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Originally published February 7, 2013 at 12:05 AM | Page modified February 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

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‘Top Gun’ 3D takes off in theaters

Friday, Feb. 8, the 3D rerelease of “Top Gun” — the Tom Cruise Navy flyer romance — commences in theaters in anticipation of its release on 3D Blu-ray Feb. 19.

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and parody a close second, “Top Gun” has been under a siege of compliments since its release in 1986.

Two entire movies — “Hot Shots!” (1991) and “Hot Shots! Part Deux” (1993) — were inspired by the Tom Cruise Navy flyer romance. “Family Guy” seems to lampoon the Tony Scott film every chance it gets. YouTube virtually overflows with sendups of the movie’s homoerotic volleyball sequence. Just two years ago, when Chinese state TV showed what it said was a Chinese fighter jet destroying a U.S. aircraft, it was actually footage taken from “Top Gun.”

So it would seem like an apt time to (re) experience the original, in an added dimension: Beginning today, Feb. 8, the 3D rerelease of “Top Gun” (rated PG) commences in select IMAX theaters in anticipation of its release on 3D Blu-ray Feb. 19. (The 2D Blu-ray is already in circulation).

Remastered by its director, who completed the task shortly before his suicide last August, “Top Gun” occupies a singular niche in the culture. Is it the action? The romance? The campy jingoism? The star power? What is it, exactly, that makes “Top Gun” such a resiliently appealing movie?

“I wish I knew, I’d make more of them,” said the film’s co-producer, Jerry Bruckheimer. “I think it came out at an interesting time and it really showed American ingenuity and capabilities. And it really motivated a lot of the people who are our aviators today to become fliers.”

Written by Jack Epps Jr. and Jim Cash and inspired by a magazine article by Ehud Yonay, “Top Gun” is about Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise), a pilot aboard the USS Enterprise (the naval craft, not the spaceship) who along with shipmate Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) is admitted to the Navy’s fighter-weapons school. There, they meet other hot dogs, and the cocky Maverick gets involved with his civilian instructor, Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), doing some stupid stuff along the way and ultimately finding himself.

Bruckheimer saidScott completed the 3D rerelease version just the way he wanted. “The planes leaving the carriers, the dogfights — it looks fantastic,” he said. “You look at the 3D version and you actually think that Tony shot it that way.”

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