05 March 2023

Eddie "the Editor" Hamilton - Top Gun: Maverick


Top Gun: Maverick Avid Timeline

 Obviously, I wrote this in advance, since this has been bugging me for months. I have two intros to this post, one for each outcome of the 95th Annual Academy Awards, which happens next Sunday. 

Version 1:  Congratulations to Eddie Hamilton on winning the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Film Editing for Top Gun: Maverick!  TGM really was the best movie of 2022.  While the film was nominated for six Oscars, Film Editing was a sure lock for Eddie Hamilton.

But, there is one editing hiccup that just does not flow right...

Version 2:  Well, I guess it is always good to get nominated by the Academy. If you ask me, and many others, Top Gun: Maverick should have been nominated for more, and won more, especially when we are talking about a once in a generation cinematic experience like Top Gun; Maverick. 

There is one editing hiccup that may has cost Eddie Hamilton his first Oscar win...

This scene has bothered me for a while.  You may have missed it this first time.  But upon further viewing, there is a clear continuity mistake in the edit.  Here is the timeline as presented to us by Academy Award Nominated/Winner, Eddie Hamilton.  

When the team is on the carrier, we see beautiful shots of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with a great soundtrack.  Speaking of shot and soundtrack.  Huge Oscar snubs for Cinematographer Claudio Miranda and Composers Hans Zimmer, Harold Faltermeyer , Lady Gaga.

Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

Anyway, we cut to...sorry, Eddie Hamilton cuts to Maverick in the hangar bay staring out to sea, in full flight gear, delivering the iconic Top Gun line, "Talk to me Goose", as he collects his thoughts.  This is his final mission.  Note that his flight suit has no patches.  Patches are removed as one gets deployed into combat zones.

Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates

Warlock appears behind Maverick, "Captain Mitchell.  You're where you belong.  Make us proud." Behind, the track appropriately titled "You're Where You Belong".  Brilliant!  Maverick acknowledges as the elevator comes down with two Hornets.  

Maverick on elevator, Warlock looks on

Maverick steps on the elevator and rides up with the two F/A-18's.  Much cooler shot than watching Maverick take the stairs. 

Heading up to deck.  Full flight gear, no patches

The next scene, we are in the hangar for a mission briefing. Uh, they have briefing rooms for mission briefs, why have it in the hangar area where there is a bunch of noise and stuff going on? Again, looks better on camera.  Cyclone and Warlock are there as the team is chosen by team leader Maverick.  Note that Maverick is only in his flight suit, with no flight gear.  Also, all his patches (Top Gun Fighter Weapons School, Name tag, American Flag) are on the flight suit.

Mission briefing in the hangar.  Flight suit only, with patches

After the brief, they all head up to deck for a sweet montage

Phoenix and Bob ready for mission

Wait, so Maverick is in full gear...goes from hangar to deck...then takes off the gear, puts patches back on, goes back down below deck to the hangar for mission briefing...picks the team...then removes patches and puts on his gear, again...stand by the elevator for Warlock scene?  Man, Hondo is one busy guy.

Bashir Salahuddin as Wo-1 Bernie "Hondo" Coleman

The briefing scene should be before the Warlock and Maverick scene.  Right?  I could be wrong, but it should go like this:

  • Carrier cutting through the ocean 
  • Mission Brief, Maverick (in flight suit only, with patches) selects the team
  • Pre-flight montage
  • Warlock and Maverick (in full flight gear, no patches) in hangar, "You're where you belong" 
  • Maverick goes up elevator with planes...or take the stairs
  • Hangman/Rooster, on deck "You give'em Hell"
  • Maverick/Rooster pre-flight "We'll talk when we get back

That is it, this is what keeps me up at night.

Update:  Well, well, well.  The final script was released and the time line is exactly what I thought I should be.  Now, we all know that things change due to time, money, availability, etic and hopefully fixed in the editing room.  You can read the scrip HERE


Note that the meeting takes place in the ready room.  Am I looking way too much in to this?

Eddie Hamilton, ACE

Oh, one more thing. In another scene, Maverick say, "this will be a cake walk".  No!  This is a chance for another callback. The line should be "this will be a walk in a park".  Come on, guys!  Otherwise, perfect movie, masterfully edited. 

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