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 13/04/2015 | sirodar
Member since : 10/11/2014
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Good
Pro Cars, Travel, Cocking about, Traditional Top Gear
Cons A bit repetitive, bonus episode average, the end of an era
exceptional
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"My One Hundreth Review..... And on that bombshell."

Jezza, Hammond, May at Butch Cassidy's House

Jezza, Hammond, May at Butch Cassidy's House

Introduction

The purchase of the end of an era

This year witnessed a very sad ending to the current incarnation of the worlds greatest, longest running, and most loved motoring television show. A ‘slightly’ publicised event occurred a few weeks ago (you may have seen the ‘odd’ newspaper article) where one of the Top Gear team, Jeremy ‘I don’t eat cold cuts’ Clarkson felt so passionately about cooked meat, that he unceremoniously felt that one of the Irish producers on the show was responsible for his uncontrollable hunger and we all know that when we don’t get meat, you punch someone in the face. What effectively had happened, was that a long, hard, and tiring day at work resulted in a tantrum, and this tantrum rightly or wrongly ended Top Gear for ever. Unfortunately as a massive fan of the show, this almost made me punch a pheasant in my garden out of pure frustration.

This event though, was the final nail in a ever slowly closing coffin as controversy was courted at ever turn for twenty two series’. Claimed racism, xenophobic remarks, stereotyping and a persistent flouting of political correctness finally got the better of the show. The last great on-show misdemeanour (you may have also heard about this one) occurred as part of filming for the === Patagonia Special === where coincidentally or not, almost cost Jeremy, James and Richard their lives, or at least an arse kicking.

The Plot & Challenges

For this years ‘Christmas Special’, recently launched on BBC DVD (which was actually broadcast at Christmas and not February as is usually the case), The team were to send out, in a blaze of glory, the V8 Engine, celebrating 60 years of powering super cars, and bigger things, after they have been deemed too mean and hurt baby frogs and turtles. The challenge was to buy three V8 powered cars and drive to the Southern tip of mainland Argentina (Patagonia), and the City of Tierra del Fuego to take part in a game of ‘car football’ (several previous games involving Aygos, Fox’s, and Kias have been broadcast a few years ago) in a diplomatic mission to attempt to build bridges due to the ongoing tensions over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The 2 hour long special, follows our three, Daily Mail hated trio, on the 1,600 mile journey to the worlds most southern city. The cars the three presenters chose for the challenge were:

Jeremy ‘face punch’ Clarkson
Jeremy, as he has done on many challenges throughout the years, chose a Porsche 928. Traditionally, Jeremy is not a fan of Porsche as he feels they are too ‘engineered’ and ‘lazy’ in the design department. As usual, Jeremy chooses ‘poweeeer’ and ‘emotions’ to justify his Porsche choice. The others, in Top Gear fashion, disagree with his choice and he is openly mocked as usual.

Richard ‘Mexico Lover’ Hammond
Richard, who is a secret American, chose as he has done on many occasions, a Muscle Car in the form of a Ford Mustang. It is loud, brash, over the top, and very try-hard with some ostentatious additions including a comedy horn.

James ‘Pint of Bitter’ May
James chose a Lotus Esprit, as he has done in previous Top Gear Episodes, which seems out of character for Captain Slow, particularly as the Lotus is renowned as looking like a slice of double gloucester and also for being terribly unreliable.

Events throughout the Journey

The main reason for buying this DVD for most people is predominantly for 10 minutes of footage at the end and not the standard and many scripted and unscripted events occurring throughout their diplomatic mission. Such ‘normal’ events include a visit to the Bolivian Army’s least favourite person’s former home (Butch Cassidy), a trip over the Andes, an odd beach trip and an attempt at getting across a river from Chile into Argentina. There is the usual ‘cocking about’ with each others cars as is traditional in these specials, quite a bit of sexual innuendo, some power tests, and oddly, some horse riding in an attempt to go and buy some bolt cutters to open a gate. There is also a repeated joke from 2007 where Jeremy places a dead cow on the roof of his car, but they do at least acknowledge that this is a copycat cat event from the USA special - the very first TG big film. Predominantly, most of the jokes are recycled to suit the situation. But, all of this means that so far this is not a particularly stand out episode of Top Gear, and as a big fan, this is hard to accept.
The last 10 minutes of the DVD adventure

This special contains one of the most discussed events in television, and there are many opinions with regards to the coincidental nature of the event.

Jeremy Clarkson’s Porsche 928 ‘came’ with the Registration Plate H982 FKL. At first glance, and without anyone pointing it out, this looks like a normal plate however, the number plate bears a striking reference to the 1982 Falklands War, and astonishingly, this was claimed was a complete and categorical fluke. But, what a fluke. It was claimed that this was not contrived, but on news reports, it was reported there was another plate in the boot of the Porsche which would replace the FKL one - this was B311 END - worryingly, this feels like there might be some truth in the dodgy plate routine.

