The Top Gun 3D conversion arrives on Blu-ray this week, just a couple of weeks after it had a run in IMAX movie theaters and our editor Ward Carroll had a revealing conversation with star Kelly McGillis on his Editor's Desk podcast. Tony Scott's '80s Naval aviation classic is probably the most-discussed topic ever here on Under the Radar, so how does this new version compare to the previous editions?
The last time we checked out a Top Gun home video release, it was the 2011 25th anniversary Blu-ray edition. This new edition includes the exact same 2D version of the film with all of the excellent extra features and director's commentary that was included in that release. In addition to the iTunes or Vudu digital copy download that came with the previous edition, you can also stream or download this new version via the still-complicated-but-getting-easier UltraViolet system set up by the movie studios. The initial pressing also comes with a lenticular O-sleeve around the disk to simulate a 3D Maverick in stores.
The big attraction here is supposed to be the brand-new 3D restoration of the movie, the last project completed by director Tony Scott before his death last August. No one in our camp has made the leap to 3D TV, so we don't have a first-hand account of what the new version looks like. However, Blu-ray.com is usually a pretty reliable source for information about picture and audio quality and they're raving about this new 3D transfer, claiming that the restoration leaves the 2D Blu-ray version in the dust.
(Aside: a trip to the local Best Buy proved educational: you can't demo a 3D Blu-ray player in their stores these days because the 3D TVs are all locked and only play a demo reel provided by the manufacturer. I replaced a CD player a few months back and took a few disks I knew really well to the audio dealer so I could make an informed choice. It never occurred to me that you can't do the same thing with a TV. If you're buying blind, you might as well order it off the Internet, right?)
The new 3D version only costs $3 more than the old 2D version online and you still get a copy of the 2D disk plus the whole UltraViolet option and the digital download. Even if you don't have a 3D setup, this new 2-disk set seems like the way to go.
And, because you can never really get enough Top Gun, here's a couple of scenes from the movie the studio sent us to promote this new release.