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Title: Top Gun: 30th Anniversary Edition

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:82

I was originally just goin to link Dale Rasco’s original review of the 2011 25th Anniversary Edition of “Top Gun” but decided to add my own twist to the review, but be aware that some of the technical details about the disc are referenced from his review being that the Blu-ray is the exact same disc as the previously released 2011 version.

I don’t think there are many people alive who HAVEN’T seen “Top Gun”. It’s one of those films that like “Star Wars”. When someone mentions not having seen it before you look at them like Stewie Griffin going “say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttt?!” in shock and horror. It’s a movie that has gained cult status amongst those of us who grew up in the 1980’s and most people would be surprised how many pop culture references came directly quoted from “Top Gun”. While the title “Top Gun” is what most people call it, I have a few alternate titles that seem to fit it quite well. “Machismo Unleashed”. “Take My Breath Away: The movie” (seriously, I’ve never heard a movie ram in that song so many times). “Testosterone, it’s what’s for dinner”. Basically if you can read between my very tongue in cheek lines, “Top Gun” is a hysterical mess of 1980’s cheese in a way that has aged badly, but still remains a blast to watch. Especially when you start to realize that is a soap opera for men.

Pete Mitchell, call sign Maverick (Tom Cruise) and his wingman, Goose (Anthony Edwards, best known for playing Dr. Mark Greene in the TV show, “ER”) are the best of the best in their group of the Naval airmen. Well, ALMOST the best, as they are pushed into the #1 slot after one of their team mates cracks under pressure and leaves. This would all be well and good if Maverick was not the cockiest son of a gun out there. A cockiness that borders on stupidity and recklessness. After gaining the #1 spot, he and goose are sent to the elite training camp of the Navy, Top Gun. Set up against the best of the best from all over, they are graded and trained to become even better pilots, and those who don’t make the cut get more than a black mark. They’re sent packing.

While it’s all fun and games to Maverick, things get serious real quick when he falls for instructor Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), a gorgeous blonde civilian attaché who has just been put under missile lock from one Pete Mitchell. The two instantly hit it off, and against her better judgement, Charlie actually ends up dating the cocky pilot. While this may seem like the perfect score for Maverick, he has to come face to face with his own insecurities and stupidity when everyone in the entire class ends up hating him, most of all Iceman (Val Kilmer), who feels that Maverick is too rogue for the group. Fighting for the top spot in Top Gun is more than a game. Something that Maverick has to learn the hard when his copilot and he are involved in an airborne accident which ends up costing Goose his life. Faced with being a burnout or overcoming the raging guilt, Maverick has to fly head on into his own subconscious and find a reason to go on.

“Top Gun” is a magnificent example of the 1980’s and Tom Cruise when he was on top of the world. 23 at the time of the filming, Cruise had come off hits like “Risky Business”, “Legend”, and “All the Right Moves” and the cocky charisma that he is so famous for just seeps out of every pore here. The plot hasn’t aged well, with the cheese being more copious than a nacho plate at a brew pub, with a lot of machismo being poured on for extra good measure. Shirtless volleyball scenes, Cruise riding around on that Kawasaki Ninja 900 (being an avid cyclist one of Cruise’s trademarks in a film is driving around on some form of a motorcycle), The sheer testosterone that was gathered from every male on earth and then put in a bucket to be mopped around every square inch of the film, etc. etc. etc. Even though it is a bit short in the believability and seriousness factors, “Top Gun” is able to overcome its problems mainly due to the impressive aerial combat maneuvers and flying skills shown on screen. While it’s goofy, and overly soap operaish in nature, the flight sequences were a marvel at the time and still hold up incredibly well today.

“Top Gun” is an icon in cinema, and there’s a reason people talk about “Top Gun glasses” or quote lines like “I feel the need…the need for speed!” or think of the movie every time Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone” is played on the radio (or mentioned on Archer). The stars were shining at their brightest and while Cruise and Kilmer were the top billed actors, there are a lot of fun cameos from up and coming stars as well. We get to see a VERY young Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”, “Burn Notice”) play a bit part as a pilot, Meg Ryan as Goose’s wife for only one or two scenes, and a still young Michael Ironside as one of the Top Gun flight instructors, call sign Jester. It’s fun, it’s goofy, and it’s completely a product of the 1980s. It’s “Top Gun”.


