4K Blu-ray Review: Top Gun



This release of Top Gun marks the first time the film has been upgraded to the 4K format. The film review below is taken from my review of the 30th Anniversary release; as my views haven’t changed upon this latest viewing of the film. What has changed are the visual and audio aspects, which will be covered in that section below, as well as the new special features that have been added to this release which are also covered below!

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It’s been 34 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. You can check out some awesome movie reviews at Lorraine Music.

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.

4K Blu-ray Video and Audio Review:

This 4K upgrade to the film is warranted and welcome, as the film looks the best in decades here. So from a purely visual standpoint, even if you own the Blu-ray, this is a worthy double-dip that should last you for quite a long time to come. While the film still has a few spots where its age show, the 2160p/Dolby Vision really lets the film shine from a visual standpoint. As mentioned, some scenes show heavier film grain but others just shine in a way that the film hasn’t shone before. That volleyball scene? Prepare to be knocked back in your seats by the muscle definition flexing onto your screen in extremely crisp fashion. In all seriousness, a great job was done with the source material and it’s always wonderful to get these quality upgrades to films that deserve it.

On the audio side of things, this Dolby Atmos mix just rocks across the board. The soundtrack blasts through superbly, and the dogfights and jet scenes in general all sound absolutely spectacular. Much like the visuals, this is the best the film has sounded since its theatrical run. The dialogue sounds clear, the sound effects and overall mix is just spot on and the classic songs that are the Top Gun soundtrack are perfection. Again, just another reason to add this 4K release to your collection, even if you own one of the previous Blu-ray releases.

Special Features:

**NEW** The Legacy of Top Gun Ideally this release would’ve prepared viewers for the theatrical release of Top Gun: Maverick, but our current situation has caused the sequel to be pushed until at least December of this year. Here we have a featurette that’s five and a half minutes long and sees Cruise, Bruckheimer and Maverick Director Joseph Kosinski all talk about the original film, how it impacted them and their careers, quotes from the film that are still popular today. It’s nice to see everyone talk about the impact this film had on them here.

**NEW** On Your Six: Thirty Years of Top Gun — This is a five-part feature that’s roughly 30-minutes in total and breaks down like this:

Looking Back — This featurette is seven-and-a-half minutes long and sees Cruise and Bruckheimer talk about the film’s production, what it was like working with Director Tony Scott, as well as Cruise’s love for aviation and wanting to be more involved in the production of the film.

America’s Best — This featurette is five-and-a-half minutes long and focuses on the supporting cast of the film, including Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan. We also get some information about how the military helped in the film’s production.

Into the Danger Zone — Another seven-and-a-half minute featurette that focuses on the film’s classic soundtrack and memorable score, as well as the training the actors had to go through while prepping for the movie, and showcasing how the aerial scenes were filmed — still some of the best ever done when it comes to a film like this.

Going Ballistic — This featurette is just under 4-minutes in length and sees Cruise and Bruckheimer go down memory lane, treating fans to some stories that took place during filming.

Narrow Targets and the Future — Another five-and-a-half minute featurette that talks about the success of the original and Cruise being hesitant to make a sequel just for the sake of doing so.

Overall, this is a great set of features, and a great bonus to get on top of the superior audio and visuals that this release delivers to fans.

Below are the previously reviewed special features that were found on the Blu-ray release:

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 19, 2020.

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