Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly sparkle on sunny Cannes day

Tom Cruise arrived in a navy helicopter for the world premiere of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, the sequel to the original ‘Top Gun’ that propelled the actor into superstardom 36 years ago, at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on a sun-dappled Wednesday in the French Riviera.

As a phalanx of photographers kept shooting, Cruise, who returns as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, first did the photocall by himself and was then joined by co-star Jennifer Connelly, who plays Penelope ‘Penny’ Benjamin, the naval aviator’s new love interest, who is a single mother, bar owner, and daughter of a former admiral.

Thirty-six years is a long time, so the action drama not only has a new director – Joseph Kosinski, whose last big film was ‘Tron: Legacy’ (2010), replaced Tony Scott – and it has a new cast with the exception of Val Kilmer, a.k.a. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, a fellow TOPGUN instructor and friend/former rival of Maverick, who is now a four-star admiral commanding the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

TOPGUN, incidentally, is the informal name given to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor programme offered at the Naval Air Station Miramar (San Diego, California), which is now known as the Marine Corps Air Station.

A couple of months short of his 60th birthday, a smiling and chilled-out Cruise showed up in a smart tailored navy blue suit worn over a white shirt, and also sported the aviator glasses that had become the rage all over the world after he first flaunted them in the 1986 film.

Connelly, 51, in the words of ‘Daily Mail’, “looked stunning in a nude textured dress that was adorned in sequins and intricate beading. … She layered the outfit over a white long sleeved shirt featuring a frilly collar. [And] added a pop of colour to the ensemble with a pair of eye-catching red knee-high heeled boots.”

And much to the delight of the photographers present, at one point during the photocall, she tenderly fixed her co-star’s collar for him.

The sequel to Tony Scott’s classic 1986 blockbuster has been unanimously praised in early reviews with one even declaring that it “improves upon the original in every conceivable way.” Cruise, who is famous for doing his own stunts, is said to have trained to withstand g-force power and actually flew in real fighter jets for the sequel, reports ‘Daily Mail’.

In the words of Peter Hoskin, writing for the ‘Daily Mail’, “Whenever the film threatens to become too cosy, it shocks itself – and us – back into the present with another madly ambitious action sequence.” The film releases in India on May 27.

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