The practical effects behind Top Gun: Maverick

Originally published at: The practical effects behind Top Gun: Maverick | Boing Boing

Wow, the more I see of this the more excited I become. I would have rated my interest at -1 before the reviews and footage.

So, does Tom Cruise actually fly the F/A-18? Apparently he actually flies a Mustang, which from what little I know is a very temperamental plane. I can’t imagine the Navy would allow a civilian to fly regardless of experience, but… Tom Cruise.

ETA: Apparently not, but it seems like he did in the original. I guess it’s not clear that it was a military aircraft, but I don’t recall him flying anything else in that movie.

Also: $11,000 per hour.


Whatever criticism Tom deserves as an individual, there’s no denying he intends to die doing what he loves. :man_shrugging:


Running running runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnning! :man_running:


Yeah, like others have noted the video doesn’t really make clear what the actors did and didn’t do. They all trained for 3 months…and some trained as pilots? But did any fly, at all, other than Cruise, who flies…sometimes?

And then they mix in all sorts of shots that obviously have CG, but talk about practical effects and the mountains being 100 feet from the wingtips…when who is flying, exactly? And at 5:17 where the planes have to tilt to fly under/between the bridge arches, is that practical or CG? I assume that is all CG, the bridge itself being CG.

It mentions the actors are “in back” so they’re in a real plane, being flown by actual pilots? It also mentions a (pretty stupid) camera setup where it’s easy to erase everything you’ve done.

I left this video totally confused about who did what and what was real and what was CG, not more enlightened.

The equivalent shorts on Fury Road, where they show the practical effects being performed–by professional stunt people–are more interesting and informative.

I think the confusion here is that the video tries to encompass two things: actors having training and doing their own stunts, and also practical vs. CG effects. It’s hard to keep track of who they’re claiming did what.


I can’t watch him because of the Scientology crazy, but respect to the man for the stunts and stuff that he does. He’s done some really wild stuff in the MI movies that was all him, like that shot of launching two motorcycles into the air head-on and grappling another dude out of the air. The “making of” of that was amazing, and Cruise did it all pretty much as it appeared in screen.


I was reading the other day about how he did some crazy rooftop to rooftop jump in one production, and fractured his ankle on the landing but kept powering through the run so as not to ruin the take. Ouch.


Do you have a link to that? I just looked on YouTube far too long, in vain. I think I’ve essentially watched every Mission Impossible in full by now.

The Blade Runner sequel tried to bring them back but I have to say I was not impressed

Whoever today’s Douglas Trumbull is, he’s not working in practical effects

The actors are actually flying in F/A-18s (for real this time, not blue screened like in the original*) but there’s real Top Gun Navy pilots doing the hard work. No way is the US government trusting some Hollywood actor chump to fly a $70 million plane.

Even if they aren’t behind the controls, the actors spent months undergoing intensive training before they were able to fly and they literally had to direct themselves once in flight.

* They tried to do some filming of actors flying in F14s in the original Top Gun, but none of the cockpit footage was usable because of everybody throwing up. Except apparently for Anthony Edwards.


Unfortunately my Google-fu has failed me as well. It may not have been a MI movie, but it was Cruise. Despite a vivid memory of the scene from the trailer however, I am as yet unable to find a still or video of it. It was also in the TV commercials for the film, which is where I first saw it.

no you are right, it’s in Mission Impossible 2…the video i saw (briefly) showed the motorcycles jumping and Cruise and some guy colliding, then quickly cut to Cruise saying “it was crazy!” or something like that. It wasn’t an explainer video though :frowning:

I found several other mission impossible 2 explainers about his rock climbing, etc. but not that stunt. Except the producer saying something about “only using wires” not CG for the motorcycle jump.

And Alex Honnold saying he found clear plastic handholds bolted on the cliffside where the climbing was shot. More practical effects!

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Not seen the new Top Gun yet, but to my mind the best aerial cinematography is from the film Les Chevaliers du Ciel.
The actual plot is, well, pretty crap really, but the flying is amazing. They went to the Armée de l’Air (French Airforce) to do the filming, and they fitted the cameras into external fuel tanks so the chase plane was another Mirage, meaning it could keep up with the other jets at high speeds and through manoeuvrers. The result is footage that looks better than any I’ve seen elsewhere:

eta, especially this shot:

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