Top Gear - Patagonia Special (DVD)

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Top Gear - Patagonia Special (DVD)

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Review of "Top Gear - Patagonia Special (DVD)"

published 09/04/2015 | Jarisleif
Member since : 11/02/2012
Reviews : 443
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Ciao gone the same way as DooYoo. Time to depart, methinks.
Pro Clarkson, Hammond and May
Cons The end of an era
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"The Final Gear of Top Gear"

Clarkson's Porsche, wrecked by Argentine locals.

Clarkson's Porsche, wrecked by Argentine locals.

Tonight… Jeremy Clarkson tries not to punch any BBC producers, James May uploads a YouTube video which shows him making cheesy beans and crusty bread, and Richard Hammond says very little of anything. To anyone. Including the Stig. And his own mother. And Edward, his gardener. Even though he doesn't even have a gardener called Edward. Or a gardener.

I'm sure by now you're all humming the theme to the show which is called "Jessica" and was recorded by the Allman Brothers in 1973, and I'm sure some of you are a little sad that in all likelihood "Top Gear" as we know it has probably come to an end, but life goes on for the three former presenters. I say 'former' because at the time of writing, Clarkson had been fired as lead host of the world's most popular show for having a bit of a kerfuffle with a producer of the show, while Hammond and May had not signed new contracts with the BBC, which likely brings to an end 22 series of the brilliant motoring show which started its current format in 2002. James May has been quite vocal with reporters which were camped outside his Hammersmith home and said that the three 'come as a package' and also implied that it was never going to last forever. Three episodes of series 22 have never been shown and it's likely they never will be because of the unique way in which "Top Gear" is produced, with the studio segments being filmed the Wednesday before the show is aired on a Sunday. What we do have, though, is a new DVD and Blu-ray release of the "Top Gear" special which was aired over two parts during Christmas of 2014 in which the trio travel 130 miles in South America to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, an island chain split between Chile and Argentina.

What should have been a fun trip in South America for the gang, it became the stuff of nightmares and was well-publicised at the time. It was September of 2014 when the "Top Gear" presenters and crew rolled into Argentina to film footage for the Christmas special, and that is where things took an entirely different turn. As most of you are aware, Britain and Argentina were involved in a war in the early 1980s over the Falkland Islands after the latter invaded the British-owned territory. 904 soldiers lost their lives during the conflict, which lasted 74 days until Argentina surrendered on 14th June, 1982. Now that the very important – yet brief – military history information is out of the way, back to the problems faced by Clarkson, Hammond, May, and the rest of the crew. In typical fashion, the three presenters chose their vehicles for the trip, which was a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the small V8 engine. Hammond plumbed for a Ford Mustang Mach 1, May picked a Lotus Esprit V8, and Clarkson opted for a Porsche 928 GT, the car in which the real problem lied. See, the number plate for the car, N982 FKL, could easily have been misconstrued as being a thinly-veiled reference to the Falklands War, and the Argentine locals took major offence to this, giving them three hours to get out of Argentina, and subsequently attacking the crew when they did attempt to leave. I'm not going to go into detail on the 'he said she said' ins and outs, because this review and DVD is not about politics and I will stop there moving on to analysis and interesting stuff about the Patagonia special itself.

The trio begin their journey by a lake in Bariloche, Argentina, and typically extracted the urine out of each other's cars. Clarkson thought his 928 was magnificent, while Hammond quickly added '-ly boring'. May donned a cream suit and thought he was James Bond, while Hammond's brash Mustang was jovially ripped apart by Clarkson for having parts on the outside that did nothing. While on the road, Clarkson told a story about why he likes the 928. He speaks of driving to Sheffield at 170mph so that he could see his dad, who was quite ill. With a lump in his throat and wiping from his eye, Clarkson goes on to say that his dad died half an hour after he had arrived, and if it wasn't for the 928, he wouldn't have had a chance to say goodbye. Another interesting things from the journey was coming across the house in Argentina in which Butch Cassidy once lived. Clarkson is over the moon with this sight and it is quite warming to see him utter lines from the Butch Cassidy films, much to Hammond and May's annoyance. Some of you might remember the Burma special in which they build a bridge and, as an Asian man was walking across it, Clarkson said there was a slope on the bridge. Now I'd never heard of this term as being racist and thought nothing of it at the time, but Clarkson obviously remembered it as he asked if the bridge they finished in Chile was straight. Probably the best thing about any "Top Gear" special is the togetherness the trio put forward. That is very evident here as, inevitably, the cars begin to develop faults. You can see how the other two will drive off without helping their hapless friend, and we witness (several times) conversations between the three which become predictably and hilariously shouty. At one point Clarkson says to Hammond "Why don't you put the camp fire out. With your face."

