In anticipation of the release of Top Gun: Maverick (2022) at the cinemas all over the world this week, I decided to revisit this iconic movie to set the mood and get re-acquainted with the characters in the original movie. Watching this movie, it is hard to believe that 36 years have gone by already. The music, the deafening roar of the fighter planes, the unabashed corniness and manipulative storyline, and the almost innocuousness of the performances, all comes alive once again in this gloriously remastered 4K edition. It is as if we never really left!
Top Gun (1986) is the story of a young, and very cocky US Navy fighter pilot, Maverick and his days in the fighter pilot school where he competes with fellow students for the coveted prize of being the best pilot in the class, the Top Gun! Along the way, he falls in love with one of the flight consultants (Kelly McGillis), encounters a tragic accident, and confronts his greatest rival pilot, fellow student, Iceman (Val Kilmer). Tom Cruise is very much the star of the movie back then, and he has become an even bigger superstar over the years while amazingly maintaining his youthful looks and physique. Here way back in 1986, he looks like a kid fresh out of school. But even back then he had star quality, The X Factor. He plays Maverick as someone who is arrogant, reckless, overly confident and I would say even childish especially during the occasions when he makes his smug face. But yet, he can still make Maverick look cool whether on the plane, on his bike, in the bar, or in bed! Here is a hero who make look cool but is flawed. He nevertheless still gets to have the girl and ride off to the sunset together at the end. One wonders what the more matured (and presumably more sensible) character played by Kelly McGillis sees in him! Maybe she just liked her guys younger. In comparison, Val Kilmer’s character of the Iceman who is being made to look like some sort of bad guy to our hero, came across as someone who was not only a great pilot, but also more level headed. Okay okay he also had the cockiness and overly confident attitude so maybe it comes with the terrain in flight school academies.
But I am digressing. Top Gun is not about characterisation but more about the noise and power of being up in the air. Here is where the movie gets to show off its planes in action to get the adrenaline flowing. Cinema technology has advanced a lot since 1986, and these dog fights sequences may pale in comparison to what the new movies today can achieve. However, these footages still command power, and combined with the loud roar of the engines and music score, they still rock. They look authentic and not something that is computer generated which gives it an authentic feel.
I am all pumped up now and ready to meet an older and hopefully wiser Maverick in the new movie which is already creating a lot of positive buzz. Bring it on.