Rated PG. Parental Guidance Recommended.

Video :4stars:
Being that Dale reviewed the video and audio a few years back I will borrow from him, as the video is the same transfer that has been recycled for the 2008 version as well as the 25th Anniversary edition that he wrote about in 2011. This is definitely the best the PQ for Top Gun has ever looked however; it isn’t quite up to the quality that Paramount has been able to produce on other catalog titles; I reviewed The Ten Commandments and I know what can be done if given the proper resources. The resolution volleys between outstanding to dull. Black levels are deep, but often times falter and end up crushing. Color reproduction varies between extremely accurate with vivid and natural looking hues to muted tones that just don’t pop enough. Flesh tones are pretty accurate throughout the film and I did notice some light digital noise in a couple of the sequences but nothing that I found to distracting. Overall this is a very good transfer that should give fans of the film a much needed update, but fails to overwhelm when compared to some other catalog releases.

Audio :4.5stars:
As with the video, Dales analysis of the audio is on par with mine and I have to agree with recommendation. I will have to note that there is a REASON for the inclusion of both the 5.1 TrueHD track and the 6.1 matrixed DTS-HD MA track. the 5.1 track is the original 70mm audio mix and is a bit more natural, the 6.1 DTS track is the remixed for home video mix that was created back when everything was about loudness wars. the bass is overcooked a bit and everything just roars in your ears. Purists may like the original 5.1 mix a bit more and those who like audio to beat you over head and shoulders with heavy bass and roaring surrounds may prefer the 6.1 track. I am going to have to give Paramount some credit on this one. The last time I actually watched Top Gun was sometime before 2005 on DVD and the system I watched it on wasn’t near up to par with the technology available today. I always remember people talking about the awesome audio on the film and for the first time I have to agree. While this is by no means comparable to today’s bass laden digital extravaganza action fests, whoever re-mastered this one showed it a lot of love. While directional audio was limited, imaging and surround activity was fairly abundant and the opening sequence, yes Kenny Loggins and that Danger Zone song, was exceptionally well presented. LFE was absolutely bare bones and limited to a few sprinkles throughout the film but I truly believe, similarly to the video transfer, that Top Gun has never sounded better.

Extras :4stars:

• Commentary by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, co-screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr. and naval experts
• Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun
• Multi-Angle Storyboards with optional commentary by Tony Scott
• Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun
• Music Videos:
- Kenny Loggins—“Danger Zone”
- Berlin—“Take My Breath Away”
- Loverboy—“Heaven In Your Eyes”
- Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens—“Top Gun Anthem”
• TV Spots
• Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
• Survival Training Featurette
• Tom Cruise Interviews

Overall: :4stars:

Top Gun is a blast of a 80's extravaganza film making, with a catchy theme song (Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" is one of those songs that is up there with "Frozen" and "Let it Go" for hardest song to get out of your head after hearing it) and plenty of action. The movie is nothing special in reality, and is more of a cult film than anything. One of those guilty pleasures that is pretty bad from a technical point of view, but a whole lot of fun in reality. There's almost as many special editions of "Top Gun" as there is of "Terminator 2" and "Star Wars", with a new edition bound to come out in another 5 years. As an upgrade from the last edition, the 30th anniversary edition is sorely missing a lot of the goodies that entices your average collector to upgrade. It sports pretty much the same features as the 25th anniversary with the exact same audio and video encode that has been recycled over the lifetime of Blu-ray. The only REAL difference in the editions is the fact that this is a steelbook combo pack. Something steelbook collectors are probably ecstatic about. If you haven't bought the movie yet, this or the 3D edition (depending on your tastes and views on 3D) are still t he best versions out there, but for those who already have the film, the only incentive is the new Steelbook packaging. Still a fun movie though, and well worth picking up if you haven't. Recommended.

Additional Information:

Starring: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis
Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 6.1, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG
Runtime: 109 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Buy Top Gun: 30th Anniversary Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended

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