Starring: Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Tom Skerrit, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Rick Rossovich, and Meg Ryan.
Directed By: Tony Scott
Where i Watched It: Paramount Plus (though I see it’s also now on Netflix)
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: Pixel Logic
Narrated By: Brad Perry
Audio Description Note: I watched this a few weeks back, and now Netflix is pushing this on me. It may have swapped streaming services.
The Plot: Top Gun is actually a school where they take the most elite pilots and train them to be the best. it was the 80’s, so we were training a lot of people in a lot of different movies, all of them to be the best. enter Maverick (Cruise), a hot shot with something to prove, and his sidekick Goose (Edwards), and Top Gun will never be the same. The person named at the top of their class is invited back to be a teacher if they want. Is that possibly important knowledge for the impending sequel? Maybe. Maybe not. Also, Maverick is very hot for teacher (McGillis), another big trend in the 80’s.
What Works: I actually never sat down to watch this while I could see. i really had a completely different idea of what this movie was, and how good it could possibly be. I was very wrong. This movie was way more fun, and exceeded all my expectations.
First of all, Cruise is great here. He’s in top Cruise control, which makes the movie that much more interesting. Val Kilmer provides a solid competitor for him, and it’s kinda sad to reminisce on his career, and how much more he obviously had left to give as an actor, before being limited by his… well… you should watch his documentary Val, if you don’t know what’s up.
Even Anthony Edwards, whose opinion from me has always been formed by his time on ER, is surprisingly good here. And Kelly McGillis, who I just do not understand why we let her go (she was terrific in Witness also), and why she isn’t still a huge name today. I regret not having seen this earlier, as I thought this fired on all cylinders. It was action packed, it was very 80’s without being obnoxious, clearly well made, and I can imagine very well shot by Tony Scott. The narration really gave me an idea of the look and feel Scott was going for here, plus adding to that the production by Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson, and I basically had a vision in my mind the whole time. whether it was the romance scenes, which feel so much like all the romance scenes in every other Bruckheimer or Michael Bay film, to fun moments like karaoke or volleyball. And I know the flight sequences were filmed as well as they could be for 1986, and I bet hold up rather well today.
I’m really glad I got into this, and to anyone excited for Top Gun Maverick that hasn’t seen the original, just go ahead and do it. It’s a ton of fun. It’s IMDB score feels really low all things considered. I expected at least above a 7.
What Doesn’t Work: My one little thing, and this is a slight spoiler, but it also happens at the beginning of the film, is just the whole layout of that opening sequence. He was clearly having an extended panic attack, and no one on base seemed to care. It was all up to Maverick. then somehow, even though only one spot is open, both Maverick and Goose got to go? Just because? I enjoyed the rest of the film, but the set up was decidedly just a little unnecessarily choppy, and asking a bit much in terms of checking our brains at the door.
The Blind Perspective: Brad Perry’s audio description here is fantastic, and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future. There’s a lot going on here, and he does manage to really stay on top of these characters, all with silly nicknames, and track them through their flight sequences. There’s some focus on how people look, and what they are wearing. Really, the whole thing is fleshed out well for a 1986 action film.
Final Thoughts: Some films win Oscars, and other films just make you happy. Hearing Danger Zone, and going through this experience is just the kind of thing that you will have fun with. We can’t all just watch sad movies all the time. Sometimes you need a great popcorn mainstream action film, and even all these years later, Top Gun still sticks the landing, and proves it’s the ace in the sky.
Final Grade: A