Top Gun: MaverickOverview -
Unexpected, spectacular and surprisingly poignant, Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick delivers to audiences something we didn't know we wanted, a genuinely heartfelt sequel to Tony Scott's 1986 action drama while simultaneously reminding us of the breathtaking joy of watching practical effects and real-life white-knuckle action sequences. The marvelously thrilling and moving sequel lands on Blu-ray with a dazzling, reference-quality audio and video presentation that can be confidently said as the best disc of 2022. Although the supplemental package is a bit lacking, the massive box-office hit is nonetheless the Must Own Blu-ray of the year.
After more than thirty years of service as a top naval aviator, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot. Yet, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past when he returns to TOPGUN to train a group of elite graduates and comes face to face with Lt. Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his former wingman "Goose". Bitter rivalries ignite as the pilots prepare for a specialized mission which will require the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
For a more in-depth take on the movie, you can read our review of the 4K Ultra HD HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment grounds Top Gun: Maverick to Blu-ray as a single-disc package with a flyer for a Digital Copy. The dual-layered, Region-Free BD50 disc containing all the special features is housed inside the standard blue, eco-vortex keepcase with a glossy, slightly-embossed slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken to a static screen, the usual selection along the bottom and music playing in the background.
The unexpected sequel lands on Blu-ray with expected results, touching down with a spectacular, reference-quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that is, hands down, the best disc of the year. And that is not an exaggeration. Shot on IMAX digital cameras and mastered to a 4K digital intermediate, the freshly-minted transfer is a remarkable visual feast, showcasing razor-sharp definition and clarity from start to finish. The tiniest details are distinct, from the fabric of the uniforms to the individual leaves in trees from a distance, and every object decorating the background is plain to see. We can clearly make out every pore, negligible blemish and whisker in the entire cast, and complexions appear natural and healthy throughout. The HD video also boasts a sumptuous array of colors, bathing the action in richly-saturated primaries and accurately rendered, full-bodied secondary hues. Spot-on contrast and brightness levels supply crisp, radiant whites and inky-rich blacks, allowing for outstanding visibility into the far distance and of the finer details in the darkest shadows.
Overall, the presentation earns perfect marks across the board with one demo scene after demo scene and arrives with alternating aspect ratios, switching from anamorphic 2.39:1 for the more character-driven moments and IMAX 1.90:1 for the action sequences. For CIH owners, I found that a 2.00:1 aspect ratio was a good comprise and worked great with the IMAX sequences. (Video Rating: 100/100)
The same reference-quality Dolby Atmos soundtrack is available on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. For a more in-depth and thorough take on the audio quality, you can read our review of the UHD edition HERE. (Dolby Atmos Audio Rating: 100/100)
Paramount grounds the film with a nice selection of bonus features, but considering its massive success, it also leaves much to be desired.
- Cleared for Take Off (HD, 9 min) looks at the rigorous training of the cast & crew in the effort of accomplishing some of the astonishing action sequences with the fighter jets.
- Breaking New Ground (HD, 8 min) focuses on the filmmaking process of shooting fighter jets.
- Forging the Darkstar (HD, 8 min) takes a closer look at the scramjet prototype seen at the beginning of the film and how it plays a role in the story.
- Music Videos (HD, 7 min) feature a pair of songs, starting with Lady Gaga performing "Hold My Hand" and the second with Onerepublic performing "I Ain't Worried."
- A Love Letter to Aviation (HD, 5 min) is precisely as it sounds and comes from Tom Cruise.
From director Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick is an unexpected marvel and spectacular accomplishment, as the filmmakers not only justify the need for a sequel to Tony Scott's 1986 action drama but also demonstrate that this follow-up was something we didn't know we wanted. Sporting breathtaking, white-knuckle action sequences that were done practically and outstanding performances by the entire cast, the production is grounded by a genuinely heartfelt and moving plot that gives its predecessor's story a fitting conclusion and surprising resolution. The sequel lands on Blu-ray with a dazzling, reference-quality audio and video presentation that can be confidently said as the best disc of the year. Although the assortment of supplements leaves something to be desired, the massive box-office hit is nonetheless a Must Own package.
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.
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