Anyone who has even a passing interest in films will have already seen Top Gun: Maverick. As far as story goes it isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but where it does shine is in its incredible commitment to aviation accuracy. The film was shot almost entirely using real Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets, something that previously hadn’t even been dreamed about. What’s more is that not only were real jets used, the entire cast actually flew during filming.
Flashback to the original Top Gun, or any film that depicts wartime aviation, and it is painfully obvious that it’s all faked. Watch Top Gun: Maverick and be immediately struck by how authentic the aviation feels.
Of course, it was no small task making the new Top Gun happen. Producer and actor Tom Cruise, along with award winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, went well beyond anything previously attempted.
What Are G-Forces?
The original Top Gun, as well as films like Stealth and Independence Day, depict high speed aviation extremely poorly. In a real fighter jet simply knowing how to operate the machine is half the job. The fact of the matter is that the human body undergoes fierce G-forces, more than enough to render an untrained person unconscious. As such much of the training for a real fighter jet involves how to stay conscious.
Cut to a scene from the original Top Gun and watch as the pilots don’t acknowledge G-forces at all. They might as well be sitting in a studio in a comfortable chair, browsing FIFA betting odds, given how relaxed they are. Of course, they are in a studio; it’s all faked.
Preparing To Make History
Tom Cruise and his younger cast went through months of training. Working closely with the US military, Cruise devised a program that allowed him and the other actors to be fully compliant with military standards. Of course, none of the cast actually flew their own jets, but were capable of staying conscious during intense G-forces.
As far as the jets used are concerned, space had to be made for 6K Sony Venice digital cameras. Each camera had to be customised to withstand 7.5Gs, as well as to run entirely on battery systems. It goes without saying that the process was incredibly expensive, though few will argue that the effort was well worth it.
Top Gun: Maverick depicts real-world fighter jet aviation with unmatched realism. The audience can clearly connect with the visceral G-forces on the cast’s bodies, thereby understanding for the first time how difficult being a military pilot really is. Anyone that thought flying jets was a walk in the park, especially those capable of going many times the speed of sound, they were sorely mistaken.
In that regard the film is truly ground-breaking, perhaps ushering in a new wave of real-world aviation focused films. After all, who can watch a movie with faked G-forces again, and not be taken out of the experience? In fact, most are probably looking at the original Top Gun in a whole new light.