In my opinion, I want to believe that no one would be stupid enough to illegally change a number plate for comedy effect, especially to poke fun at the Argentinians and the thousands of service personnel who lost their lives in the 1980’s conflict….but this is Top Gear who are no strangers to annoying pretty much every nation on earth, granted in a very amusing way.

The result of this number plate incident, resulted in Argentinians barricading the Top Gear presenters and production team in the hotel and demanding that they leave the country immediately despite their mission being about improving relations between out two nations. Police and officials failed to negotiate a retreat of the Argentinian Pro Malvinas supporters, who wanted the team to get out. Once the team had managed to leave the hotel, they were informed that further along the road there was a mob of hundreds of angry locals, ex soldiers, and morons waiting for the team with eggs, rotten food and rocks, which was aimed at anything related to Top Gear. With the three V8s taking a bit of a bashing, they pushed on with the aid of some not very interested police officers. Finally they abandoned their V8 cars, and fled over the Chilean border, where luckily, Chile has a fondness for Top Gear and a strained relationship with their Andean neighbours.

With the friendship mission a disaster, the special comes to a conclusion with everyone still in possession of their wedding vegetables and their arms and legs.

The Production

One of my favourite things about TG is the beautiful and professional way it is shot. It is filmed with all the beauty of a blockbuster film and this adds to the enjoyable nature of the programme, almost akin to a nature programme albeit with petrol and sausages. Over the last 13 years, Top Gear has developed from being just a show about cars, into a travel and adventure show, and this is no different. The reason why Top Gear is so successful around the world, is that the cars are almost second to the landscapes, and astonishing scenery that the team drive through. Despite the hilarity, jokes, stupidity and general cocking about, every episode of Top Gear is enjoyable for the journey and the facts (no seriously, there are some facts) about each country they visit. Every episode of Top Gear satisfies the interests of a wide variety of people and there isn’t a great deal of technical car waffle. It is like the old BBC travel shows, but edgier and more subliminal, featuring undiscovered corners of the world, and places no one new existed until Jezza and crew showed us all about it. For me, every adventure the team take part in, makes you want to do the same, and in a way it inspires a bit of the adventurer in us all - perhaps not on this occasion where I don’t think I would enjoy being terrorised by three of four hundred raging Argentines.
Opinion & DVD

The Patagonia Special appears to have been released now, simply because of the deep feeling of sadness at the death of this current incarnation of TG. The BBC have obviously felt that they will sell huge volumes of the DVD to TG starved fans, (I have fallen for this ploy) who missed out on the final three episodes being pulled in the wake of ‘Steak-gate’, and in all probability they are correct, but it does feel like the BBC are somewhat being a little hypocritical by releasing this episode on disc, when they could just have easily finished off the series properly, seeing as it was only studio segments requiring filming.

What the BBC have also included on the 175 minute DVD is another of Top Gear’s longer normal films from the Series, whereby the team embark on a mission to herd some sheep in the Australian Outback. This is a nice attempt at providing a bonus episode, although for me it is not one of the best, predominantly as the setting was a dusty remote part of down under with little to look at. Also, some of the challenges were a little silly and unrealistic - this time they have included some deleted scenes, but in all honesty this won’t improve this episode.

I am sad to admit, that there was a feeling that the team were starting to regurgitate some of the old TG jokes, challenges and tests, and despite the fact that I am sad that it is all over, It was beginning to feel like it needed some fresh impetus.

For me, some of the classic specials include the North Pole, The Nile & Bolivia, but for me the best episode of TG of all time is the 2007 American Special where the trio buy three American cars for $1000, drive across bible country, and try to sell their cars at the end. This was original, full of clever wit, lots of interest and genuinely believable. If I was going to choose just one Top Gear Special DVD, this is the one for me. The Patagonia special, (which I will watch it again on DVD as it is still better than everything else on TV), despite the controversy surrounding it, just wasn’t as solid, and it makes me sad to say that. It is sort of tainted by the Daily Mail and the media taunting it with something that may or may not have occurred on purpose.

So, despite the fact that I own this on DVD, I would not go out of my way to recommend buying it to anyone unless you are the biggest TG nerd (me). Instead I would save the £9.99 and wait for it to come onto Dave. Which it will. A lot. But with lots of adverts.

6 out of 10 for the Patagonia Special

Available from BBC (Bring Back Clarkson) Shop, Amazon and literally everywhere.

Region 2 DVD, 16:9 Format (Widescreen)

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Comments on this review

  • bettyboo47 published 30/01/2016
    some say he eats small human chimps for breakfast, some say he writes reviews in his sleep...we just know him as.....Sirodar!!
  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 17/12/2015
    Having decided to write my own review of this show, believing I could do as well or better than a review I have just read, I then spotted that Sirodar has reviewed it too. Now how how the heck am I going to match or beat this? Probably the best Patagonia Special review - In the W-o-r-l-d ;)
  • cornishchic published 02/09/2015
    i'm with Katie on this - won't be the same on Amazon! x
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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

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Listed on Ciao since: 03/04/2015