02061-20220519 Top Gun—Maverick press screening - theater lobby & pre-show-iPh12PM

“Top Gun: Maverick” review

Once, in a very long while, a movie comes along that succeeds on multiple levels. “Top Gun: Maverick” is such a movie.

To prepare for the press preview screening, a couple of days before that I watched the original “Top Gun” from 1986. It had been a very long time since I had last seen it. I wanted it to be fresh in my mind. I’d recommend that you do the same, since the new version is a natural progression of what came before.

On the one hand it is a terrific action-adventure movie that is, at the very least, a worthy successor to the original “Top Gun.” Unlike many sequels, it more than lives up to the original.

It most certainly benefits from decades-newer movie-making technology. In this instance, that is a very good thing. Yes, there are special effects where they were needed (they could not actually blow up planes with human pilots flying them!), but they are not obvious as special effects. They look very real.

Monica Barbaro and Tom Cruise on the set of Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

However, what really makes “Top Gun: Maverick” stand out, and for which you really should see this more than once, are the precision flying maneuvers performed by actual Top Gun pilots, close to the deck and precariously close to mountains, and the physical effects on the cast in the cockpits. You will hold your breath.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Some of the scenes in the movie that added tremendously to the jaw-dropping factor showed unplanned, accidental events that occurred during filming. In one case, a set was accidentally destroyed, to great visual effect. These were one-take shots that were not repeated.

If you just cannot wait to see them in a theater, you can see some of those practical effects here, in this official Paramount Pictures trailer: https://youtu.be/qSqVVswa420

Monica Barbaro plays “Phoenix” in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

To prepare for the intense and extensive flying sequences in U.S. Navy F/A-18 jets, Tom Cruise returned to MCAS Miramar to undergo a full ASTC (Aviation Survival Training Curriculum). As did “Maverick,” the character who Cruise portrays in the films, he constantly tested the limits of himself and his profession. His goal was to shoot as much as possible with practical effects, as opposed to with computer-generated special effects — and he did that. He and the other actors were actually flying in the planes in the flying sequences. That was no easy task. In the original “Top Gun,” the in-cockpit footage of cast members other than Cruise could not be used. They could not handle the stresses. This time around, Cruise insisted that the cast become accustomed to “the fundamentals and mechanics of flight and G-forces.” They trained for months in advance.

MONICA BARBARO PLAYS “PHOENIX” IN TOP GUN: MAVERICK FROM PARAMOUNT PICTURES, SKYDANCE AND JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS.
TOM CRUISE PLAYS CAPT. PETE “MAVERICK” MITCHELL, MILES TELLER PLAYS LT. BRADLEY “ROOSTER” BRADSHAW, MONICA BARBARO PLAYS “PHOENIX” AND GLEN POWELL PLAYS “HANGMAN” IN TOP GUN: MAVERICK FROM PARAMOUNT PICTURES, SKYDANCE AND JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS.
JAY ELLIS PLAYS “PAYBACK” IN TOP GUN: MAVERICK FROM PARAMOUNT PICTURES, SKYDANCE AND JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS.

If you enjoyed the original music, you will like this too. I kept replaying “Danger Zone” over and over again in my head, long after I left the theater.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

SPOILER ALERT: Here is a brief synopsis, courtesy of Paramount Pictures:

“After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOPGUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: ‘Rooster,’ the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka ‘Goose’.”

MILES TELLER PLAYS LT. BRADLEY “ROOSTER” BRADSHAW IN TOP GUN: MAVERICK FROM PARAMOUNT PICTURES, SKYDANCE AND JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS.

“Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.”

So, will there be another sequel to “Top Gun”? I kind of doubt it. This one is so good you’ll want to see it more than once. I know that I will. Nevertheless, Tom Cruise is keeping very busy these days. “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning (Part One)” is scheduled for release in 2023. Check out the official trailer: https://youtu.be/2m1drlOZSDw. Perhaps Tom Cruise should be the next James Bond. I wonder if he can do a British accent?

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #743

Jan Wagner

2 Comments

  1. David Sperry on May 25, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    Great column Jan. I’ve seen the trailer a few times and can’t wait to see the movie. The plot was well thought out to follow from the original Top Gun. Tom Cruise is staying in such great shape that you can’t rule out a third installment.

    • Jan Wagner on May 26, 2022 at 12:36 am

      David,

      The new “Mission Impossible” trailer proves that, at least two years after “Top Gun: Maverick” was finished (its planned release was delayed due to the pandemic’s impact on movie theaters and most every other aspect of our daily lives), Tom Cruise still has what it takes to be an action-adventure movie hero, so you never know. He might be back for a take three — perhaps even at a rank higher than Captain next time!

      While the trailer does contain glimpses of some of the highlights of the movie, there is one big one that is not there. After you’ve seen the movie, let me know what the unplanned event that they filmed is that you think I am referring to. It really stands out, although it is not what you might expect. You might not even realize that this set-destroying event was not planned.

      Jan

Leave a Comment