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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

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Going out in style

There exist props that can make or break a movie. These props can range from the one ring to rule them all to Norman Bates’ House. These are symbols of the movie, reminiscent of the plots and settings of the best and worst movies in existence. One interesting subset of this category is the ever-important movie vehicle. A character’s chosen form of transportation says a lot about them – it reflects their style, occupation and dedication to the small pleasures of life. These vehicles are tried and tested, never failing to save their captains, pilots and riders from whatever mishaps a movie throws their way.

5. The Orca

I’m starting off strong with Quint’s reliable fishing boat, the Orca, from “Jaws.” The Orca is your classic run down, cruddy, ramshackle boat — a real man’s vessel. When all the tourists and hot-heads flood into Amity Bay to catch Jaws with their done-up, expensive, but ultimately useless boats, they don’t stand a chance. Like its captain, the Orca proves that sometimes you need the rugged, hardened option if you want to catch a man-eating shark. So, no, you don't “need a bigger boat.” The Orca has you covered.

4. James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5

There are few more instantly recognizable cars out there than the Aston Martin DB5, as is befitting James Bond’s most iconic vehicle. James Bond, gentleman spy, has been the pinnacle of suave and style for generations. Both him and his dapper antagonists drive state-of-the-art cars, boats, planes and even submarines, but no other is as closely associated with the character as his beloved Aston Martin DB5, which has appeared with him in 7 movies (so far). And thanks to Q, it is also accompanied by gadgets, which could always come in handy, some of which include revolving number plates, tire slashers, a smoke screen, oil slick, front-wing machine guns and (of course) an ejector seat.

3. Batmobile

Whether you grew up with the classic Adam West Batmobile, the sleek Michael Keaton Batmobile or the robust Christian Bale Batmobile, it doesn’t matter because they are all legendary. I would wager that no child in history has seen the Batmobile and hasn’t wanted to drive it. Depending on the iteration you prefer, it comes equipped with even more gadgets than Bond’s cars, some of which include a traveling crime lab, sonic range finder, the ever-important grappling hook, whirly-bats, a smoke screen, nitromethane afterburner, armor plating, electroshock defense hydraulic gyroscopic wheels and so much more. In some versions it even morphs into a plane, submarine or motorcycle. It is difficult (and maybe impossible) to think of a superhero that has a more handy, all-purpose, adaptable vehicle than Batman.

2. DeLorean

There are cool cars and then there are awesome plot-driving time-traveling cars. There might be nothing more iconic than Doc Brown stealing plutonium from Libyan terrorists, making an experimental flux capacitor and then retrofitting it all into a DeLorean, a famously unreliable car. It is something that probably shouldn’t have worked, but it couldn’t have gone more right. There are so many incredible things about “Back to the Future,” but none stand out to me more than the pivotal vehicle. Rarely is a protagonist’s car the most important prop in a movie, but here it is: the most crucial item in one of the most original movies of all time. It’s stylish, it’s memorable, it travels through time, it runs on nuclear power and it saves both Marty McFly and Doc Brown. What more could you ask for?

1. Millenium Falcon

What vehicle can be more phenomenal than Han Solo and Chewbacca’s smuggling ship, savior of the “Star Wars” series time and time again: the one and only Millenium Falcon. This Corellian light freighter is equipped with smuggling compartments, boosted shields and guns and a slightly spotty hyperspeed. There’s a reason Solo boasts his ship as the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” This ship was so iconic in the original trilogy that they brought it back for the sequels and a prequel, bringing it to a total of seven movies that it’s starred in. Without the Millennium Falcon striking the Death Star II’s main reactor, the Rebels would never have destroyed the planet-killer and won numerous battles against the Galactic Empire.

Honorable Mentions: The Transformers, Pizza Planet Car, The Black Pearl, Bike from “E.T.,” Danny’s Big Wheel

You can contact Sofia at scrimiva@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.