Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Movie Cars That Overshadowed Their Movies

There have been plenty of movie cars that have become, basically, a lexicon for the perfect film vehicle.  It takes a special movie and a special vehicle, but sometimes, the car becomes the star of the film.  That car can be anything from a Dodge Challenger, to a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, to a Delorean with a Flux Capacitor in the back seat. When it’s special, movie fans will remember it.

Vanishing Point, The Dodge Challenger

Vanishing Point is the muscle car movie to end all muscle car movies, which, if you weren’t aware, was a thing back in the 1970s.  Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, Two-Lane Blacktop, and a host of others paled in comparison to the existential counterculture masterpiece called Vanishing Point.  It all revolved around that white Dodge Challenger; the car that most of the movie takes place within.  The plot is nearly non-existent, the acting is sparse, but the driving scenes exemplify the beauty of the long road ahead and the pure power under the hood.

2 Fast 2 Furious, The Mitsubishi Eclipse

While Vanishing Point was a testament to the car culture of the 1970s, The Fast and the Furious series exemplified the car culture of the late 90s and 2000s.  The 1970s was about pure brute strength; going fast was all that mattered.  In the new generation, while muscle was still important, it needed to come with a little finesse, which was exemplified by the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder that actor Tyrese Gibson drove exclusively in the 2003 sequel.  The Eclipse gave the movie a slickness that fit right in with the urban night drag races that the film was all about.

The Italian Job, The MINI Cooper

Whether you’re talking about the Michael Caine-starring original film or the Mark Wahlberg remake, ask any casual movie fan about The Italian Job and probably the first thing they’ll talk about is the MINI Cooper chase sequence through Turin, Italy.  Sure, there’s a plot in there somewhere (your standard heist caper to be exact) but the centerpiece in both versions of the film happens to be the chase scene.  Both chases are well choreographed and keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.  What makes the chase so special is the incongruous use of MINI Coopers in high-speed chase situation; you’d expect a Corvette or a Dodge Charger, but those MINI Coopers showed they have some power under the hood, too.

Back to the Future, The Delorean

No one is arguing the significance of Back to the Future within pop culture over the last quarter-century, but even the biggest fan boy will have to admit that it wouldn’t be half the movie it was if the car wasn’t so cool.  A movie about time travel obviously revolves around the machine that takes you across time itself, so the Delorean became as iconic as any of the film’s characters.  It was the perfect car to choose, as it would eventually become an artifact of the 1980s and it looked futuristic in its own right; with the gullwing doors and stainless steel structure, it looked like it fell right from outer space.  And as Doc Brown said, “If you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it in some style?”

As long as there are movies being made, there will be classic movie cars being talked about.  Only time will tell which of today’s movie cars will go down in history as one of the best.

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Two of Mike's favorite hobbies are cars and movies, and he knows just about everything there is to know about both.