Special Review: Top Gun IMAX 3-D
Director: Tony Scott
Writers: Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer
Synopsis: As students at the Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be the best in the class, one daring young flyer learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.
Tony Scott does an amazing job with this movie, especially for it’s time. The sounds and sights of F-14’s flying through the air is amazing and executed really well. The actions scenes are intense and give you a real look at how serious Top Gun is for US fighter pilots. Certain moments get a little cheesy for dramatic effect, but throughout most of the movie Scott takes us exactly where you want him too. The music he implemented was the best of it’s era, he got strong performances and given the subject material, he was able to draw in a large audience. There aren’t many movies on the subject of dogfighting or Top Gun, and for a film in the 80’s, the action was terrific. The shots inside the F-14’s were incredible, especially given the maneuvers they pulled. The camera movements used to capture the essence and intensity of the dogfights were incredible. The only major flaw I didn’t like was the use of the F5 Tiger II’s used as MiG 28’s, but I imagine finding real MiG 28’s would have been hard. However, real TOPGUN instructors flew those aircraft during filming which was a cool gesture.
The script is the weakest part of the movie. The story itself isn’t bad, but the dialogue gets cheesy at times and even unrealistic. I understand that the 80’s was mostly filled with movies scripted like that, but it could of been better and made for an even more intense movie. The story between Maverick and Goose was incredible. The chemistry they had was unique and puts them near the top of any friendship captured in film. The story between Maverick and Charlie could have been much better and for the theme song known to be with that relationship, it didn’t take my breath away. That being said, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen and didn’t take away much of the movie for me. Overall though, the characters are very interesting and engaging, so while they could of been written slightly better, the performances made up for any script flaws and the story came through for the most part.
Some of the smaller performances were a little weak, but the main characters did an amazing job. Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards were incredible and had an amazing chemistry together and you’re really drawn into what they were doing on screen. The energy and passion Cruise brings here is second to none and you really get on board (literally) with what he’s doing as Maverick. Edwards was just as great as Maverick and was the perfect “Yang” to Cruise’s “Ying”. As a RIO, you have to always be aware and have your buddies back and Edwards brings all of that and more. Kelly McGillis also did a great job as Charlie, the civilian instructor. However I didn’t really believe in the relationship she has with Maverick. McGillis and Cruise often felt like an awkward high school phase, rather than a romantic relationship. Outside of that element though, McGillis is great and is an essential character to the story which she pulls off well. Val Kilmer did a great job of pushing Cruise’s character and being the main antagonist of the movie even though at times his character’s lines are poorly written. Kilmers does a great job though of bringing tension to the screen and often making Maverick seem like the bad guy. Some of the side characters could have been better, but given the era and direction, I thought it was terrific.
The score by Harold Faltermeyer is one of the most iconic of all times. The soundtrack to this today is one of the most popular film soundtracks all time, hitting #1 on the billboard charts back in its day. The soundtrack also included “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away”, which ended up winning an Oscar. When “Danger Zone” was released, the soundtrack exploded in sales and became the top most selling soundtrack of the 80’s. They were great compliments to Faltermeyer’s score, which by itself is amazing! The “Top Gun Anthem” is still recognizable today and is a fun listen all on it’s own. This score/soundtrack is probably my favorite of all time behind Transformers. In every scene, the music hits you in the face and integrates with the action and performances like none other. Faltermeyer, Scott, and the music department deserve a medal for the incredible job they did.
Overall Grade: A