Movie Review: “Top Gun 3D”- Call Sign: Success

Written by David Greenberg February 17, 2013


There are some films that are meant to be shown in 3D and there are some that are not.  In an era where 3D is being tired out like how I feel after I consistently hear Gangnam Style on the radio, 3D should be reserved for movies that will be enhanced by the technology, not burdened by it.  Like a New York rib-steak that has been over-spiced and overdone, most good films are not improved when they are adapted for the 3D movie screen: “Top Gun 3D” cannot be said to be on this list.

Top Gun 3D: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

These days, when a film is shown in 3D, it seems that the producer’s main strategy is comparable to that of the Spaniards during the Armada of 1588: having the biggest ships that make the loudest noise will ultimately prevail.  As the English have proven to us, this is not the case.  However, “Top Gun”, directed in 1986 by Tony Scott, is one of those films that was made to be shown in 3D.  “Top Gun”, a blockbuster by every stretch of the word when it was released almost twenty-seven years ago, pops out of the screen when you see it in 2D; its release in 3D is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.


 I will never forget the first time I saw Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, in the first scene of “Top Gun”, refuse to land his aircraft in order to help one of his fellow pilots land his own jet.  Seeing it play out in 3D was a new experience.  The stress that both pilots exude on the screen was augmented by the 3D technology; I felt that many aspects of the scene that I had not picked up on when I saw the film for the first time in 1999 come to life, fourteen years later.

An Improvement on the Original?

The reason why I loved “Top Gun” when I saw it for the first time was the way in which it made my feet tingle when I saw those planes fly through the sky; I felt that I was the pilot who was maneuvering the MiG over the Persian Gulf.  What impressed me the most was the way in which the sounds of “Top Gun” were adapted to the IMAX screen and allowed the film to be drastically improved by the innovation.  There is nothing comparable in cinema to being able to hear a fighter jet scream through the open air.


Cult Moments Preserved

Let’s be serious for a second.  The reason why “Top Gun” has been able to enter the annals of American cult cinema is not because of the cinematography and the sound of the fighter jets.  It is a cult classic because of Tom Cruise’s star-creating performance of “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and because of Goose (Anthony Edwards) and Maverick’s rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire.”  Possibly its most famous example of “cultivity (note: I invented that term) is its invention of the term “wingman” which is a word that has been taken over by bar-going men ever since the film’s release in 1986.  Even still, those moments in the film where the IMAX camera does not allow the landscape to pop out of the screen, the 3D IMAX technology still works.  The IMAX technology allows those famous scenes that are still quoted today to come to life in a new and more tangible way.


Maybe the reason I liked “Top Gun” in 3D is because I grew up watching the movie and can probably quote it better than Tom Cruise himself.  Yet, I still feel that if any movie were to be made in 3D, “Top Gun” was a good choice.  I must say, however, even though it has become popular to adapt films to 3D, fifty percent of the job is choosing the right films to adapt.  “Top Gun” was the right film.

My Rating: 8.5/10


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