Top Gun flies high thanks to a near perfect 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD release. The presentation isn't splashy but it is faithful to the source. Grain distribution is not always consistent in visible density but seems in-line with the original photographic constraints, even displaying a few bursts of extreme grain clumping. Generally, though, it's fine and organic and the picture enjoys a faithful filmic façade that greatly improves on the now very aged Blu-ray release that has been on the market for about a dozen years. That grain supports high yield textural goodness. Certainly some of the aerial shots occasionally lack total crispness and some of those tough sunset/sunrise shots on the flight deck with jet engines blasting prove a little challenging to overall clarity. Likewise, some of the more generally warm and lower light interiors want for greater sharpness and stability. That said, the source elements yield superb clarity in total. Never before have all the sweaty faces revealed every droplet with so much definition. Look at close-ups in Stinger's office after the incident with the MiGs early in the film. The raw clarity and feel of tangible volume and detailing are impeccable, even in the warmish low light. Static close-ups are no challenge at this resolution, each bringing out extreme detail and sharpness so rich as to take one's breath away. Even the sandy terrain during the volleyball scene shines for granular clarity even at distance, particularly on the playing field where it's been overturned and scattered. There are some inherently softer shots scattered throughout but the overall levels of sharpness and clarity blow away any other home version.
The Dolby Vision color palette is likewise terrific, not a transformation to the material in any way but it's certainly a solidification of Scott's and Cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball's warm tones seen in abundance. The film often lives in softer and lower light, bathed in warmth, but also has its share of bright midday aerial maneuvers that boast crisp blue skies and deep, organic gray fighter jet paint. Skin tones are alive and healthy and push just right to whatever lighting condition influences them. Colorful patches on Maverick's jacket and the aviator outfits enjoy a new gear for depth and punch, while a couple of explosions late in the film pop with brilliant intensity. White Naval dress uniforms have never looked so purely crisp and authentic, and the same may be said of some white t-shirts seen throughout the film. The presentation is practically picture-perfect with no obvious print issues or encode flubs. It's unlikely that Top Gun looked this good even in theaters.
If sound was ever vital to any film it's Top Gun; the picture's soundtrack is legendary and the dogfight sequences demand high power audio. Both are served extraordinarily well by the new Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the absolute best the film has ever sounded. Simply put, the soundtrack is awesome. As the film starts, score swells with previously unmatched clarity and immersion, and the gear shift into Danger Zone suddenly transforms the cinematic experience but not the technical achievement. The song's fine instrumental and vocal details have never sounded so rich, and even as the music is spacious it never loses a feel of focus and positional excellence. Inside the carrier command center in the opening minutes, listeners will enjoy a location that is awash with authentic military sounds, such as radio chatter and assorted radar and computer bleeps and bloops that draws the listener into the tight space. There are plenty of other moments of light background elements, even in quiet dialogue scenes (the 39-minute mark, for example) where very fine jet fighter screeches are heard in the distant background. Music throughout the film soars, whether "Lead Me On" blended into the background during the club scene in chapter four when Maverick first meets Charlie or when it's more center-stage when "Playing with the Boys" powers through during the volleyball scene. For anyone who grew up listening to the soundtrack on CD or cassette, this is a game changer.
Fighter jets rumble in the sky as they move into position on the carrier's deck but the sensation only improves as they power through the air at high speed while making various maneuvers. Here the top end engages with frequency, with both plainly discrete effects and easily identifiable adds to the entire sensation. The feel of spacial realization is intoxicating, and while the track is greatly expanded it feels completely natural. Gunfire rips through the stage in the action scene to end the film while missiles zoom and planes explode with impressive movement and depth, respectively. Dialogue is clear and lifelike throughout.
There are a couple of very minor drawbacks. There appears to be a lip sync issue, fairly severe, at the 1:27:20 mark as the pilots are being briefed on the disabled ship in the Indian Ocean. It's the scene intro shot that lasts several seconds. There are also a few occasions of uneven pitch (1:21:40, for example). Overall, however, this track is a beast.
4K Bluray details
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
German: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Note: Spanish España y Latinoamérica, Japanese 2.0=TV Tokyo Version, Japanese Mono=Fuji TV Version, Portuguese=Brasil
English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Thai
4K Ultra HD
Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)
Slipcover in original pressing
4K Blu-ray: Region free
2K Blu-ray: Region A, B (C untested)