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#4600223 - 05/25/22 01:49 PM "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation  
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I attended the early access event for "Top Gun: Maverick" last night.

I have been, for the last few years, even before the reality that a sequel was coming out, been guarded on my reaction to the notion. "Top Gun" is such an important movie for me, not just as a fan of carrier aviation, but also because of its reminders of my teen years and fond memories, both good and bad, of the experience of watching it in the theatre for the first time. So, although the thoughts of a sequel didn't even cross my mind for years, when the idea first came up I was torn--excited on the one hand for the prospect of one, and anxious on the other that they will fall into the easy dilemma of making a bad sequel that tarnishes the original.

I also was concerned that they would be too hung up on the name and trademark of "Top Gun" and use that to sell tickets instead of tell a story. I used to say, "They better have the TOPGUN school featured in that movie, otherwise they're just relying on the tendency for people to watch the movie on name reputation alone to make box office dollars." But again, was torn, because even if they did do it with toward intent, how would they be able to without recycling the story?

Then there was the cinematography. I was extremely happy to see the aerial photography and the fact that the actors were really in the cockpit, pulling Gs, and even running the camera. But I wasn't one for going for beauty without brains. Again, I was guarded.

Authenticity in the original "Top Gun" was also something I hoped they would not toss aside. Of course it was only slightly authentic--it is Hollywood after all--but I'm talking about more subtle things like the unforgiving vernacular. Lines that include phrases like "put in hack twice" and "tally ho, right 2:00" without explanation is the kind of authenticity that I am referring to, where it is not sacrificed by downgrading it for the understanding of the layman.

The legacy, for me, also had to be preserved. The movie, whether it was good or bad, had a profound effect on our pop culture. How many times have you heard it quoted, or has it turned up mentioned in another movie? But most of all, I was concerned about the legacy of "Top Gun", especially my beloved F-14 Tomcat. It's 2022 now, 36 years after the original came out and when the Tomcat was already in her prime--and now she's gone. How would I be watching a sequel to the movie that did not start my love in the Tomcat, but further cemented it, knowing that the F-14 would be absent in the movie? Then the trailer revealed that she was indeed in the movie in some form, even in flight. Now my thoughts became, how are they able to put a retired aircraft into the movie, without it being unbelievable and, well, "cheesy"?

Nonetheless, I was having a love/hate relationship with the sequel for these reasons and more, and with every delay since 2016 or so, the struggle became more and more agonizing, not just with the aforementioned points, but also with the release dates. For instance, I understood the delays begrudgingly, and even accepted them, but I was very against it having a winter release as for me, "Top Gun" was always a summer movie, one that signaled the start of the summer, and riding its high throughout and carrying you to the fall when you had your fun and had to go back to school--there's that nostalgia again. But in any case, I couldn't see relating to a beach football game in the snowy wintertime that is Chicago.

So, with all this conflict within, I waited with bated breath for advance tickets to go on sale, and then for the day to come. I saw it in IMAX so that if it fell short of my expectations I will have still enjoyed the scenery.

I was not disappointed.

From the start, they paid homage to its predecessor, and with such grace so as to not belittle the salute, but to also bring its style up to date. I honestly wondered at first if I was actually watching the sequel, or a throwback trailer to the original. My concerns were happily relieved, as if Tom Cruise and the producers had somehow tapped into my brain and used my thoughts as feedback like in a market research group. There was hardly a moment where I was not delighted, even in the non-flying scenes. The story was well thought out and intentional, and pretty much every opportunity there was to drop the ball and resort to "cheese" was successfully outmaneuvered or brought into quiet perspective appropriately. One of the scenes that could have become extremely unbelievable was instead made into a curious possibility that was backed up by that authenticity that I had already wished for. Admittedly, there were also some scenes that threatened to pull a tear or two from your eye.

But aside from that, the characters were great, maybe a little lacking in depth, but it wasn't as if they were too profound in the original either. Nevertheless, Tom Cruise really stood out not just in his acting, but in bringing the character of Maverick back and further him for both the original fans of the iconic film, but also for the newer fans and into the future. I have to admit that during the movie, after watching every subtle motion and expression on Cruise's face, that the thought of "Oscar nomination" came across my mind for Cruise. Maybe even Best Picture, but that would really be letting my fantasies go wild. But I'd be happy with just a nomination.

But the thing that stood out for me the most aside from the obvious flying scenes was the conflict that Maverick was agonizing throughout the entire movie. It really was well written and made you feel like this truly was an aviator who has seen alot, and learned alot, not just to make him wiser, but also more cynical and humbled. One scene in particular elicited tears and emotion, simply from the look on Tom Cruise's face and his body language. It made it somewhat difficult to get through the moment, as difficult as it was for Maverick himself.

