Tom Cruise Returns to ‘Top Gun’ Sequel ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

NEW YORK (AP) — In 1983, producer Jerry Bruckheimer was flipping through the May issue of California magazine when he was struck by a story. “Top Gun” read the title, and a large photo inside the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet. The story begins: “At Mach 2 and 40,000 feet above California, it’s always noon.”

“I saw that cover and I said, ‘We have to do this. This looks great,'” recalls Bruckheimer. “This is ‘Star Wars’ on Earth.”

And at the box office, Top Gun did almost reach Star Wars proportions. It was the first film in 1986, the rocket-fueled, testosterone-fueled sensation that made Tom Cruise, then 24, a major star. It makes bomber jackets, aviator sunglasses and a gay game of beach volleyball in jeans buttocks, just like it does military service. In the chauvinist Reagan-era ’80s, “Top Gun” was almost Americanized.navy Setting up recruitment forms in theaters. Enlistment skyrocketed.

If all of this — patriotism in full swing, star-led blockbusters, magazines — sounds like it used to be, it is. But nearly four decades later, after two years on hold due to the pandemic, Top Gun: Maverick is going all out to enter a new world.

In this film, directed by Joseph Kosinski, there is a new mission to win and aerial combat. But this time around, Top Gun’s mission feels heavier. In the CGI Marvel universe, it proves that a filmmaking brand fueled by star power, practical effects, and filmmaking prowess can still summon the need for speed.

“I wanted it to have that old-school experience,” said Kosinski, director of “Tron: Legacy” and “Forgotten.” Just like the Mavericks are going back to Top Gun, I want audiences to go back to that type of filmmaking. “

Paramount Pictures, push back “Top Gun: The Maverick” The streamer, has already rolled out a military-grade boost in the sequel. After takeoff from the USS Midway in San Diego ( where cruise arrives by helicopter ) global promotional tour including a stop at the Cannes Film Festival (Cruise received an honorary Palme d’Or ) and a royal premiere in London. The film finally hit theaters on Friday.

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But where countless sequels crumbled and burned decades later, “Top Gun: Maverick” could be a successful retro blockbuster — perhaps even rivaling the original. The film has certain strengths, most notably the seemingly youthful age of its 59-year-old star.

But in Top Gun: Maverick, the middle-aged Maverick returns to an elite aviation training program to train a new generation of flying aces (which includes Miles Teller as Goose’s hot-headed son, Rooster), an The action-adventure recaptures Goofy’s filmmaking style with modern technology. Shooting outrageous aerial scenes in the cockpit, Top Gun: Maverick reignites the adventurous spirit of the digital age with a surprisingly emotional storyline full of memory and loss.

Early in the film, the skeptical general played by Ed Harris tells Maverick that his kind is heading for extinction, a relic that will soon be replaced by automation. Maverick replied with a smile, “Not today.”

“In the movie, he sees himself as a pilot. But when I watched it last week, it really felt like Tom Cruise was talking about the movie business,” Kosinski said. “He still makes a very, very strong case for the theatrical experience in the age of streaming.”

But is the new Top Gun as seamless as the Reagan ’80s original? The original “Top Gun” was not well received by critics. Pauline Kael called it a “shiny gay commercial,” a thread Quentin Tarantino picked up on in 1994’s “Sleep With Me,” when he was a The actor called it “the story of a man fighting his own homosexuality”.

Others saw Pentagon-backed patriotic recruiting videos and contrasting American individualism with a faceless, stateless enemy. Much of it still exists in “Mavericks” – there’s no shortage of people who don’t follow orders, and the bad guys are still a blank slate. But Kosinski thinks the film is most important about the pilot’s tight-knit culture.

“I do feel that the theme of the first film and the theme of the first film was not about politics. It was really about friendship, camaraderie, rivalry and sacrifice,” Kosinski said. “That’s what we wanted to do in this film very purposefully. We designed a fictional adversary. The mission itself is the mission to keep the world safe. It’s not about the invasion. It’s really about Maverick and Rooster. relationship between.”

In 2012, the sequel started gaining momentum. Tony Scott, the director of the original film, was meeting Bruckheimer at the Naval Fighter Weapons School in Nevada called Top Gun. Scott committed suicide a few days later.

“We certainly doubt it will happen,” Bruckheimer said. “But we’re still interested in trying to make the movie.”

Bruckheimer brought in Kosinski, who directed Cruise in the 2013 sci-fi adventure Oblivion. Knowing from that experience how Cruise would react, Kosinski focused his pitch on the actor’s character and emotions. He and Bruckheimer flew to Paris to meet Cruise while filming the Mission: Impossible movie. With a poster titled “Top Gun: Maverick,” the director had 20 minutes to make his case.

“At the end of that meeting, Tom stood up, he walked over to the phone, called the studio head, and said, ‘We’re making this movie,'” Kosinski said. “I mean, that’s a real movie star who could green-light a movie with a single phone call.”

Cruise has some rules. One of them was the return of Val Kilmer, who had difficulty speaking after throat cancer and multiple tracheal surgeries, returning to play Iceman. (The actor’s appearance was brief but poignant.) Another is that all the actors who played pilots were trained to fly in the F-16 and withstand higher G-forces. In the original, only Cruise managed it.

“Tom devised a way to train the actors. In the first one, when they lifted them off with a camera in the cockpit, everyone threw up. We had no footage available. Their eyes were on them tossing and turning in my head,” Bruckheimer said. “Tom said, ‘Look, we have to figure out a way to put our actors out there so they can handle gravity.'”

Bruckheimer said it took 15 months with the Navy, lawyers and film crew to figure out how to fit six cameras in the cockpit. Actors who played pilots — Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Greg Tarzan Davis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman and Jay Ellis — accepted Three months of training to prepare the F-18 for flight speed.

“There are actors who say, ‘I’m not going to do this. I’m afraid of flying. So we’ve lost some talented people who can’t make movies the way we do,'” Bruckheimer said. “Most of the pilots we worked with on this film said they joined the military because they joined the first ‘Top Gun’.”

So Top Gun has proven it can have a lasting impact in the real world. “Top Gun: Maverick” hopes to show that, when done right, a Bruckheimer-esque blockbuster can still outshine anything else in theaters or at home.

“The film looks at the future,” Kosinski said. “Not just the past.”

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Follow AP film writer Jack Coyle on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP