Top Gun Review

Jonah HexYou don’t have to be a child of the 80s to have an affinity for Tony Scott’s 1986 American classic Top Gun. You only have to be a fan of fun fast jets vintage Tom Cruise and that famous Kenny Loggins tune. It’s been a long time coming but fans can finally rejoice that the film that gave them “the need – the need for speed” is finally on a format that does its visual adrenaline rush justice. That’s right Top Gun is on Blu-ray and just in time for the its 25th anniversary.

From the screeching of passing jets to every idiosyncrasy and warning sound in the cramped cockpit of an F-14 the HD audio brings the aged film right back into its full glory with shots of fighter pilots dogfighting and streaking through the sky in full 1080p high-def to go right along with it. Sure the format was light years away when Scott and Cruise took over San Diego Calif. to bring this film to light but this is the way it’s meant to be seen.

Of course as with any long-awaited blu-ray edition the special features are thorough and copious. First we have the obligatory hours and hours of featurettes about the article that inspired the film the clash between the real Top Gun instructors and the film’s producers and the reasoning behind making Kelly McGillis’ character so irresistibly sexy. It’s about what you’d expect on an anniversary edition but it’s interesting to see where producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Scott blatantly disregarded the Navy’s calls for realism in order to make the flashy big-budget film more fun for “mom and pop in Oklahoma” and Bruckheimer puts it. The commentary overlaps quite a bit with these features so I’d suggest skipping the track altogether and just going through all the videos instead.

In addition the blu-ray boasts storyboards that play alongside the scenes they inspired (which is interesting but a little hokey) every TV spot ever aired for the film (hello 1980s!) Top Gun music videos and 1980s interviews with Cruise about his experience working with real Top Gun pilots. The really great little nuggets on the disc are the Survival Training featurette and something called “The Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun.” After seeing all the ways the filmmakers eschewed reality in favor of visual awe the Navy makes up for it these videos the first of which shows stars like Cruise Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer undergoing the thorough and dangerous fighter pilot safety training and the second which calls on today’s Top Gun instructors to take us through the modern day Top Gun and to explain pretty thoroughly what it takes to earn the privilege to jump into a U.S. Navy jet.

The only caveat to all this Top Gun awesomeness is that after going back and forth between the videos and the glossy cockpit-style menus you may grow slightly weary of “Highway to the Dangerzone.” I know it’s sacrilegious but it is possible. Then again you could just restart the movie and see the song in its proper context and that should do the trick.

The Top Gun 25th Anniversary Blu-ray edition hits shelves Aug. 30.