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‘Top Gun’ Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Explains What Made ‘Maverick’ Such A Hit

Renowned Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer recently shared his thoughts on how Top Gun: Maverick became such a colossal blockbuster, decades after the original was released. Bruckheimer sat down with Entertainment Weekly to reminisce about his involvement with that seminal 1980s classic, and how actor Tom Cruise helped revitalize it for a brand new era.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

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“It’s always the characters, the themes, the story,” he began, which could be taken as an offhand jab at other companies pushing properties that do nothing but propagandize on behalf of Left-wing radicalism. At the very least, it’s Bruckheimer saying the obvious to anyone who will listen, and he has the pedigree to back it up.

“That’s what it’s all about; it’s about the emotion, it’s about bringing Iceman back, it’s about seeing a real movie. You’re in the F-18 just like those actors are. They were trained for three months to be able to get into an F-18… You can see the struggles of what they’re doing, what they’re going through. That’s all real, that’s not made-up.” he continued.

Jerry Bruckheimer interviewed by HuffPost Live
Source: Jerry Bruckheimer interviewed by HuffPost Live, YouTube

This is a nod to the use of practical effects in a film where CGI would have arguably been more convenient. However, the industry’s mass-adoption of CGI over the last few decades has led to many directors and storytellers relying on it as a crutch, at the expense of authenticity and good storytelling. 

“I think audiences have been seeing so much CGI, which is wonderful, I go see the same movies, but it’s also nice to see the real deal, and to be part of a camaraderie of characters that get up in the sky and have to be as good as they can be.” the producer added. The key takeaway, as many movie fans have known for years, is to rely on CGI on an as-needed basis.

Harrison Ford in Call of the Wild
Source: Call of the Wild, 20th Century Studios

The most recent example of over-reliance on CGI was the recent Predator franchise sequel Prey, where nearly every animal in the film was a digital construct. This kind of approach yanks any sense of immersion out of the film in the same way that 2020’s Call of the Wild blew the chance to utilize a real dog for the lead, a la 1991’s White Fang starring Ethan Hawke.

Later in the interview, Bruckheimer touched on authenticity in storytelling when he remarked about the recent film’s tremendous success. “The audiences love the Marvel, they love the DC stuff. They’re beautifully made by really talented people. Sometimes you want to see something that’s real, and that’s what Top Gun gave us… These aviators are out there protecting our country right now, flying around the world, and you’re taking a ride with them.” 

A Predator slays a grizzly bear in Prey
Source: Prey, 20th Century Studios

He’s not wrong. Once again, the “only-as-needed” approach to CGI is more palatable to moviegoers than a lazy VFX-fest. In the case of particular Marvel MCU films, CGI is an absolute-must, but it’s a slippery slope towards focusing on eye candy at the expense of a solid and digestible story.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

RELATED: Top Gun: Maverick Writer Christopher McQuarrie Explains Why Maverick’s Bomber Jacket Was “The Biggest” Creative Challenge For Tom Cruise [2]

Bruckheimer then showered praise on lead actor Tom Cruise, a Hollywood legend known for his weird lifestyle and religious choices, as well as his diehard commitment to excellent filmmaking. 

Top Gun was the benefit of all of Tom’s learning and being with all these terrific actors, directors, and writers. He helped us craft this movie. He designed the aerial sequences with [director] Joe Kosinski, [co-writer Christopher McQuarrie], and the rest of our writers worked so hard to get this movie to become the success it has become. All that energy that Tom puts into it… Nobody works harder.”

Again, all true.

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

The Bruckheimer interview comes at a pivotal point in the culture wars, with audiences rejecting the majority of Hollywood content driven by fundamentalist Woke ideologues and extreme-radicals. While a great number of supposed summer tentpole blockbusters went down in flaming defeat, Maverick soared to new heights, accumulating $1.4 billion dollars as of this writing.

Bruckheimer’s “characters, themes and story” argument should be a lightning rod for change in the mainstream creative circle, but is anyone listening? Even as the cultural pendulum shifts away from Left-wing religiosity, its main drivers continue to quadruple down on pan scrapings like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, A League of their Own, and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Monica Barbaro and Tom Cruise on the set of Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

RELATED: Jerry Bruckheimer And Paramount To Produce Live-Action Beyblade Film [3]

Top Gun: Maverick scored rave reviews from critics and moviegoers across the entire spectrum of audiences, striking a chord based not on adherence to political messaging, but a complete rejection of it. It even earned praise for flipping off the Chinese Communist Party in subtle fashion when it came to costume design.

These types of movies are akin to an oasis in a hot, dry and exhausting desert of creative bankruptcy and endless, droning propaganda. Bruckheimer figured out the secret to putting asses in seats long ago; indicative of such hits as Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, The Rock, Pirates of the Caribbean and Bad Boys. 

Jerry Bruckheimer in a Sirius XM interview
Source: Jerry Bruckheimer interviewed on Sirius XM, YouTube

The question is whether Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the last of a dying breed, or a guy with a megaphone trying to shake up the establishment in order to get back to the good old days where movies were actually enjoyable. 

NEXT: Quentin Tarantino Calls Out The Rampant Ideological Climate Of Modern Hollywood [4]