Now you can get KITT in your own car.

I’ve been meaning to buy a GPS navigation system for the car for awhile now and the folks at Mio have found a way to make that an urgent need with the upcoming release of the Knight Rider GPS Navigation.

When we were first contacted by Mio about their Knight Rider device, we couldn’t wait till the day that we could finally tell you. An officially licensed GPS unit with the original voice of KITT behind it, how could you lose?

Thankfully, you can’t! We have been very fortunate to get this exclusive extensive look at the Mio Knight Rider GPS. No longer will you have a boring list of computerized voices telling you directions on your GPS – now you can have KITT himself!

It’s the first time since the TV Movie Knight Rider 2000 – has William Daniels been involved in anything officially Knight Rider. In fact it had been rumored for quite some time that Daniels wanted nothing to do with the series. We are thrilled that this was not the case, and now we have this device here, complete with newly recorded dialog by Mr. Daniels (this isn’t reused TV clipings, it’s 100% original recordings!)

One of the great unique features with this concept, is that KITT will address the driver by their first name. Simply set your name from the pre-recorded list of hundreds, and off you go. You can be Michael if you want to be a purist, but if your name is Aaron, Joe or David, you can have that personalized experience. (Unfortunately Devon, Bonnie, Wilton are missing from the list, but Mio hopes to address this error)

They’ve also taken several design cues from the Knight 2000. The device has dual nose type designs on the left and right, complete with a red type of scanner insert. However, the actual use of this scanners LEDs is to be KITTs voice box. It’s a pretty neat effect, and initially we were bummed that it wasn’t more accurate to the voice box to the series, but in the end the effect still felt the same.

Yes I realize it would make me one of the biggest dorks in Dorkville and fits in with my Grand Prix about as well as a polar bear in Hawaii, but damned if that doesn’t get my gadget geek revving into overdrive. The deal breaker will be to find out if they have my first name programmed into it.

So I watched the “Knight Rider” back door pilot last night…

… and you can call me unimpressed. Warning: This review is fairly spoiler intense.

Maybe it’s because I’m older and thus have more refined tastes, but this movie didn’t grab me the way I remember the original series did. It was two hours long and it felt even longer because there was a whole lot of nothing happening, other than driving and lame exposition, for the vast majority of the show. The whole thing felt like a desperate corporate commercial disguised as TV show from Ford Motor Company trying to capture some of the benefit General Motors got from the Transformers movie.

Is it just me? Or are nanomachines the new Sci-Fi magic wand capable of doing anything and everything? The new car is near-industructable because it supposedly has nanomachines, but those nanomachines only function while K.I.T.T., the on-board computer, is powered up. Best I can figure is they came up with that bullshit line so they could explain away why you see the car taking damage during a scene where it attempts to knock a Ford SUV off the road. An SUV, by the way, that must have weighed a good three thousands tons or something because it didn’t even flinch from having a Mustang ramming it repeatedly on the side. Leading up to the show NBC hyped how the car had the ability to change shape by “morphing” thanks to the nanomachines, but aside from the ability to repair itself instantly, the only other things the nanomachines did were to reshape the car somewhat by adding or removing a spoiler from the back and changing the paint color. That, however, was enough to befuddle the bad guys into losing sight of the vehicle despite the fact that even though the car was a different color it was still the only Ford Shelby Mustang with a GLOWING CYLON EYE EMBEDDED IN THE HOOD in the area.

Turboboost was completely absent and not a single ridiculous car jump was to be found in the entire episode, which was, let’s be honest, the only real reason we watched the original show. K.I.T.T. has become the ultimate hacker it seems as he was able to tap into top secret live satellite feeds, private security systems, and even unlock a casino security door remotely, but he was vulnerable to being hacked himself by one of the villians in the show. He had some ridiculously long range sensor abilities as well that would’ve made the crew of Star Trek’s Enterprise green with envy, but from an action standpoint that’s all pretty boring plot-device stuff. The only really cool special effect was when the hero uses the car as a form of immovable object to stop the SUV resulting in a smash up that should’ve killed everyone in the SUV (let alone everyone in the super car, but we’ll ignore real-world physics for the moment). Yet, somehow, K.I.T.T.‘s creator (who was in the SUV) stumbles out with just a small cut on his forehead and a dazed expression as though he’s trying to figure out how he let his agent talk him into being in this travesty of a remake of a show that wasn’t all that great the first time around.

