Top Gun 1986 action, adventure
I saw this film on the big screen when it was released over three decades ago, and was surprised to hear that a sequel will be released in late 2020. I was inspired to rewatch this movie and pen a review of this blockbuster (mild spoilers ahead). The premise of the story is very simple: Maverick (Tom Cruise) is a young hotshot Navy aviator who earns his chance to go to Top Gun, the most prestigious aerial combat school in the US military. Soon rivalries, friendships, and romance take hold along with really cool aerial sequences. The plot is simple; you could write it on the back of a stamp. The themes of American aviation superiority and the warrior ethos are hammered in. Of course, a romance subplot with Kelly McGillis is inserted for box office appeal, but it is the friendship between Maverick and Goose that really makes this film special. In military parlance, Goose is the Guy in Back (GIB). The GIB takes care of missile control systems, radar, and the ECM (electronic counter measures). With multiple instruments handled by the GIB, the pilot can concentrate on flying the F-14A Mach 2 jet fighter. In a recent contest ranking movie sidekicks, Goose (Anthony Edwards) was the winner; easily beating out second place runner-up Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski). Like all good sidekicks, Goose served alternately as a wingman, counselor, buddy and partner in crime. Goose snapped a Polaroid of Maverick flipping an upside down bird to a Soviet pilot, sang a duet of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” as part of Maverick’s wooing his new love interest, and took his share of the heat for Maverick’s fly-bys and other high-jinks. Goose was not only Maverick’s best friend, but also his only family. And the cherry on top: Goose also gets an emotional, heroic death scene. What more could you ask from a sidekick?
This film was a fantastic recruiting bonanza for the Navy in the midst of the Cold War. After this film premiered you could hear the noise of the competing Army, Marine and Air Force recruiters slamming their crew-cut heads against the wall in despair over the grand success of pro-Navy propaganda. An “AFTER ACTION PLAN” was set in motion throughout the armed services for the next terrific recruitment film. Keep in mind that Top Gun was Pentagon approved. If you, the Producer/director, want to play with the big military toys, you play by their rules. And that means a legal contract and script approval by Pentagon brass. Which brings me to the HARD question: How in the hell are they going to replace Goose in the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick?
From what I have read about the sequel, Maverick pilots single-seat jets, so the part for a GIB character does not exist. Goose may be gone, but remember he had a son that Maverick was very fond of, so expect an appearance of Goose Jr. Also Maverick has to have a love interest, right? The romance subplot will star Jennifer Connelly. In classic Hollywood fashion, Kelly McGillis (born 1957) was skidded for a sexier, younger actress. Raise your hand if that surprises you. As for our favorite high-flying Scientologist, he barely looks a day older when he climbed into the jet cockpit back in 1986. So with ageless Mr. Cruise heading up the cast, the sequel is a safe bet for financial success. I look forward to seeing Top Gun: Maverick, on the big screen (due to premier in December). Just remember you are watching sanitized, patriotic, pro-military propaganda, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
A few more thoughts about the original 1986 Top Gun:
Best quote: “I feel the need for speed”. [Maverick]
Best song on soundtrack: Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins
Wardrobe: Maverick’s leather bomber jacket.
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.