Home Trending Trending Strap yourselves in! CAROLINE GRAHAM provides the low-down on Top Gun: Maverick  English Headline

Trending Strap yourselves in! CAROLINE GRAHAM provides the low-down on Top Gun: Maverick  English Headline

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It has been 36 years since the original Top Gun blasted Tom Cruise to Hollywood superstardom. 

Now the movie’s long-awaited sequel is set to transport a new generation of fans into the ‘danger zone’.

Top Gun: Maverick, which has critics raving, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joining the 59-year-old actor on the red carpet in London the following day for a UK Royal premiere.

While sequels rarely live up to the hype, those who have seen this $200 million blockbuster predict it will dominate the box office this summer and could even snag a Best Picture Oscar.

A producer who saw the film in LA last week said: ‘It’s the perfect summer movie and the best sequel since The Godfather Part II. Everyone was worried the hype couldn’t possibly match the movie, but this is a great film.

‘It has everything you want from a Hollywood blockbuster and Tom Cruise is magnificent. He’s nearly 60 but this is his movie. He proves why he’s been a superstar for so long.’

CAROLINE GRAHAM: While sequels rarely live up to the hype, those who have seen this $200 million blockbuster predict it will dominate the box office this summer and could even snag a Best Picture Oscar. (Pictured: Tom Cruise and Kelly McGills in Top Gun, 1986)

Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 classic

Jennifer Connelly and Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 classic 

The film, which opens across the UK on May 27, tells the story of the US Navy’s elite ‘Top Gun’ fighter training school.

It introduces favourites from the original film, such as Val Kilmer’s Iceman, to a new batch of flying aces, which include black and Hispanic Top Guns – and a female pilot.

‘It’s just a fantastic thrill ride from the start,’ the source said. ‘It has everything from the most spectacular aerial dog-fight scenes to moments so heartbreaking you could hear people sobbing. It’s one of those films where you immediately want to go back in and watch it again.’

Hollywood pundits predict the movie could make $1 billion globally in its opening weekend and may go on to challenge Avatar as the most successful movie ever.

‘It is so good everyone expects it to win a ton of Oscars next year,’ the source said.

‘It’s bound to win all the technical awards because the aerial fight scenes are incredible but it should get nominated for Best Picture, it’s that good.’

Here’s all you need to know about the film which – as Top Gun’s original theme tune promised – will take your breath away…

With thrilling aerial dogfights at 1,189mph, strap yourself in for the low-down on Tom Cruise’s new Top Gun sequel blockbuster

Cruise control 

Tom Cruise was in control of every aspect of the new movie, from picking its director to choosing his co-stars and even signing off on the final script.

The 59-year-old superstar was ‘only’ paid $13 million, although he will also earn a percentage of every dollar taken at the global box office. He made $100 million for the original Mission: Impossible film – and could earn even more if Top Gun: Maverick is a box office smash.

The first Top Gun film not only made Cruise a global action star but inspired him to become a real-life pilot off-screen. He calls Top Gun: Maverick ‘my love letter to aviation’. As Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, he donned his signature aviator sunglasses and filmed inside real F-18 fighter jets at 1,189mph over California’s Mojave Desert.

‘Everyone thought he was crazy,’ said Captain Brian Ferguson, the US Navy adviser who coached Cruise. ‘It probably would have looked almost as good if they had used special effects technology. But he wanted it to be authentic. And it is.

Tom Cruise was in control of every aspect of the new movie, from picking its director to choosing his co-stars and even signing off on the final script

Tom Cruise was in control of every aspect of the new movie, from picking its director to choosing his co-stars and even signing off on the final script

‘There will be speculation that, ‘Well, there’s no way an actor was in that plane at 50ft, inverted, going over the ridge at 580 mph at seven Gs’. But there was.

‘Every time you see an actor in a plane, there is an actor in a plane.’

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said: ‘We spent a fortune filming them in the cockpit. Tom was the only one who could handle the G-forces.

‘The rest of them, their eyes were rolling in the back of their heads, they were blacking out, vomiting. But nothing brings people together like group suffering.

‘Tom’s into every detail. He called me late one night to complain that a door closing in one scene was too loud.’

Cruise famously insists on doing all his own stunts. The Navy wouldn’t allow him to fly in the front seat [and take control] of a real $67.4 million F-18 jet so they modified one with an instructor in the front seat – and Cruise in the back. ‘He was really flying, the Navy pilot was there to take over in case something went wrong and Cruise blacked out. But he never did,’ a source told the MoS. ‘He’s superhuman. He works out every day at 4am before coming in and being the most prepared person on set. He’s fearless. And it shows in every scene.’

