Appearing with his “Pulp Fiction” co-writer Roger Avary on the ReelBlend podcast on Wednesday, the two-time Academy Award winner said he doesn’t typically speak about other filmmakers’ work publicly, “because then I’m only forced to say good things, or else I’m ‘slamming’ someone. I don’t want to do that.”
“But in this case,” the writer-director continued, “I fucking love ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ I thought it was fantastic. I saw it at the theaters. That and Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story.’ Both provided a true cinematic spectacle, the kind that I’d almost thought that I wasn’t going to see anymore. It was fantastic.”
Tarantino spoke at length about “Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski’s spiritual successorship to original “Top Gun” director Tony Scott, who died by suicide in 2012. (Scott famously directed one of Tarantino’s first screenplays, “True Romance.”)
“There was just this lovely, lovely aspect because I love both Tony Scott’s cinema so much, and I love Tony so much that that’s as close as we’re ever going to get to seeing one more Tony Scott movie,” Tarantino said. “[Kosinski] did a great job. The respect and the love of Tony was in every frame. It was almost in every decision. It was consciously right there, but in this really cool way that was really respectful.”
Tarantino recalled speaking with Tom Cruise about the challenge of reviving “Top Gun” without Scott, who was set to direct the still in-the-works sequel at the time of his death. Per Tarantino, Cruise said: “That’s why I said no all these years, for that exact reason. We figured out a way.”
“I think [that respect] was in every decision Tom made on the film,” Tarantino continued, adding that he thought the reunion scene between Cruise and Val Kilmer “was almost too cheap, but it absolutely works. It’s a bit like Charlie Chaplin dying on stage for the last scene of ‘Limelight’ … but it fucking works. You’re waiting for it and the fucking scene delivers.”
To date, “Top Gun: Maverick” has made $1.3 billion at the global box office.