Top Gun movie was the only thing going in my pre-teens.
Avid blog-readers are aware that I have already written about the upcoming sequel, Top Gun: Maverick once, and the bloody thing is not even in theatres yet, three years on. But this time my excuse is the launch of the film’s theme song, performed by Lady Gaga, no less, and the movie is in cinemas in two weeks (there’s a tracker on the official website), so I thought now is a good time to forget about women’s rights and focus on Top Gun, and more specifically on Hold My Hand music video.
The original movie, of course, is as idiotic as any other, hastily put together Cold War and Reagan -era military propaganda film, but if one watches it as a nostalgic comedy (save for Goose’s tragic and untimely death) it absolutely deserves its classic status among the Dirty Dancings and such.
Almost all key characters from the original are back. Tom Cruise is Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Val Kilmer the Iceman, and somebody is playing Goose’s son, whose call name is Rooster (see what they did there!) Who is not back is Kelly McGillis who, as Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood was Maverick’s love interest in the original. I read that Cruise (59) had absolutely insisted on having Kilmer, (62) back as Iceman, despite the latter’s serious health concerns (his voice was recreated only last year using AI technology and audio recordings of his voice, following throat cancer treatments).
McGillis, now 64 years, told Los Angeles Times that she had not been approached by the production team, admitting she would have loved to do a cameo in the sequel. “I think this industry is not particularly kind to women who are over 50. I am not into the coloring of my hair, doing the Botox and getting a face lift.” Jennifer Connelly (51) is playing Maverick’s love interest instead.
So, basically Top Gun: Maverick is very middle aged, which is clever, because so will be everybody in the audience.
You will figure out everything about the film’s plot from the 3,5 minutes that Gaga instructs us to Hold Hands. The pleasantly middle-aged topic of the theme song is hardly a coincidence: its predecessor Take My Breath Away clearly suggested at far raunchier activities. The geriatric 50+ cast in their Ray Ban aviators look like versions of Joe Biden. Goose’s son Rooster sports an 80s retro pornstar moustache. Lots of khaki and pilot jackets, which Gaga herself wears on the video when pointedly not freeing the nipple.
Maverick’s vibe 30 years later seems to be mainly shaking his head and looking pensively into the air, as if he himself was not quite convinced this sequel was such a great idea after all. With his flying helmet on, he looks like an inflated chipmunk.
(Acknowledging that Top Gun – the original or the sequel- are not documentaries, would any laws even allow somebody nearing 60 years of age to fly a fighter jet?)
As someone with a keen eye for the use of fabrics in music videos, I can report that Gaga’s Hold My Hand is true to Berlin’s original: there are bits of tulle (chiffon, maybe?) flapping about in both videos. The use of see-through material was particularly subtle (but also integral) in Take My Breath Away during the saucy sex-scene. Remember the endless speculation and rewinding of the VHS-tape to figure out whether there was some French kissing taking place!
(I also noted considerably less snogging in the Gaga music video, probably given the advanced age of the main characters. Granted, the 80s steamy kissing scenes atop Maverick’s motorcycle require nimble limbs and facial muscles not yet paralysed by botulinum toxin.)
Flying scenes aside, Top Gun was always really about beach volley and lame, if priceless one-liners. “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash” is a personal favourite.
As for beach volley, industrial quantities of spray tan and baby oil have again been lathered on the cast’s buff trunks. Elite naval pilots’ pastime of choice continues to be gathering around for a game of volley in sweltering heat, but unlike their forefathers in the 80s, this time the boys at least seem to be wearing shorts. This illustrates the milestones achieved in fabric- and fibre industry to make moisture-absorbing sportswear and thus spare people from wearing their favourite Levi’s to a match.
If you haven’t yet watch the Gaga video above, I challenge you to not laugh aloud as the spectacle finishes with close-ups of grinning, greasy Cruise, fluorescent dentures glistening in the California sun, for a brief moment looking like someone who once did, and could, turn and burn.
I will go see the sequel whatever you think, and probably will not write about Top Gun anymore.
Meanwhile, treat yourself to the original music video above.