TOP GUN: MAVERICK is a movie that took over my summer and was a runaway smash hit, and for once a big blockbuster movie that deserved all of its acclaim from both the media and audiences alike. After giving this movie a glowing review back in May, I went to see MAVERICK in theatres MANY times over the summer just to experience pure, unfiltered cinematic joy again and again. (How many times? I’ll never tell.) Not only just a sequel to the classic 1986, Tony Scott navy pilot actioner, MAVERICK excelled by taking a lot of the wonder of the first movie but also a more modern story and keeping it all about the characters, all the way down to seeing what Pete Maverick Mitchell (Tom Cruise) was like all these years later.
This is the type of studio movie that checked off all of my boxes and gave me pure entertainment, but also elevating the original movie at the same time, which is a rare feat. When one talks about “all the sequels and remakes” that come out and complain about it, MAVERICK is a movie that completely breaks that rule. Filmmaker Joseph Kosinski takes charge here and knows exactly what he is doing with a combination of outstanding action and flying sequences but also giving us a reason to care about it all. The sequences on the ground are very interesting with a great assortment of three-dimensional characters that make everything up in the air all the more enjoyable.
About the 4k disc:
Probably as a surprise to no one, Paramount has done an incredible job with the transfer of MAVERICK onto disc and this is one of the very best disc presentations in the 4k format. While it has been available digitally for a while, the anticipation for physical media collectors has been high and for very good reason. I saw MAVERICK, many, many times throughout the summer in regular 2D presentations all the way up to a 4k laser IMAX presentation at the Scotiabank Toronto theatre prior to TIFF this year.
The movie was shot all digitally on a combination of formats, most notably 6k IMAX cameras for all of the flight sequences, with cameras attached right in the cockpit in various forms. This is the highest level of digital IMAX photography that exists today, and wow is the detail all there. With that said, there is so much great color balance, detail and sharpness making for such an eye-pleasing experience throughout.
The aspect ratio varies from 1.90:1 for the IMAX sequences and then 2.40:1 scope for everything else, however in a brilliant move the aspect ratio “opens up” exactly when needed and doesn’t constantly switch back and forth as in other IMAX presentations. If you saw this in a regular theatre, everything was presented in 2.40:1, with a couple of IMAX shots being WAY too tight on framing (one particular shot of Glen Powell’s Hangman character in a cockpit shot cuts off his eyeliner). There are even some more dramatic sequences with flying that stay in 2.40:1 when it is combined with a sequence on-the-ground so as not to distract the viewer, as in one sequence where Maverick first teaches his pilots fast maneuvering, and even those flying shots stay in the scope format. As for having this switching formats on home video, this has always been a case-by-case basis with me. For something like DUNE I preferred the movie stay in one format, and with TENET I admired the 4k full frame photography on disc, but also having the option of a regular widescreen, cropped version on the Digital Copy. In this case, with the format staying put for full sequences and gently switching back-and-forth, I am all for having the disc present the movie this way.
Like with the picture, the sound here, mixed in Dolby Atmos (which transferred down to 7.1 on my system) is proof that this will win the Best Sound Mixing and Editing awards next year. This is a perfect soundtrack that goes VERY loud in the opening sequence but also has moments of intimacy in the dramatic scenes, and all of the flying sequences will fill all the sound in your room. In particular my favourite sound effect are the counter-measure flares that seem to pop all over the room when the team are evading mobile missiles in the mission sequence that still make the arms on my hairs stand on end.
All of the included features are right on the 4k disc this time and there is also no Blu Ray backup. All the extras are very interesting and well shot interviews and behind the scenes footage, and this is a rare time we see complete joy and excitement from everyone involved. Not only was this a passion project for many, you can tell everyone got along and there was a LOT of fun involved along with very hard work. That moment when you know the hard work has paid off is very evident throughout here. There is also an Apple TV copy here that nicely streams with the same 4k/HDR transfer which looks just as good as the disc, and also includes the same extras. I am a bit surprised there is no included Blu Ray “backup” disc here as well which may have been a possible push to get people to upgrade to 4k, but it’s a small detail.
The hype is real and MAVERICK goes above and beyond, and this disc is one you will want to play many times and is one of the very best disc releases of 2022. If you do not own a 4k Blu Ray player or have 4k capability, this is a full on reason to upgrade. Join the party!
TOP GUN MAVERICK is now available on 4k Blu Ray and is also in a few alternate formats including a 4k release with the original TOP GUN and MAVERICK together along with a 4k Steelbook version. Our thanks to Paramount PR for sending along a copy for review.