/Answers: The Best Movie Vehicles

Ethan Anderton: The Millennium Falcon in the Star Wars Series

If it wasn’t for last week’s question about the best cinematic end of the world, this would have made the third week in a row where something from Star Wars was my answer. I’m sorry, but I can’t resist. I’m only human.

The Millennium Falcon is my absolute favorite vehicle in the history of cinema. What makes the ship most appealing is that there’s nothing particularly special about it. The Millennium Falcon is an old Corellian freighter that has been modified by Han Solo. Nearly everyone who encounters it thinks it’s just a hunk of junk, but it always comes through when you need it the most.

For me, I’ve always equated the Millennium Falcon to the first car we all had in high school. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts. For most of us, their high school car was far from a new, quality automobile, but it was the vehicle that got us around and created a lot of memories. And when it comes to both my own high school car and the Millennium Falcon, I have the most fond memories.

The Millennium Falcon has always been my favorite, so much that a friend just bought me the original toy version from the Empire Strikes Back line in 1980. When the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit the big screen, it was the sound of the Falcon’s engine flying through the sky that brought back all the nostalgic feelings I had from when I first fell in love with the saga.

Jacob Hall: The Lotus Espirit in The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond always wears the coolest clothes and drives the coolest cars. Actually, he always wears and drives what’s cool in the very specific window of a movie’s release. This is part of the series’ time capsule appeal – pick a year from past five decades and the closest 007 movie will help you understand what was in style at the time.

Some of the old Bond fashions and vehicles have aged remarkably well. Sean Connery’s Aston Martin in Goldfinger is so timeless that it was brought out of retirement for Skyfall. Others seem a little silly now, but that is part of their appeal. Enter the Lotus Espirit from The Spy Who Loved Me, a car that comes equipped with all of the standard gadgets (including a rocket launcher), but also the ability to turn into a submarine.

This vehicle was a product of 1977 and it looks it. Unlike that Aston Martin, anyone driving this car in 2017 would get chuckles instead of envious stares. And yet, the Lotus Espirit is treated like the coolest thing ever during the course of The Spy Who Loved Me and Roger Moore, always the cheekiest Bond, seems to be having a blast just sitting in the driver’s seat. It may not be the coolest car in the world right now, but it’s a flashback to a different era, a reminder of just how much tastes can change over the years. As a piece of pop culture ephemera, it’s fascinating. I’d even argue that Lotus Espirit is so uncool that it somehow bend back around and becomes cool all over again.

Christopher Stipp: The Light Cycle in TRON

So damn elegant.

One of the things that I am enamored with when it comes to the light cycles in TRON and TRON: Legacy is just how clean the lines are on those things. In the first installment, the bikes were more utilitarian than functional; they served the purpose of gaming and for making a quick getaway. In the second installment, they upped the sexiness of those machines by making them a hybrid of the original, adding in elements of old-school motorcycles. This is a vehicle that sold me on the film’s aesthetic in the last few moments of the first trailer. The Frankenstein’d cycles that appear in TRON: Legacy, in all of their eye-popping, vibrant colors, not only made a statement, but helped to add weight to a film that was mostly CGI Those light cycles are objects to be coveted – you can imagine how gnarly those things would be if they only existed in real life. . I completely get how impractical these would be in real-life, as anyone who has played the OG TRON video game in the ’80s inside their local arcade can attest. The light cycle round was an absolute killer.

Ben Pearson: The Jet Pack in The Rocketeer

There are so many great cinematic vehicles to choose from for this list, but I have to go with the one that captured my childhood imagination and has not loosened its grip ever since: the jet pack from Joe Johnston’s 1991 comic book movie The Rocketeer. Watching Billy Campbell’s hotshot 1930s pilot Cliff Secord strap that thing to his back, soar through the skies, and fight Nazis left a huge impact on me. In the years since, I’ve marveled at the simplicity of comic book creator Dave Stevens’ sleek design of the rocket-powered engine. In the movie, the jet pack is like a wild animal that needs to be broken in; it’s practically a living creature with a mind of its own that Cliff and his mechanic buddy Peavy (Alan Arkin) slowly bend to their will as Cliff learns to harness it to save the day.

Much later, I moved to Hollywood and had the opportunity to see a special 20th anniversary screening of the movie at the El Capitan Theater (the same place it premiered back in ’91), and got to see the actual prop used in the film. So freakin’ cool.

the rocketeer jetpack

What do you think of our picks? What is your favorite vehicle from the movies? Talk about it in the comments below or email your personal answer (a paragraph or more) to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com with the subject title “Favorite Movie Vehicle.” Our favorite responses will be featured on the site in a future post!

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