Top Gun: Maverick is inspired by a scary cartoon that you must watch

Animated mediums have no limits — that’s exactly the kind of limitless possibilities that cinematographer Claudio Miranda needed to fulfill Top Gun: Maverick. But what to do when your lead actor is a human and not Shrek? The answer is a bit of reverse engineering.

At a recent dinner at the 2023 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Miranda accepted the award for Best Cinematography for his work on MaverickThe director of photography reveals his unlikely inspiration for the long-awaited film Top Guns The sequel is not modern aerial footage but gravity defying action animation. Looking back at old stunts, including the revolutionary stunt work in Tony Scott’s 1983 original film, means having the ability to mimic what those movies did. That’s not Tom Cruise’s way, nor is it his goal Maverick Directed by Joseph Kosinski. But when Miranda discovered Damian Nenow’s 2010 short film Road of hatredHis bar is set.

Nenow is not an entity known to anyone involved Top Gun: Maverickbut he’s an innovator: Most recently, the Polish animator has directed Another day of lifean animated feature/documentary/narrative hybrid of the Angolan Civil War earned a release from GKIDS in 2018. Road of hatred uses a similar bold style to turn a brutal air battle on a fighter jet into a reflection of the toxic effect of anger on the human psyche. Looking deep inside, it’s easy to see why Miranda is interested in Nenow’s work. Animated cameras swing in and out of the cockpit, with the planes moving low to the ground in a way that Top Gun academy teachers would consider extremely irresponsible. Perfect for Maverick.

As Miranda said Indiewireif he can get the plane in Maverick looks like the air battle in Nenow’s gruesome war portrait, he’ll introduce a live-action film to audiences they’ve never seen before. So he did. The Advanced camera, integrated in active fighter he used to pull out MaverickHis photography is highly technical and detailed, but to me, even more compelling than the micro is the macro: Animation allows a longtime live-action filmmaker to dream big. Miranda’s long career is filled with digital technology – his work on David Fincher’s The strange case of Benjamin Button making him the first DP to be nominated for a fully digital production, and he went on to shoot the highly animated film. Tron: Legacy. But in a field where there’s always been a war between digital/animated work and actual or film-based tech, this is a guy looking for pure inspiration. And he found it in an animated short that you can watch right now.

The cherry on top of Miranda’s award-winning moment at the NYFCC dinner: Top Gun: Maverick star Danny Ramirez was present to present the award and revealed that while making the film, he slept with the DP, who would spend the night with headphones, a tablet, watching YouTube videos that would “make him” giggle”. This is how the real masters work, ladies and gentlemen.


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