Just got back from seeing the new Top Gun movie. I must be one of the last Americans in the world to have seen this movie, which has been out for a while, and is a big hit. It was about what I expected: a movie about Tom Cruise, men, and technology. Despite some truly fantastic flight and air combat scenes, the movie landed with a thud, at least with me. On the walk back home, I tried to figure out why.
The first Top Gun film came out in 1986, when the US was in full flush of the Reagan-era patriotic revival. We were still in the Cold War, but Gorbachev had arrived on the scene, and it looked like we might win. It is hard to overstate the sense of confidence that America had then — a confidence that was most vividly expressed through hallowing the military. This had a lot to do with exorcising the demons of our Vietnam failure, and the Iran debacle. Tom Cruise was 24 years old in 1986; he was the face of America’s brash new sense of itself.
Tom Cruise is 60 today. True, he looks damn good for 60, but he is still puffy and soft around the edges, and doesn’t have the swagger he used to have. And you know, he looks like America today, too. This, I think, accounts for why the new Top Gun is so tinny. It’s harder to relate to, given the wars and other events of the past twenty years. Maybe it’s just me, but sitting in the movie theater tonight watching the film, I enjoyed it on a surface level, but I’m no longer the audience for this shiny, shallow war movie. Läs recensionen