Top Gun is one of those films that has found ints way to physical media many times due to the fact that it continues to stay popular and relevant across multiple generations. The practical special fx and relatable archetypes make the film easy to enjoy, a textbook definition of a popcorn flick.
Top Gun tells the story of Maverick, a talented young fighter pilot whose ego and battled past get in the way of his success. At Top Gun, a school for the best fighter pilots, Maverick finds other like minded young pilots, The film is fast moving and high energy. Top Gun is definitely of the 80’s, making incredible use of popular music to push emotion and narrative and building character at breakneck speed with minimal dialogue.
While he had done other movies Top Gun is the film that really introduced Tom Cruise to the world in a major way. Other young actors flled out the pilots roster such as Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, and Anthony Edwards. As is the Tony Scott formula of the 80’s the young main cast is bolstered by an ensemble of talented character actors. In this case it’s tom Skerritt, and Michael Ironside.
The story is simple, quick to jump into and super fast paced. The fighter plane photography is a solid mix of real planes performing real stunts and some shooting with rear projection. The practical look of the film, pre cgi, helps the film hold up in ways that cgi, in its current form, just can’t do. Much of this footage remains the best looking fighter plane footage committed to cinema outside of Dunkirk. The acting is full of charisma and 80’s machismo balanced with the femininity but strength and maturity of Kelly McGillis. she’s no wilting flower that’s for sure.
Top Gun is good ole popcorn fun that offers a mix of period piece 80’s machismo with a great soundtrack, beautiful cinematography and fun. Don’t expect much depth in character and don’t be shocked if their are no twist endings. It’s all pretty base, but it’s campy fun.
The original Top Gun blu-ray, which is included in this package, always looked a bit soft and low in detail considering that blu-ray is high definition. Color grading was also always a little off. Compared to other releases of the blu era it looked fine but not stellar. Well, the failings of the past sure get corrected in this release. Paramount is one of the few studios killing it with 4k physical media and this is another in their stable of really strong releases. Detail pops immediately with sweat, individual hairs, and fine lines standing out in the resolution uptick. Add to that the new HDR color grading brings back accurate skin tones and a nice bright image. This film does not have issues with a dark look that are so common in 4k HDR. Now, that said this film isn’t that 4k crispy with deep deep blacks and super brights that so many enthusiasts look for. Top Gun looks film accurate though, which we have never seen on physical media.
Yes! We get the Dolby Atmos sound mix upgrade with Top Gun along with the trueHD 7.1 option. Dialogue is crisp and clean throughout the film and whooshes and rumble all fill the soundstage. The sound is nicely balanced with some great object based audio moments as jets whiz around and guns and missiles fire. This is no Mad Max Fury Road, but it’s a substantial evolution of the prevous audio options on DVD’s and blu-ray.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Wow, the original Top Gun physical media releases came in the hay-day of bonus features, and what we have here is phenomenal. There are many hours of documentary featurettes that cover nearly ever aspect of the creation and eventual release of Top Gun. The documentaries go from the original writing process, casting, the special fx, the score, the soundtrack, and even the final editing of the film and the experience of seeing the film in theaters. Quite possibly the very best part of the documentaries is the honesty of the creators that included the god, the bad, and the ugle of the film, as well as the wonderful of it. Tony Scott offers a ton of insight to the creation of the film too, which is more important than ever since Scott has passed.
There’s even a documentary about the real Top Gun school and how the movie impacted the school.
The big disappointment of the bonus features here is very little new stuff was produced for the 4k. There’s a tiny featurette that mentions the legacy of the original while mostly promoting the upcoming sequel.
The packaging is modern and slick with a nice slipcover. It would be nice if the slip and the actual cover featured different artwork though. Also, there’s no disc art.
Top Gun is a film classic and is aging much better than anyone would have anticipated. This 4k presentation offers the very best visual and audible experience since the film was originally in theaters.