the BBCís Christmas DVD release, and is hosted by stalwarts James May and Richard Hammond. There is no Jeremy Clarkson, no Stig and no studio audience, just a series of stunts and challenges neatly packaged under a common (if depressingly un-Christmassy) theme: the end of the world. Expect lots of quips about fallout, nuclear winter and zombified Mini drivers within.

The first challenge puts James and Richard behind the wheel of a car that has had its windows blocked out- ostensibly to simulate the total darkness that would succeed a nuclear war- and forces them to drive across an abandoned cityscape, using only their onboard GPS to navigate. The results are fairly predictable, and somewhat contrived, as the two smash into every solid object conceivable (and eventually each other). This sequence plods on for a bit too long, and starts to outstay its welcome towards the end.

And so do the Ďfillerí segments that have been inserted between challenges. They consist of James and Richard playing a game, where one will look away while the other tries to guess what instruments have been tampered with on the dashboard. The segments are aimed squarely at getting cheap laughs, but they fall short of the mark- even becoming cringe-worthy later on.

The feature only shifts up a notch when the hosts take part in a two-car raceÖ with a twist. Suffice to say that there are remote-control shenanigans involved, and the results are hilarious. Likewise, the scene in which the boys take to an arena with remote-controlled cars equipped with giant axes and blades, is grossly entertaining for the 14-year old boy in all of us.

As we have come to expect from this series, Apocalypse looks and sounds brilliant. The seriesí trademark lens filters, quick editing and super-stylish shots capture the cars and the stunts in all their glory. The soundtrack is well designed, even if it does sound oddly vacant when Hammond and James are speaking to us from the confines of a nuclear bunker. But I suppose thatís the point.

Cars and humour: it sounds like a winning recipe for entertainment, and it is. But this show isnít just about silly stunts, or grown men flinging supercars around a test track for thrills. Top Gear is so successful because at the heart of it, itís all about the common love of motoring.

The sheer love and enjoyment these people have of cars and driving is obvious the moment they get behind the wheel.

When Richard explains why the world is a better place for loud and obnoxious American muscle cars, you believe him.

When James expounds the reasons why he would choose a Ferrari F40 as his last ever drive, you are moved. And when the pair finally run out of fuel while sliding around the Top Gear test track, and are forced to leave their silent steeds behind, it is a genuinely sombre moment.

Despite the fact that it looks and feels cobbled together at times, and despite the fact that the boys often go over the top with their jokes, this release exemplifies the traits that have made Top Gear such an enjoyable show to watch for so long.

Sheer, uncomplicated fun.






 
 



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