The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1986
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tom Cruise , Anthony Edwards , Val Kilmer , Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Meg Ryan Rick Rossovich, Whip Hubley, Adrian Pasdar
Directed by: Tony Scott
Music by: Harold Faltermeyer
Written by: Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 30, 2011
"I feel the need, the need for speed"
Top Gun takes a look at the danger and excitement that awaits every pilot at the Navy's prestigious fighter weapons school. Tom Cruise is superb as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a daring young flyer who's out to become the best of the best. And Kelly McGillis sizzles as the civilian instructor who teaches Maverick a few things you can't learn in a classroom.
I can’t help but find it hard to believe that Top Gun came out 25 years ago. I saw it in the theater and remember the hype that surrounded it. Watching it now it seems derivative and passé but back then it was slick, fresh and eclectic. Its blockbuster status was evident and the action was and still is engaging. The production elements hold up very well thanks to Jeffrey Kimball’s superb cinematography, lots of spectacular aerial work and the use of very few special effects. The script is a little narrow with varying levels of cheesy dialogue but the nostalgia factor runs high with plenty of memorable/quotable lines. The music soundtrack is one of the decade’s best and really helps to drive the storyline. Like him or not there is no denying Tom Cruise’s star power and this film helped propel him to superstar status. He headed a cast of young talent, some of whom would go onto to impressive careers of their own. This includes Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tim Robbins, and Meg Ryan. Tom Skeritt and Michael Ironside are spot on as the gruff naval veterans seeking to tame the testosterone fueled proceedings. I have never thought that Kelly McGillis’ star was all that bright. After doing “Witness” with Harrison Ford her appearance in this film tossed her into the national spotlight. Other than “The Accused” with Jodie Foster she really didn’t make any follow ups worthy of note (although I like The Winter people with Kurt Russell). The chemistry between she and Cruise is mediocre at best which leaves the romantic elements in Top Gun adding very little. It’s the comradery between Maverick and Goose (Cruise and Edwards make a great pair), the over the top design of the young pilot core, and the high flying adrenaline that make this film fun to watch. 25 years later I found myself nearly as entertained as I was the first time I saw it. There is indeed something to be said for that.
The rating is for language, brief sensuality and thematic content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Top Gun comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio sound that average 3.7 Mbps.
This marks Top Gun’s third high definition release and from what I can tell all three appear to share the same master. The outcome is a predominantly satisfying viewing experience that easily surpasses standard definition. It lacks the polish and refinement of the best catalog release offerings I have seen on Blu-ray but there are moments where it shines just the same. Resolution is quite good as images are well resolved with revealing detail during close ups and most mid level panning shots. Bright exterior sequences tend to look the best as contrast and brightness achieve an excellent balance that when coupled with the video’s high resolution has a resplendent quality. Blacks are fairly deep and gradationally satisfying which allows them to pop during sequences containing light and dark elements. The earth tones and primary colors are naturally rendered with appreciable tonal separation and pleasing quality. Reds appear to lean a little toward orange but don’t stray far enough to serve as a distraction. Fleshtones are warm with discerning complexional variety and lifelike texture.
Sharpness can fluctuate with some scenes appearing less resolute. I also noticed a few instances where lightly applied digital noise reduction smoothed over what otherwise would have been fine minutia. I didn’t find this to be an egregious break from the quality of the remainder of the video but its worth mentioning. Grain is present but not consistently rendered over the course of the presentation. The print is in decent shape with minor flecks appearing here and there.
This film’s soundtrack was highly regarded in the early days of home video. It translates very well via either of these lossless offerings and sounds great. I watched the entire film using the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack and later went back to watched key sequences in DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio. The F14/MIG 28 battle/flying sequences and music are the track’s centerpieces. The rousing original music and pop soundtrack sound smooth, refined and dynamically satisfying as it fills the listening area. The surround mix can be fairly active and features a plethora of panning effects that use the sidewalls and rear of the room to convey flybys, flyovers and side to side near field effects. Low frequency effects and dynamic range are quantifiable but don’t achieve the level of room energizing, china breaking levels that we typically see with newer digital movie soundtracks of this type. Dialogue intelligibility is never a problem as vocal reproduction exhibits crystal clear intonation and discerning room penetration. There is aspects of this presentation that border on sounded dated however I found the overall outcome to be quite good for a 25 year old film.
- Commentary by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, co-writer Jack Epps Jr., and naval experts
- Danger Zone: The making of Top Gun - six-part documentary (totaling 145 minutes)
- 2 multi-angle storyboards with optional director commentary
- Best of the best: Inside the real Top Gun – 28 minute documentary
- Music videos:
- Kenny Loggins – “Danger Zone”
- Berlin – “Take my breath away”
- Loverboy – “Heaven in your eyes”
- Harold Faltmeyer and Steve Stevens – “Top Gun Anthem”
- 7 TV Spots
- Behind the scenes featurette
- Survival training featurette
- Tom Cruise interviews
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
Looking at Top Gun now I find it to be an entertaining slice of 80’s nostalgia that manages to retain much of what made it special back in the day. This Blu-ray Disc offering from Paramount Home Entertainment gives fans the opportunity to delight in excellent lossless surround sound, gratifying high definition video and rewarding bonus features that invigorate this 25 year old film. This marks the third high definition home video release of Top Gun. If bonus supplements are important to you and you don’t already own the 2008 Blu-ray release this is worth considering. If you own the 2008 release the only upgrade this offers is a Digital Copy. For those that are contemplating an upgrade from DVD this version is the one to own. If you have never seen Top Gun I suggest you drop it into your rental queue and give it a spin on Blu-ray.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package