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Blu-ray 3D Review: Top Gun

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Is there really all that much more that could possibly be said about Top Gun? The film turns 27 in May and is aging about as well as Kelly McGillis (read: not well). It may have been deemed the greatest recruitment film the Navy ever had, and made a global star out of Tom Cruise, but the film itself doesn’t hold up as well as most classics that came out of the ’80s. Filled with an iconic soundtrack, the film itself falls rather flat. How this is called an action flick by any standard is laughable. There isn’t any until the last 15 minutes, and it flies by so fast you barely remember anything that happens. There are some explosions, Maverick saves the day, and the credits roll making me want to pop in Hot Shots!

Last week, Top Gun was released for a six day limited engagement on IMAX 3D. Now it hits your home theater 3D screens at full throttle breathing in some new life to a film that seems to be sputtering out. You would think this may have been the mindset Paramount Pictures was using when deciding that this needed the 3D conversion nearly 30 years after its original release, as this is now a triple dip on just the Blu-ray format alone. In its third iteration, Top Gun now comes to us in a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray 2D/Digital Copy combo pack with a conversion courtesy of Legend3D. The 2D disc is literally the same one issued back in 2008 of which a full review can be found here. Just so we know it’s still the same disc, even the copyright is 2008. There are literally no new frills here, aside from the 3D of course.

So hot shot, if you’re feeling the need for 3D speed, Legend3D has done a pretty sweet job converting Top Gun for Blu-ray. I’ve read some wavering reviews before finally getting my own review copy, and I think that the 3D quality really comes down to the reviewers’ equipment. On my own 65” LG 3D TV it looks pretty spectacular. The flying sequences in particular now play better than ever. And considering that’s what everyone watches it for now (sorry, the Maverick/Charlie love story is not), the new disc definitely warrants an upgrade if you have a 3DTV. There’s a whole new sense of space to the picture that’s obviously never been there before. Even the film’s grain structure has a sense of depth with all the heat trails, cigar smoke, and explosions. There’s also plenty of sharpness and detail to go around with a few soft source shots. Colors are as saturated as ever if not maybe even more than on the 2D disc.

The only time the 3D seems to have the pop-up look is in crowded shots like in the bar scenes. Anytime a big group is in a shot, the back area is completely in 2D leaving only a few characters in the foreground having any kind of space between them. Another random visual anomaly comes in the scene where Charlie invites Maverick to dinner. While he sits at the table, the background is swirling with grain but Maverick is clean as a whistle. The coolest effect comes at the 1 hour 32 minute mark as a jet takes off from the carrier. The 3D also may give some people motion sickness as it makes you feel like you’re on the old Universal Studios’ Back to the Future ride or Disneyland’s Star Tours. For me, it made all of the high flying action scenes feel new again and grants a welcome return to the classic overall.

Now, I’m not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your ass, telling you this is a perfect 3D experience. But as far as conversions go, this one sits pretty high up on the list. Especially when it comes to live-action (Warner Bros. could learn a thing or two here after their two-part Harry Potter finale and Clash of the Titans conversions). So if you’ve been wondering if 3D can breathe new life into an aging classic, for once, the answer is a definitive yes.

Cover art and photo courtesy Paramount Home Video

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.
  • tony

    the writer who review top gun i don’t believe has seen the film for if they had would understand this is a great film a classic so i recommend they either watch the film or back to school and understand what a great film is.