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“Delightful Little Touch”: Expert Spots Buried Detail In Top Gun: Maverick That Proves Tom Cruise Is A “Real Pilot”

Summary Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield praises Tom Cruise’s performance in Top Gun: Maverick, highlighting one line during the Darkstar sequence that proves that actor knows his stuff.
Maverick says, “We have information Alpha,” while taxiing in the Darkstar, meaning he has weather and runway information. It’s a subtle moment that adds to the film’s authenticity.
While certainly heavily reliant on VFX, the film placed a big emphasis on shooting its aerial sequences as practically as possible, making it especially thrilling for audiences.
Retired astronaut and engineer Chris Hadfield analyzes Top Gun: Maverick, pointing out one hidden aspect of Tom Cruise’s performance that proves he really knows his stuff as a pilot. Serving as a follow-up to Tony Scott’s 1986 original, Joseph Kosinski’s 2022 sequel sees Cruise return as hotshot pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell to train a new batch of recruits for a dangerous mission. The movie was a hit with both audiences and critics, ultimately bringing in over $1.493 billion at the box office.
In a recent video for Vanity Fair, Hadfield breaks down scenes in Top Gun: Maverick, praising one buried detail of Cruise’s performance during the film’s opening Darkstar sequence.
Cruise, Hadfield reveals, utters one line during the sequence that isn’t really crucial to the story, but speaks to the film’s commendable focus on accuracy and authenticity. Check out Haddonfield’s full comment below:
“I love this movie. I do not know of a better pilot flying movie that has ever been made. Kudos to the people that made this film, especially to Tom Cruise. That scene at the end when tom’s flying a P-51 Mustang, that’s Tom’s Mustang. Like he’s a real pilot. “There’s a delightful little touch that Tom Cruise snuck in [during the Darkstar sequence], when, as he’s taxiing out to takeoff, he says, ‘I have information Alpha.’ What that means is he’s listened to the recording that tells what the weather is and what runway is active so that the tower doesn’t have to repeat it to him. It didn’t need to be in the movie, but it’s real and I just love that scene.”
Related: Top Gun 2: Why Tom Cruise Wasn’t Allowed To Fly An F-18 Fighter Jet
Why Top Gun 2’s Aerial Sequences Feel So Real
There’s no denying that Top Gun: Maverick features a lot of visual effects, but one major reason why the film proved so popular with audiences is its emphasis on practical action. Talk of a sequel to Top Gun emerged not long after the release of the first movie, but Cruise was reportedly adamant about not revisiting the franchise for a variety of reasons, including a lack of filmmaking technology to put audiences inside the cockpit of real flying fighter jets with real actors.
With camera technology having now advanced to make this possible, the next step was to train the Top Gun: Maverick cast to be able to withstand the heavy G forces that accompany many of the aerial maneuvers depicted in the film. The cast went to what was later dubbed “Tom Cruise Boot Camp,” not only bonding as a unit, but preparing their minds and bodies for the hours that they would be spending in fighters jets.
While none of the cast, including Cruise, were actually permitted to fly the military aircraft, they were present inside the planes as real Navy pilots flew them. This focus on capturing as much of the action as possible practically translates to the screen, with watching real flying sequences proving many times more exhilarating than watching actors pretend in front of a green screen. Although it’s evident that Top Gun: Maverick dazzled audiences, Hadfield’s latest comment suggest the movie also holds up for aeronautics experts.
Source: Vanity Fair/ YouTube

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