Caught a large chunk of Top Gun in Glorious High-Definition over the weekend, and a few thoughts occur to me:
* You could argue that the movie would not have succeeded without the brilliant second-unit photography which opens the film. It's gorgeous, amazing stuff and it captures the world of naval aviators better than anything which follows it. In fact, without it I don't know that the rest of the movie really works. I wonder if Tony Scott did it himself or let one of the assistant DP's do it, as is usual.
* If Top Gun was made today, it would be heavily reliant on CGI effects and it would be lousy. Nothing reminds you of the limits of CGI like seeing real planes flying. Sure, you don't get the sexy camerawork, you don't get missile-eye POV shots, you don't get long, arial tracking shots that swing around one plane and then zoom to another.
What you do get, however, is infinitely more powerful.
* It is nearly inconceivable that the movie never got a sequel. A sequel would have been terrible, of course. But if Top Gun was released today, no studio head alive would be able to resist trying to turn it into a franchise.
* I've said it before and I'll say it again: We'll all be sad when we don't have Tom Cruise to kick around as a leading man anymore. He's not a great actor, but he's always better than he has to be. And unlike most of his contemporaries, he takes being a movie star seriously: He never, ever mails it in. And even when he's bad, he adds value.
* Also adding value: Michael Ironside. In every damn scene he's in. Nothing against Tom Skerritt, but I'll bet that Ironside also read for the Viper role. And if it had been up to me, I would have switched those parts.
13 minutes ago