Memorial Day-weekend movie-goers have been tickled by the blatant U.S. Navy and Air Force recruiting booths set up in cinemas as Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters.
Investigative reporting from Shadowproof has revealed that, in fact, the Navy has for over 20 years been trying to get a sequel to the original Top Gun which raised interest in military aviation after the disastrous Viet Nam War, and that extensive DoD involvement and oversight in the project took place.
DoD public relations officers, Shadowproof found, had a say in everything, from character lines and character plots to shooting locations. In 2015, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer was taken aboard a Navy ship “to identify general story outline, desired research areas, and rough production timelines,” while the Navy’s Hollywood Office worked with Paramount Pictures “to help develop character arcs,” and review “script’s thematics and weave in key talking points”.
The result is Top Gun: Maverick a movie featuring Tom Cruise as his returning character from the first film, now grown up and training a new set of Naval aviators on a secret mission to bomb a uranium-enrichment facility in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. Coincidentally this is happening while the U.S. is unilaterally holding up signing an already-agreed-upon revision of the Iran nuclear deal.
Tehran Times hasn’t picked up on this blatant Hollywood reference to their country, perhaps suggesting it wont be coming to theaters near them anytime soon.
It’s reportedly seen $151 million on opening weekend, and movie-goers are delighting in direct attempts to recruit people looking to be the next hot-shot ace bombing things in the Middle-East, when most pilots are using drones, and hating their lives as a result of it.
It also seems that the DoD scriptwriters took a shot at China, in a small way, by including a patch of the Taiwan flag on a fighter’s bomber jacket specifically for the Taiwan release of the film. This comes just days after President Biden said, contrary to stated administration policy, that the U.S. will military defend Taiwan should China, who believe it is theirs, attempt to take the island by force.
Knowing that every inch of the film was written in correspondence with DoD and Navy public relations officers, these hardly seem like coincidences.
The previews before the film include an Air Force-sponsored recruiting ad featuring their F-35 demonstration team, occasionally bombing desert landscapes.