To step back in
time to the summer of 1986 for me is a pleasant visit.
That was the summer I graduated from high school and had
a girlfriend I adored. I lost my virginity, lost my
braces and pretty much had ditched eye glasses for
contacts. For the first time in my life, I was a stud.
"Top Gun" came out that summer and was the talk of my
workplace. The girls swooned at Cruise and probably wore
out their cassette copies of the soundtrack. The guys
liked the movie because it had real fast jet planes and
a hot Kelly McGillis. This was the ultimate PG-rated sex
tease movie. Everything from the hot screen action of
Cruise/McGillis, to the alleged homosexual undertone of
the film (which I recall came out years after the movie
was released), this movie had everyone singing "Take My
"Top Gun" is now available on Blu-ray disc.
This movie is still popular to this day with a lot of people. Honestly, I never completely understood why it was so adored in 1986. But Paramount has been able to re-release this film on videotape, LaserDisc, DVD and now Blu-ray with successful results. It's similiar to how record companies will always have their "The Eagles Greatest Hits," or Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" albums. People keep buying them over and over again, even if they won't admit to their friends that they love the music. The same probably holds true to "Top Gun."
In the many years since "Top Gun" flew onto screens that summer, I decided to go back to it. Blu-ray disc is simply wonderful, and what better way to enjoy a movie than in high-definition and high-definition sound than Blu-ray. In sitting down to watch the film, I came to the same conclusion I did as a young adult; the movie is kind of dumb. It's not so dumb that you don't enjoy it. It's not so dumb it's bad or poorly made. It's just kinda dumb.
This is one of those movies that you enjoy because of the shear arrogance of the male characters, the loud soundtrack, the phoney heartfelt moments, the incredible cinematography, the bogus dialogue and the Tony Scott touch. This is like heavy metal music. You play it loud and proud, and have no regrets doing it. And while you're at it, have drink on the house. This ain't David Lean, or even David Lynch filmmaking. It's pop movie all the way, baby!
I just couldn't get into the movie as many people did. I found it very predictable. The jet practice scenes reminded me of television's "Airwolf," in which canned radio jabber was dubbed over the flying sequences. And the scenes of the actors in the cockpit looked unrealistic.
Tom Cruise to me has always been Tom Cruise. Yes, he's been lauded over the years for his incredible acting. Hell, I've even enjoyed some of his roles like "Risky Business" and "Legend." Yes, I said "Legend." But to me, his range has always been limited to the cocky smile and the "eyes-bug-out" scenes he likes to do. He's Maverick in this film and he must've relished the role. Who else in the 1980s could've pulled this role off? And to think that Cruise's career was somewhat stalled before "Top Gun" came out. Ridley Scott's "Legend" came out that spring in the United States and tanked. I think I was one of the few people who saw the movie in a theater! At that time, I think most people agreed that Cruise was a bonified star. "Top Gun" essentially put Cruise back on the map, and for better or worse, seemingly forever. Kelly McGillis is to die for in this movie. Sexy, young and in control, she exudes the '80s ideal woman for us guys. Well, at least to my 18 year-old mindset.
But I'll be damned! The opening credit scene and the jet flying scenes are well-worth plucking down money on a Blu-ray disc. Even though the soundtrack is presented in the compressed Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio sound formats, the sound is simply extraordinary. I wish that Paramount went the extra mile and released this disc in uncompressed sound. Believe me, with the time-and-phase accurate speakers I own, there is a difference in the sound quality. This soundtrack would've really shown its chops. The soundtrack quality is a testiment to the original recording engineers who created a 70mm Six-Track Dolby Stereo mix on it. No "dated" audio quality on "Top Gun."
The summer of 1986 was a great one. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Aliens," "Ruthless People," and "Stand By Me" all came out that summer. "Top Gun" proved that a thin storyline and jets could sell a lot of tickets.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.
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