DO SOME OF THAT PILOT SHIT, MAV!
(No movie spoilers in this report, so read with impunity.)
I don’t like movie sequels. I am almost always disappointed. I was far from disappointed with the return of Tom Cruise in his iconic role as ace fighter pilot, Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Believe it or not, this sequel is even better than the original. And the original, released 35 years ago, was fantastic!
What I hate most about movies is when Hollywood ignores the laws of physics. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief somewhat, accepting without complaint that James Bond can shoot his target even when diving fifteen feet across the room. (It’s silly to think that he’s as good as I am, but… whatever.) However, when a helicopter is tilted nose down, using its blades to destroy the wicker marketplace in an attempt to kill 007 on his motorcycle… I’m sorry. Helicopters can’t fly that way. That’s too much “magic” for me, and I quickly lose interest in the rest of the story.
That is not a problem in this sequel. Quite the opposite, in fact. In the movie, our Top Gun pilots are required to do an “unrestricted climb”. That means that pilots will accelerate to a high speed near the ground and then pull the aircraft vertically to quickly climb to the aircraft’s cruising altitude. As I watched the faces of our pilots, I could see actual G-forces pulling their faces toward their ears. One pilot actually begins to pass out and lose consciousness as the aircraft begins to exceed the human body’s ability to function. That is NOT something that Hollywood is able to fake! These reactions were real!
Did you know that Tom Cruise is an actual jet pilot? He owns his very own P-51 Mustang, perhaps my favorite airplane ever to leave a runway. There is no green-screen used in this movie! Tom Cruise created a three-month training program for the other actors to prepare them for their parts. Every actor is actually pulling G’s in a military aircraft! There are hundreds of short videos on YouTube that document the making of this film. I encourage you to watch them. They are fascinating. I liked Tom Cruise before, but I have a whole new level of respect for him now.
Tom Cruise is nearly sixty years old. The actor and his character are a lot more mature. He is still Maverick, ignoring the rules when it suits him, but not nearly the youthful playboy he depicted in the original movie. I liked this version of the character even more. Probably because I’m older, and I tend to avoid stunts that are likely to get me hurt. Young men heal much faster than us “old-timers”. I love two quotes from early in the movie.
Rear Admiral: You should be at least a two-star Admiral by now, yet here you are. Captain. Why is that?
Maverick: [pause] It’s one of life’s mysteries, sir.
Rear Admiral: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.
The goal of this movie was to make you feel like you were in the jet fighter yourself. They were amazingly successful in doing that. If you “feel a need for speed”, by all means, go see this movie!