There is something very magical about the way a "Top Gear" segment is filmed, and when a segment becomes a two-hour-long special you get scenery in full glory. There are many breath-taking shots from some beautiful countryside, most of which makes me want to visit South America, but having done things that I never thought I would during my life, I often wonder if I'd still want to be there when the time came to being there, if that makes sense. Bear with me here, but the Golden Gate Bridge is just a bridge. I know that if I ever saw it in person then I would probably say "Yeah, it's a bridge. Okay, next." I actually did this two years ago with St. Paul's Cathedral. My wife was in awe of the building, I sat in a Starbucks in the square watching people go by, and she couldn't work out why. I told her that I've seen dozens of cathedrals and while the designs are pretty impressive, I'd rather take in a centuries old pub instead. Anyway back to South America, as that is what we're here for. Stunning snow-covered mountain peaks of the Andes, clear blue lakes, and lovely leafy green foliage stand out as some of the good parts of the scenery, but this is "Top Gear", so what about the cars? Out of the three, I have always had a soft spot for the Lotus Esprit. Not just because it's British, but I just love the design of the 1996 version of the car – the very model which James May is driving. I do like Clarkson's Porsche but Hammond's Ford Mustang Mach 1 just doesn't do anything for me. Personally, I'd have gone for a Mercedes 380 SL purely for German reliability and a car that looks great, too.

It has become pretty obvious over the years that a lot of "Top Gear" is scripted. There are a few questionable scenes here that are quite obviously designed to be played out in a certain way, but that's the beauty of the show. It's not just about motoring. If it was, it would be boring and too factual without having any lack of self-morals. What really works on the Patagonia special is the humour the three put forth. The BBC says "Top Gear" will continue. It won't be anywhere near as good. I can only assume Clarkson, Hammond and May will go on to another car show in a similar trait, and they will be much more successful than the BBC.

I know I've waffled on and some of you are probably wondering when I'm going to bring this to an end, so here it is. This is the end! Well, after the next bit.

This is the last BBC production of "Top Gear" with Clarkson, Hammond and May, and although the company does tend to put out specials of the show on DVD and Blu-ray, I can't help but think that it is quite convenient that they released this special coming hot on the trail of Clarkson's official exit from the show. If you're like me and you have all of the official "Top Gear" DVDs, you'll want this one to add to your collection because you're not going to see anything like it again. After all, "Top Gear" without Jennifer, Hamster and Captain Slow isn't "Top Gear". It's "Top Gear USA" or "Final Gear", and neither of those shows work for me, because the presenters do not have the camaraderie that these three have. The ending segment is a little on the scary side and the Argentinians that took part should be ashamed of themselves. This isn't the best of the specials, but it does have a good dose of magic about it. Regardless of whether Clarkson was wrong to do what he did, he is still very good at what he does best, and that is presenting motoring shows.

And on that bombshell, it's time to end. Good night.

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Comments on this review

  • mousy86 published 02/06/2015
    Great write-up x
  • bettyboo47 published 24/04/2015
    Sunday evening will never be the same again
  • danielclark691 published 14/04/2015
    the end of an era as far as I am concerned.
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Product Information : Top Gear - Patagonia Special (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2015

EAN: 5051561040337

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Clarkson, Jeremy

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Lynch-Robinson, Kit

Classification: 12 years and over

Running Time: 2 hours

Video Category: Television

Sub Genre: Road, Sea & Air


Listed on Ciao since: 03/04/2015