Ultimately the show felt like it was trying very hard to feel like an action show without actually engaging in any real action. The hero, Michael Traceur, who just so happens to be the son of Michael Knight from the original series, is an ex-Army Ranger who knows how to handle himself in a fight, but K.I.T.T. has become some kind of a pacifist pussy intent on keeping the amount of physical violence to a minimum. A total of three people die as a result of the villians though only two of them are shot (one dies of a heart attack of all things) and only one of those shootings is onscreen. The one person we see get shot is a minor character (Traceur’s mother) who dies so soon after being introduced that we don’t really give a shit that she’s dead. I felt worse for the poor kid manning the front desk of the hotel who got shot simply for being a witness. The whole thing felt very low-budget and you got the sense that all the Ford vehicles were on loan because it seemed like they went through a lot of trouble not to damage them.

The biggest criticism I can offer, however, is the following: During the course of the show some of the commercial breaks were for Ford’s newest Focus model with Microsoft’s SYNC system in it. The commercials told a mini-story of Michael Tracer trying to spend a night out with a date while being stalked by K.I.T.T. the entire time. That mini-story was way more entertaining than the entire two-hour movie it was woven into. That’s pretty much sums up how bad the movie was.

Val Kilmer replaces Will Arnett as voice of K.I.T.T.

Didja know they’re doing a new rebooted version of the Knight Rider TV series? NBC has made a two-hour back door pilot movie that will air on February 17th and the legendary car will now be portrayed by a Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang as opposed to the Pontiac Trans Am in the original series. Originally Will Arnett was hired to provide K.I.T.T.‘s snarky voice, but he’s recently been replaced by Val Kilmer:

Oooh, K.I.T.T. voice draaama! Friend of the world’s beaches and former Batman and Real Genius, Val Kilmer, has signed on to voice the smooth-computin’ automobile in the latest TV-reboot of Knight Rider for NBC and Universal. Will Kilmer’s K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Three Thousand) do a passable Elvis impersonation and fire a laser that pops a billion golden kernals? I don’t know wise guy, but I do know that actor Will Arnett (Arrested Development) is right bummed right now. Arnett had already finished recording all of his voice work for the rebooted show, which premieres in just two weeks, see? And before you swipe Kilmer’s jolly hand away as it attempts to steal Arnett’s gooey, delicious voice of K.I.T.T., know this: it isn’t Kilmer’s fault, see?

In one of the silliest signs of a world run amok in corporate Brawndo tie-ins, Arnett has done commercial voice work in the past for General Motors, and K.I.T.T., see, is a Ford Mustang. Kablowski! That invisible line in the industrial sandbox? Well, Arnett just crossed it. But he still had time to jump back over said line, cover his tracks and allow Kilmer to swing in using a vine made from his absolutely batshit resume to save the day and grab a nice payday (PayDay?).

    “I was very excited at the prospect of playing the part of KITT in the new ‘Knight Rider’ movie,” Arnett said to Variety. “However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project.”

Now that I think about it, I can’t recall the last thing Val Kilmer starred in so perhaps he’s a bit desperate for work. I was probably going to watch the movie anyway seeing as I used to watch the original series, but now I’ll hear Val Kilmer reciting lines from Real Genius in my head every time K.I.T.T. speaks.

Here’s an interesting bit of Knight Rider trivia courtesy of the Wikipedia entry for the show:

KITT’s Pontiac Trans Am chassis was reinforced with Wilton Knight’s revolutionary Molecular Bonded Shell, which was resistant to most known weapons below heavy artillery. The vehicle’s drive train consisted of a turbine engine, capable of accelerating to 300 mph; furthermore, the car had numerous other special abilities, the most notable being a frequently used ‘Turbo Boost’ for jumping over obstacles. This was a stunt similar to that used by the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard, where the car (assisted by the aid of ramps and/or air compression) would leap into the air, usually in order to clear a hazardous obstacle. (In fact, the same stunt coordinator, Jack Gill, was involved in both series.) In Give Me Liberty… or Give Me Death, where an alternative-fuel race takes place, a race car bearing a strong resemblance to the General Lee is racing with KITT. Though the car is missing the trademark Confederate flag and does not sport racing number 01, it is the same color and sports the same wheels as the General Lee. As an aside, its fuel is moonshine, in comparison with KITT’s liquid hydrogen.

I guess that answers the age-old question of who would win in a race between K.I.T.T. and the General Lee, eh? Man, it’s sad that I still ponder such questions.