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Closer than They Appear
Must go faster.

Rear-view mirrors sometimes come with a warning: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."note  This is not reassuring to the character who looks into the rear-view mirror and sees, say, a T. rex running after his car.

Truth in Television in some countries! Except for the T. rex part. For now...

Compare Danger Takes A Back Seat. For a more metaphorical use of rear-view mirrors, see Past in the Rear-View Mirror.

An interesting note: some examples of this trope (including the Trope Codifier) show this message on the driver's side mirror. In Real Life, it only ever appears on the passenger side mirror. In the USA and Canada, the driver's side mirror is required to be flat, so putting the warning message there would be inappropriate. In Europe, the driver's side mirror may also be convex, but the warning is not required. See The Other Wiki for even more detail.


Examples:

Film
  • Jurassic Park (pictured above) is the Trope Codifier.
    • Toy Story 2 parodies this, using the meek Rex's reflection in the mirror of a toy car. (It also puts it on the passenger side, correcting JP's error.)
  • Ace Ventura: "Warning! Assholes are closer than they appear!"
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: In what may be a nod to the Jurassic Park scene, Decepticon 'Dreads' are viewed to be in hot pursuit in the (passenger!) side mirror of Autobot Dino (Mirage) (he's the red Ferrari).
  • The Terminator didn't have the inscription, but Sarah glances at her driver's side mirror just as the T-800 fires at her reflection, shattering it.
  • In the 2008 short film The German, a British fighter pilot in a dogfight glances in his fighter's rear-view mirror and spots a German fighter moments before the German fires his guns and blasts the mirror off with a near-miss. The mirror lacks the warning text, but having a machine gun bullet knock the mirror off is as about as close as one can get.

Live-Action TV
  • The Eureka episode "One Giant Leap" has a brief closer-than-it-appears shot of a black hole in the mirror of Carter's jeep, right before it gets destroyed. Again.

  • The Dawson Creek episode "Sex, She Wrote" (s2ep11) has a closer-than-they-appear shot when Pacey and Andie kiss in her car after admitting their love for each other.

Music
  • MeatLoaf inverts the phrase as "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are," describing old memories that are nonetheless very vivid.
  • Bobby Valentino - "Rear View Mirror": "I see your face and I miss you dear / Images in the mirror, closer than they appear"
  • They Might Be Giants - "She's Actual Size" averts this for the subject of the song: "Squares may look distant in a rear view mirror, but they're actual size, actual size to her."

Newspaper Comics
  • Seen in a The Far Side cartoon: The rear-view mirror shows the angry eye of an unspecified but huge creature.

Web Comics

Western Animation


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