- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Classic movie fans relatively new to the Blu-ray evolution can appreciate one of the seminal machismo-driven blockbusters from the 1980s in Top Gun: 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook (Paramount Home Entertainment, Rated PG, $22.98, 109 minutes).

Director Tony Scott’s rocking homage to a group of Navy pilots challenging each other in an elite fighter weapons school nicknamed “Topgun” starred Tom Cruise as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Val Kilmer as his respected rival Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazanski.

Viewers will find the dramatic plot laughable at times, partly due to a corny romance between the reckless Maverick and civilian flight instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

However, highlighted throughout the antiquated, but sufficient, 8-year old digital transfer (2.35:1 aspect ratio) are some of the most stunning aerial acrobatics captured on cinema as F-14s jets maneuver and dogfight in the skies.

Unfortunately, despite the 30th anniversary moniker, the disc offers nearly the same package of content (except for a new steel box) delivered back in the 2008 Blu-ray release.

Still, that means a fantastic and robust supply of extras.

They first include a 2.5-hour, 6-part documentary offering what Ed McMahon might comment as “everything you ever wanted to know …” about the production of “Top Gun.”

It takes viewers through the concept of the film (that started with a magazine article about the Topgun school) through the actors training as naval pilots to the technical challenges in shooting combat jets in the air (no CGI), to working with the U.S. Navy to the early, poorly received test screenings.

Packed with interviews with nearly all of the actors and production staff, the resource is rich and entertaining for fans and film connoisseurs.

Next, viewers can listen to an optional commentary track with Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, co-screenwriter Jack Epps Jr., Capt. Mike Galpin, technical advisor Pete Pettigrew and Vice Adm. Mike McCabe.

The track is often redundant with the documentary and disjointed, jumping between participants. Only the military folks are obviously in the same room during the recording, and their narrative is by far the most interesting.

Worth noting, within both of these extras, the late Scott shines throughout.

The director’s low-key, self-deprecating interview style has him recall the volleyball scene in the movie as soft-porn, how he was fired three times during the production and that he actually cut a check aboard the USS Enterprise for $25,000 to have the captain turn the ship around for a better shot.

More bonus content includes a 30-minute look at the real Topgun school in Fallon, Nevada, a comparison between storyboards to two aerial scenes (toggled between using the Blu-ray controllers angle buttons) and classic music videos of Kenny Loggins’ performing “Danger Zone,” Berlin with “Take My Breath Away” (Academy Award-winner for Best Original Song) and Loverboy playing “Heaven In Your Eyes.”

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