The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 1986
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
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: February 19, 2013
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.
It should be noted that I reviewed the 2D Blu-ray release of Top Gun in August 2011. This release includes that original disc which contains the same 2D video/audio/features. Along with the new 3D version of the film the other addition is an Ultraviolet Digital Copy. This review will cover the 3D presentation and will include my original comments/score of the audio quality. For coverage of 2D video/bonus features you can refer to my earlier review which can be found here:
Top Gun: 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Review
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:
3D Presentation: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
Top Gun 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Enetertainment featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio sound that average 3.7 Mbps.
Top Gun wasn’t shot natively in 3D but was converted in post- production. Top Gun was re-mastered from high resolution original negative scans and painstakingly converted to 3D by Legend3D under the supervision of the film’s director, Tony Scott. The outcome is a satisfying viewing experience that easily surpasses any previous high definition release. 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. Going into this review I wondered how the film’s original elements and grainy visual aesthetic would look in 3D. I was pleased to see that it is reproduced with aplomb. High definition dimensionality and apparent resolution is identical to the 2D presentation. Comparing white/black levels, color and skin tone reproduction to the 2D presentation I found them to be similar as well.
The plethora of aerial shots and wide angle cinematography would look terrific 3D and benefit from the added dimension. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by the near field detection of objects and/or people layered in the foreground/background which creates a perceptible sense of virtual space. There is little use of 3D imagery that goes beyond the screen’s borders but natural dimensionality abounds which enhances the “being there” effect. I wasn’t drawn out of the film by odd looking proportions or hokey 3D for 3D’s sake. In fact I would say that it was just the opposite. I didn’t notice any distracting instances of crosstalk or other video related anomalies. I really enjoyed watching Top Gun in 3D which in my opinion bests the 2D presentation and enhances the overall experience of a great film.
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.
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 3D Blu-ray Disc offering from Paramount Home Entertainment gives fans the opportunity to delight in a complimentary 3D conversion that invigorates this 25 year old classic. This release marks the fourth high definition home video release of Top Gun. If you’re a 3D fan this is worth considering especially if the price is right. 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-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 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 Pro 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
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package