Inside Pulse 12

Blu-ray Review: Top Gun: Thirtieth Anniversary

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It’s been 30 years since Maverick took to the skies in Top Gun, becoming the highest grossing movie of 1986, and firmly securing Tom Cruise in his leading man status that’s — as rare a thing it is in Hollywood — even stronger today. To commemorate this anniversary, Paramount is releasing a limited edition steel book Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD package.

There’s not much to say about Top Gun that hasn’t been said before over the last 30 years. It’s a classic film that’s highly quotable, filled with memorable music, and continues to hold up well decades later in a world where CGI is now king.

While the story itself hits pretty much every cinematic note you’d expect along Maverick’s journey from cocky pilot to…well, still cocky, yet slightly humbled pilot, Top Gun is able to fly under the radar of some of the usual criticisms with just how well it’s produced and the cast involved. Director Tony Scott and the now infamous action movie producing duo of Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, alongside a fantastic special effects team really help bring aerial stunts and dog-fighting alive, which is showcased beautifully in one of the special features found on the disc.

The cast also has incredibly chemistry, and it’s easy to get sucked into their characters and what’s happening in the story without fully realizing that it’s playing by the numbers on many levels — or at least making it so that you don’t even care even if you do. There are quite a few cheesy lines throughout the course of the film, but Cruise’s charming delivery causes them to be more memorable and fun instead of groan worthy. I mean, you have to be pretty suave to be able to end a first date by saying, “I’m gonna take a shower,” then jumping on your motorcycle and riding off into the sunset.

This isn’t the first time Top Gun has been released on Blu-ray, as the film first received the HD treatment back in 2008, with a 25th Anniversary version put out in 2011, and even receiving the 3D treatment in 2013. So what’s new this time around? Well, in terms of special features, basically nothing. If you own the earlier versions, then you already have what will be found on this version. This package deal does come with the DVD, as well as a digital copy that also has all the special features as well though.

So while some may not like that there’s nothing new here, it’s not entirely a bad thing. There’s no pressure applied here to go out and make a purchase based on one or two special features, or anything like that, which is often the case when it comes to double or triple dipped film releases.

No, this is a release that’s targeted more at those who may have missed out on the previous releases, or for completionists or steel book fans who really want to add this beautiful packaging to their collections. Add on the fact that it’s priced incredibly well, and there’s really no excuse not to pick up this version if you don’t already own the film.

As is the case with most Paramount Blu-ray transfers, Top Gun looks top notch here. The video transfer is crisp, and the images look as clean as most movies released today aside from a couple of slightly grainy scenes. That said, those scenes still look good, and don’t detract or take you out of the moment at all. The audio side of things is also at the top of the scale, with the surround sound really helping bring the film to life on every front, be it sound effects, dialogue, or the soundtrack.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, co-screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr., Captain Mike Galpin, technical advisor Pete Pettigrew, and Vice Admiral Mike McCabe — This is a worthy listen, even though it’s not this giant group of guys all sitting in a room remenicing about filming and talking about the creative process. Pieces of individual commentaries are put together here, yet it’s still something fans of the film will definitely want to experience.

The meat and potatoes of the special features is the 145 minute six-part documentary entitled “Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun.” Fans of the movie, fans of movie making, and fans of documentaries will all love what this one has to offer, as there’s just loads of information beautifully gathered in this hefty feature that’s a definite must-watch if you pick this up.

Multi-Angled Storyboards — For those who like all sorts of filmmaking bits and pieces, there are two multi-angled storyboards with director commentary to be found here.

Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun — Here’s another documentary that still comes in at a respectable 28 minutes in length. This one focuses more on the real life aviators that helped inspire the movie.

Rounding out the special features are four music videos (“Danger Zone,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Loverboy,” and the “Top Gun Anthem,” seven TV spots, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a survival training featurette, and some Tom Cruise interviews.

All in all a very well rounded batch of special features with a must-see “making of” documentary that’s even longer than the movie itself.

Paramount Pictures Presents Top Gun. Directed by: Tony Scott. Written by: Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.. Starring: Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Meg Ryan. Running time: 110 Minutes. Rating: PG. Released on Blu-ray: May 3, 2016.

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