The Iceman gets emotional

Val Kilmer in the original Top Gun film, back in 1986

Val Kilmer in the original Top Gun film, back in 1986

Maverick’s nemesis Iceman, who is played by Val Kilmer, is the ’emotional heart’ of the movie, according to those who have seen it. 

In the sequel, Iceman is an admiral while Maverick remains a captain because he never conformed to Navy rules and ‘doesn’t ever want to be grounded in an office’. 

‘Iceman and Maverick have one of the most emotional scenes in the film,’ the source said. 

‘In the screening I was in, all you could hear was people sobbing.’

Will everyone rush to be a top gun? 

After the first Top Gun film there was a 50 per cent increase in applications to join the Navy's fighter programme. (Pictured: Super Hornet Jet Fighter)

After the first Top Gun film there was a 50 per cent increase in applications to join the Navy’s fighter programme. (Pictured: Super Hornet Jet Fighter)

The US Navy is setting up ‘recruiting stations’ in cinema foyers across America. 

After the first film there was a 50 per cent increase in applications to join the Navy’s fighter programme. 

A spokesman said: ‘Obviously we are hoping for the same outcome this time around.’

The bike is back…

Maverick rode a Kawasaki Ninja in the original –and that’s what he’s doing this time around, too. 

The Kawasaki GPZ900R became iconic when it raced against a fighter plane. 

And – once again – the film has upset US health and safety officials, who have complained that Cruise is setting a bad example by riding the superbike without a helmet.

Maverick rode a Kawasaki Ninja in the original –and that's what he's doing this time around, too.

Maverick rode a Kawasaki Ninja in the original –and that’s what he’s doing this time around, too.

Top Gun spurred a run on leather flying jackets, while there was a 40 per cent increase in sales of Ray-Ban aviators. (Pictured: Tom Cruise and Kelly McGills in Top Gun, 1986)

Top Gun spurred a run on leather flying jackets, while there was a 40 per cent increase in sales of Ray-Ban aviators. (Pictured: Tom Cruise and Kelly McGills in Top Gun, 1986)

…And so is the fashion 

Top Gun spurred a run on leather flying jackets, while there was a 40 per cent increase in sales of Ray-Ban aviators. 

This time, fashionistas are already gearing up to dress like their heroes. 

There is an official Top Gun store offering $249 (£203) flying jackets and $24.50 (£20) men’s sport underwear emblazoned with the Top Gun logo, as well as branded belts, a cologne, socks, coffee mugs and face masks.

How Cruise went Gaga for Gaga

Cruise, who was in charge of picking the film’s music, was determined to repeat the success of Top Gun’s global hits Take My Breath Away and Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. 

Lady Gaga in her music video for Hold My Hand, the official soundtrack for the new Top Gun movie

Lady Gaga in her music video for Hold My Hand, the official soundtrack for the new Top Gun movie 

He commissioned multiple groups and writers but then dumped them all after seeing Lady Gaga in concert. 

Oscar-winning Gaga said that her emotional ballad Hold My Hand is ‘a love letter to the world during and after a very hard time’.

Critics are thrilled 

So far there hasn’t been a negative word to be heard, an astonishing feat when it comes to film critics.

The San Francisco Chronicle raved: ‘Top Gun: Maverick improves on the original. It’s deeper, it’s not corny and it has a thrilling effect.’

David Ehrlich of IndieWire said: ‘If Top Gun was a fun film because it invented Tom Cruise, Maverick is a great film because it immortalises him.’

So far there hasn't been a negative word to be heard, an astonishing feat when it comes to film critics. (Pictured: from left, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro and Danny Ramirez in Top Gun: Maverick.)

So far there hasn’t been a negative word to be heard, an astonishing feat when it comes to film critics. (Pictured: from left, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro and Danny Ramirez in Top Gun: Maverick.)

Hollywood ‘Bible’ Variety said that the film ‘takes to the skies as no blockbuster has before’.

It’s not just Cruise who’s eulogised. The LA Times said of Val Kilmer: ‘In one fictional moment, he gives us something unmistakably, irreducibly real, partly by puncturing the fantasy of human invincibility that his co-star has never stopped trying to sell.’

But will it save Hollywood? 

Only Marvel superhero movies have succeeded in a post-Covid world – and Hollywood is desperately hoping this film proves that audiences still want to see blockbuster movies on big screens. 

An executive for Disney Studios said: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake didn’t produce like it was supposed to. Everyone is banking on Top Gun: Maverick. If this one doesn’t take off, Hollywood as we know it is finished.’



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