Miles Teller did a great job as Rooster, and he looked so much like Anthony Edwards you would think he really was Goose's son. His demeanor was just right and not too overdone. Jennifer Connelly was also notable as Maverick's love interest with a connection to his past, but I think they could have had her have more meaning to the story like Kelly McGillis' Charlie did. I have to also admit that I enjoyed John Hamm's role in the movie, as well as some other surprise actors and how they were used appropriately in the film. The other actors whom I believe are largely unknown, were also quite good in the movie, with just the right amount of cockiness and bravado that you would expect of junior officers flying strike fighters.

Nods to the past were also supplemented with nods to the current events of our time. "Top Gun" came out during the Cold War, and in retrospect, this was quite apparent of the times. Today's current atmosphere and global conflicts were likewise portrayed in the sequel, with some attention given to that past. Besides the world affairs being included in the movie, there was also the nod to current trends marking "Top Gun: Maverick" as one for its own time. Things like cellphones, selfies, and texting marked this movie as contemporary of its time, to be looked back upon in the future by the current generation as fondly as us 80s kids do now. The advances in military aviation and its contrast with aviation in the 80s were also addressed in the movie in one way or another, but with respect rather than disdain, and at one time, even with comedic wit. Such wit which was also added in the right amounts like spice to a dish throughout the film.

All in all, I came away from this movie proud of the way "Top Gun" was equally brought to audiences old and new, and content that in being able to breathe a sigh of relief, it set me up to take another deep breath so that I can scream aloud about how much I loved this movie, what it brought, and what it had done in regard to its predecessor. It was a great work of film-making that left as great an impression on me as the original.

Bravo zulu, Cruise, Bruckheimer, Kosinski, and all involved. Bravo zulu.

v6,
boNes


"Also, I would prefer a back seater over the extra gas any day. I would have 80 pounds of flesh to eat and a pair of glasses to start a fire." --F/A-18 Hornet pilot
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#4600224 - 05/25/22 01:53 PM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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Awesome review bones and it's great seeing you here again on SimHQ! I'll definitely be seeing this in the theater as well.


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
#4600227 - 05/25/22 03:37 PM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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I don't know if I will agree with Bones, but I agree with Panzer that your review post is excellent. Nice work and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.


Animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long. Only men endure
#4600244 - 05/25/22 07:22 PM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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Whatever it's like I'm sure I'll love it regardless...

#4600251 - 05/25/22 09:07 PM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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This weekend over here is finally Top Gun weekend for the kids and i, should be awesome on the big screen. I've had the 1/48 Tom Cruise F18 sitting in my stash for over a year now as well.


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#4600262 - 05/26/22 12:44 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: Ajay]  
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Originally Posted by Ajay
This weekend over here is finally Top Gun weekend for the kids and i, should be awesome on the big screen. I've had the 1/48 Tom Cruise F18 sitting in my stash for over a year now as well.


Ok, so I had to re-read that because at first glance I thought it said that you had a 1/48 Tom Cruise sitting in your stash...which, admittedly, would be pretty awesome by itself. But then I got thinking "What would a 1/48 Tom Cruise actually be like?" It may end up being something like the electron, where scientists argue over whether it actually takes up any real space at all...


The older I get, the more I realize I don't need to be Han, Luke or Leia. I'm just happy to be rebel scum...
#4600276 - 05/26/22 10:37 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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LOL Rick. Well played.


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
#4600371 - 05/27/22 12:10 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: Rick_Rawlings]  
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Originally Posted by Rick_Rawlings
Originally Posted by Ajay
This weekend over here is finally Top Gun weekend for the kids and i, should be awesome on the big screen. I've had the 1/48 Tom Cruise F18 sitting in my stash for over a year now as well.


Ok, so I had to re-read that because at first glance I thought it said that you had a 1/48 Tom Cruise sitting in your stash...which, admittedly, would be pretty awesome by itself. But then I got thinking "What would a 1/48 Tom Cruise actually be like?" It may end up being something like the electron, where scientists argue over whether it actually takes up any real space at all...


Even worse..as a joke my daughter printed and framed a Tom Cruise pic for Fathers Day many years ago. It sits near my model cabinets watching over us in the PC room.


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#4600470 - 05/28/22 03:44 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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Great movie. I really enjoyed it. There are some mild plot holes that if you look closely you will find (for example, if this was supposed to be modern day-as represented by F35s on the carriers in the first few scenes then Rooster would have been closer to 40 and not the 20 something pilot he was in the film).

