Top Gear - Winter Olympics (DVD)

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Top Gear - Winter Olympics (DVD)

Filmed on location on the mountains of Lillehammer, Norway. The presenters of Top Gear test out the cars in their own interepretation of the Olympic G...

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Review of "Top Gear - Winter Olympics (DVD)"

published 06/06/2006 | crispybits
Member since : 13/10/2005
Reviews : 29
Members who trust : 6
About me :
Pro Whole Winter Olympics Special (not a clip compilation), Widescreen, two extras reels
Cons One of the segments has previously appeared in the Revved Up compilation.
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"Three Piste Suite"

For anyone who's unfamiliar with TOP GEAR, it is the motoring review programme on BBC2 which is hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. And if it was that simple, it'd be boring. Thing is it's not that simple, and ever since the 27 year-old programme underwent a dramatic format overhaul in 2002 - it's never been boring.

TOP GEAR 3 - TO THE METAL (a pre-release title, the DVD is now available as TOP GEAR - WINTER OLYMPICS) is the third BBC DVD release of the programme. Where previous releases BACK IN THE FASTLANE and REVVED UP have focused on providing best-of series clip compilations TO THE METAL is one complete episode, the TOP GEAR WINTER OLYMPICS SPECIAL.

This was broadcast on BBC2 to coincide with the 2006 Turin Winter Games and this programme's premise was to take winter Olympic events to Lillehammer, Norway and, well, do them in cars instead. (Just for a bit of variety) The result is on DVD as it was when first broadcast: Completely. Insane.

Which is the core appeal of new TOP GEAR, it IS completely insane. Humour-filled, irreverent to the core and putting a hole in the politically correct ozone layer, TOP GEAR is one of the most original and entertaining programmes on television currently and it's good to finally see the BBC releasing whole episodes instead of the usual drip-feed collections.

Each TOP GEAR episode is divided into filmed segments with the presenters providing the links, the segments on this disc are:

Clarkson and May take on a winter biathlon course in 4x4 Volvo and Audi estate cars. As shooting is an integral part of the biathlon discipline they must choose weapons (worried yet?) May selects a biathlon class .22 rifle to do the job. While, naturally, Clarkson plumps for the Heckler & Koch MP-5 semi-automatic assault rifle and declares war on the local pine tree population...

A common theme with the TOP GEAR programme is their persistence in attempting to kill Hammond. They've tried drowning him by putting him in a car and dropping it into a tank of water. They've tried electrocuting him by sitting him in a car then hitting the aforementioned car with several thousand volts of man-made lightning. This time the programme makers are going for death by refrigeration in a quest to find out which will break first at minus-40 degrees, Richard Hammond or a Citroen C1?

A variation on the Olympic speed skating event, Clarkson races a world champion speed skater around a 1,500 meter speed skating course in the new Jaguar XK8 coupe. The result is... Inspirational...

Inspired by the speed skating event Clarkson and May take to a frozen lake for a variation on figure-skating-ice-dance-stuff-with-cars with Clarkson in the XK8 coupe and May taking charge of a Land Rover Discovery. This segment has some of the best cinematography and aerial photography created for the series, and looks as good as anything shot for DIE ANOTHER DAY.

This segment previously appeared in the REVVED UP compilation and is another winter-themed race (from the 4th series). It pits May in a Mitsubishi Evo World Rally car against Hammond in a competition bobsleigh down the Olympic bobsleigh run - and parallel road - at Lillehammer.

Hammond presents a review of the Suzuki Swift then has a game of ice hockey with a few more - with Clarkson as referee.

Clarkson, Hammond and May attempt to beat the distance set by a ski jumper with a rocket-propelled Mini Cooper.

The Stig takes on the snowmobile ski jump record - seeing as there wasn't a record before.

The episode runtime is 58mins. With an RRP of £15.99 it's very expensive for just the one episode, I shopped around and got mine for £9.99 though. Considering how many laughs I've got out of it - it's well worth blowing a tenner on just for the episode.

This is the first TOP GEAR release to include special features accessible from the DVD menu.

This is a beautifully shot and edited section with The Stig (TOP GEAR's 'Tame Racing Driver') at work with some gorgeous high-end sports cars - Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari Enzo, Ford GT and Ascari KZ1 - and a Vauxhall Monaro on the programme's Test Track (Dunsfold Park). This section offers more detail than The Stig's drives in the programme with corner G-forces and trivia about the vehicles shown on screen.

Most of these outtakes from the filming of TOP GEAR's studio segments have been shown before on blooper shows, though some of them are new ALL of them are worth seeing again, and again, and again.

This disc is presented in 16:9 aspect widescreen with stereo sound and subtitles.

On the one hand this is one of the best episodes of TOP GEAR ever made and it's great that it's out on DVD. On the other hand the BBC is still missing a trick by not releasing complete series boxsets of TOP GEAR. This programme is laugh-out-loud FUNNY and you don't need to be a car enthusiast to appreciate this. It's a post-modern Three Stooges with driving licences, absolutely hysterical and every episode's a treat.

It is with camera work where TOP GEAR puts itself in another league and, unlike the REVVED UP release, the transfer to DVD hasn't damaged the quality of the exceptional aerial and motion camera work this time. It is stunning, crystal clear and better than anything a $100 million blockbuster action movie could come up with. The soundtrack too is a sharp, fitting collection of evocative trance tracks and movie score snatches (Layer Cake, The Matrix Reloaded etc). So even if you can't afford to spring a tenner to buy it, for the cinematography alone it's worth adding to your DVD rental queue.

In fact the only people who will hate this disc with the burning passion of a thousand fiery Koenigsegg CCX exhaust outlets are people who don't like Jeremy Clarkson. To you people I say: Don't do it. Don't buy it. Don't rent it. In fact if your next door neighbour puts this on their DVD player - EMIGRATE!

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Comments on this review

  • kirkwood132 published 04/06/2007
    Yeah it does look good but i am buying "the challenges" for fathers day
  • TJ034 published 30/05/2007
    This sounds a must have dvd! Great review, and love Top Gear
  • madcat002 published 10/02/2007
    Wow, you are really into top gear :) gotta have the dvd !!
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Filmed on location on the mountains of Lillehammer, Norway. The presenters of Top Gear test out the cars in their own interepretation of the Olympic Games. Events include the Biathlon with a Volvo XC90 and an Audi Q7, a mini on the ski jump and slalom speed/dance skating using a Jaguar and a Range Rover, a Citroen C1 in the endurance test and a game of Ice Hockey.


Listed on Ciao since: 06/06/2006