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A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

Top Gun - Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray

(Tony Scott, 1986)







Paramount (USA)

Review by Gary W. Tooze

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1
DUBs: French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, none


19.2 Gig

50GB Blu-ray Disc


• Commentary by director Tony Scott, writer Jack Epps Jr., Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and naval experts

"Danger Zone" : The Making of Top Gun (6-part featurette)

• Featurette: From the Ground Up - Pre-Productions (29:59)
• Featurette: Playing With the Boys (24:24)

• Featurette: Need For Speed (28:26)

• Featurette: Combat Rock (21:30)

• Featurette: Afterburn (22:25)

• Featurette: 'unnamed about the Top Gun training facility' (28:46)

• Storyboard (4:02), Music Videos including - Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone, Berlin “Take My Breath Away, Loverboy “Heaven in Your Eyes” and Faltermeyer and Stevens “Top Gun Anthem” etc.


Disc: 50GB (single-layered) Blu-ray Disc

Released: July 22nd, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
16 chapters

Product Description:

Jingoism, beefcake, military hardware, and a Giorgio Moroder rock score reign supreme over taste and logic in this Tony Scott film about a maverick trainee pilot (Tom Cruise) who can't follow the rules at a Navy aviation training facility. The dogfight sequences between American and Soviet jets at the end are absolutely mechanical, though audiences loved it at the time. The love story between Cruise's character and that of Kelly McGillis is like flipping through pages of advertising in a glossy magazine. This designer action movie from 1986 would be all the more appalling were it not for the canny casting of good actors in dumb parts. Standouts include Anthony Edwards--who makes a nice impression as Cruise's average-Joe pal--and the relatively unknown Meg Ryan in a small but memorable appearance.

--Tom Keogh's review from HERE




I actually think this may be one the best 'surface' films ever made (throw Flashdance in that group as well). It certainly helped build Cruise up to mega-stardom. It is not excessively memorable but as I watched it again (and then yet again in the background when my wife came home) I did get some good 'vibes' - it's a feel good film about achieving, overcoming obstacles and finding love. And that's okay - many people just want that much out of a film and I think it still stands up well today in those regards. The marriage of music and action is a little MTV-ish, Cruise's smile is a shade like a used-car salesman - sure there are weaknesses. It's no Bicycle Thief. It wasn't trying to be. I know a few gals that claim this is their favorite film. Hmmmm... well, we'll work on that.

Gary W. Tooze


Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc. I suppose I could have put the HD in and toggled back and forth between the that and the Blu-ray to see if I could notice a difference but, this is Top Gun, and I am not that keen folks. I must say, it looks pretty sweet - better, to my faded memory, than the HD but it wouldn't surprise me if it was the same encode. I see a shade of noise in some of the open skies but other than that this transfer is fairly perfect. The film can be quite visual (and aural) and this Blu-ray supported the presentation exceptionally well. Unlit scenes remained fairly dark and uniform - contrast and colors seem true and unmanipulated while detail, the real star of the show, has some sparkling and memorable moments. I suppose the full resolution caps can probably do a more competent job of showcasing the image than my words. I don't think I have any strong complaints. Ohhh.. it was, as you might expect, extremely clean (without a speckle of damage) and on another front... Kelly McGillis never looked so sexy as she does in 1080P (hubba, hubba). 
















Top Gun has such an active soundtrack that the level of frequency response can become a major part of the viewing experience. I remember being very impressed with the DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 track found on the SE and HD but the lossless HD track (also on the HD) seems to usurp it. The jet engines rumbled the bass response and the music sounded extremely clean and clear. Overall, Giorgio Moroder's pop-rock ("Danger Zone", "Lead Me On", "Take My Breath Away" etc.) and Harold Faltermeyer's themes never sounded so pure and rich. Your speakers definitely get a full workout with this track. There are also two 5.1 foreign language DUBs and dialogue is supported with English SDH, English, French, Spanish or Portuguese optional subtitles.




Unlike the bare-bones HD-DVD edition of Top Gun this Blu-ray is totally stacked although all supplements seem to be taken from the Special Collector's Edition SD from 2004. The commentary is a bit piece-meal made up of spliced together selections and is not specific to the onscreen action. If you have heard it before - it's not too bad, but not one I'd care to revisit. The 6 'Making of...' featurettes total around 3 hours but aren't as exhausting as you may perceive with some decent input beyond the obvious Hollywood clichés. You wouldn't think when they started shooting with a wafer-thin script that you could expand discussion of it to well beyond the film's running time but the naval pilot's input is what I found most interesting. I just can't stand Bruckheimer... and, to me, Scott always appears to be making believe he is carefree and laid back. The package also mentions some further stuff (Cruise interview etc.), but my notes don't mention it. I'll take another look in the next day or so - see if I can dig it up (digitally speaking). Bottom line here is that it's nice to see Paramount, at least, matching the extras on an older SD, although it would be something if they built upon them. As it stands there is more than enough here to suit any fan of the film aside from a trailer which we understand has some music rights issues surrounding its inclusion.




If you are a fan of the film, Cruise, McGillis, the music... whatever - this Blu-ray of Top Gun is the way to go. It has it all! <Psssst... it makes a great present for the wife to entice her into the whole Blu-ray thing - give it a shot!>








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