But as a film it was great fun and certainly faithful to it's predecessor. If you have the cash and the time see it in IMAX, it is well worth the extra cash to see it.


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#4600486 - 05/28/22 02:44 PM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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We went for the 4DX option, first time and last time. It was cool for the opening sequence but the chairs are too hard, and i'm too old. Movie was very cool though, flight scenes were top notch and the whole cinema, packed, loved it.

As we were waiting to enter a bunch of young chicks with boyfriends were exiting. All smiles and one of the girls said ' wow, that was actually really, really good!' At the end just as we stood up to leave, the crew of teens next to us gave us the thumbs up and were also all smiles.

Tommy knocked it outta the park with this one.


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#4600525 - 05/29/22 02:03 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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It was the first movie have seen in a theater (so Ford vs Ferrari on streaming) in at least five years that I left feeling glad I had seen it.

If you liked Top Gun, I cannot fathom but that you will like this.

If you did not like Top Gun . . . well, what in tarnation are you doing on a flight sim forum?!!? smile

#4601116 - 06/06/22 03:46 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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Saw it tonight. It was awesome.


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#4601117 - 06/06/22 03:50 AM Re: "Top Gun: Maverick" Breaks the Sound Barrier of Anticipation and Expectation [Re: bones]  
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I was fortunate to go see Top Gun: Maverick with my sister and nephews on the big Imax screen today. I enjoyed it. There are some things I did not care for but overall I think they did a great job. It felt like Top Gun mostly but then at other times if felt like something different. It was a little bit Top Gun, Right Stuff and Iron Eagle but they handled those aspects well I think when such a formula could go really wrong. I like the kind of maverick Pete Mitchell settled into. Still confident but less cocky and more matured with age and experience yet he still had the best traits of the "maverick" spirit which I think they were highlighting. I also liked that he was a holdout, not ready yet to be made obsolete by technology or policies. I know its fiction in this case but I have always loved and admired the stick and rudder type mentality where certain knowledge and skills cannot and should not be thrown to the wayside whether its the pilot who desires to see that aircraft continue to be manned or the rancher who says there are still some things that only a cowboy and a good horse can do when plying his trade. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Maverick and Rooster and their history they had to work out. I appreciated the well timed humor used as well towards the end. I also liked Ed Harris' role and wish it was longer. Val Kilmer's scene was great.

I think my favorite scene was
when Maverick takes the unscheduled training flight to show his students that he would not ask them to do something that could not be done nor that he was unwilling to do himself. I also kind of saw it as the old soldier showing a younger generation what can be done with a "can do" attitude and to inspire them to take courage and "get it done".


I did not like the modern music used for the football scene nor the ending. That's just my opinion though. The Righteous Brothers hits used in the first film were already classics more or less by 1986 so I think they could have easily found multitudes of similar classic candidates to use throughout the movie for those kinds of scenes. I love the main Top Gun theme but it seemed to really only be used for the credits. I did notice they were playing David Bowie in the bar that Penny owns which I imagine was a nod to Jennifer Connelly's work she did with Bowie. I also felt that the chatter during the training scenes was a little too much compared to the first movie. It kind of felt like they were trying to use that time to get more of the storytelling in but it was too much I think. I found myself trying to enjoy the aviation footage but struggling to take in all the dialogue at the same time. I don't know. I think I just need to see it again.
Another dislike was as far as I could tell, the whole movie was free of unnecessary profanity especially the F word and then right at the end they let one rip and I don't think it was necessary. I suppose they did it for dramatic effect
but when Maverick and Rooster steal the Tomcat, Rooster is able to follow Maverick's instructions on running the starting generator and seems to know how to stow ladders and pull pins and do numerous things for prepping the aircraft yet when in the aircraft, Maverick spreads the variable geometry wings to take off position and Rooster asks him what's happening with the wings. It was probably just a story telling device but it was a little too far fetched that Rooster, who is an experienced F-18 fighter pilot would know so little about the basics of and older and unique aircraft and one his father flew in no less. I'm not an expert by any means but even for me that felt too contrived. They could have simply left it unsaid as Maverick puts the aircraft into take off configuration.


I also really enjoyed
the Tomcat scene. It was nice they worked the iconic bird into the sequel and the CG looked pretty darn good. I'm not sure if they mixed in some real footage as well but I think they made it look as good as CG can make it look. So whoever worked on blending that in with the rest of the movie did a great job.


Again it was a heck of a fun movie. I liked Maverick's "Talk to me Goose" moments too. I look forward to seeing this again on DVD/Blu-ray when it comes out.

Last edited by Coot; 06/06/22 03:57 AM.

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