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The Mission: Impossible movies bother me for reasons that seem to be different from the reasons they both other people.

I loved, loved, loved the old TV show. I was very excited when they made the first movie. And I liked it okay. The scene shot in silence where Ethan Hunt breaks into Langley is a great scene, and is truly the only time the whole movie franchise has done anything like the old show. And it's why I keep watching the damn things, holding out hope, even if they just keep disappointing me.

But really it has become the name of the Tom Cruise action film franchise rather than having any connection to the TV show, other than its instantly recognizable theme and stealing the name "Impossible Mission Force (IMF)". For #2, they brought in John Woo, who can be awesome, and made the worst movie of the franchise, long, boring, terrible characters and story, only to watched for two decent action sequences.

So now we get #4, which to be original is not named "Mission: Impossible 4," but rather "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol":

Again, J.J. Abrams produced. This time, Brad Bird, known for Pixar films "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille," directs. I may be alone in this, but I'm not a fan of Mr. Abrams. I couldn't get into "Alias," though all the elements seemed to be there. Abrams himself directed the third installment of M:I, and, while better than #2, it seemed really generic and hollow, not terribly original or terribly interested in the original M:I property. I feel this way about most of what I see in Mr. Abrams' work. It seems to understand the necessary elements without providing the soul.

This is not Tom Cruise bashing. I couldn't care less. He's been fine in these films as he is in many. I don't think he's given much to work with. As executive producer of these movies (every Hollywood star wants his/her own action franchise), he makes a lot of money for these films, but I'd like to think they could do more. I guess if you're making money, you don't care so much.

Perhaps I wouldn't care so much if they didn't say "Mission: Impossible." In fact, I know I wouldn't. I could just accept them as big, dumb, summer popcorn action films and be perfectly content with their mediocrity (well, except for #2). (Much as I do with any Michael Bay film.*)

I don't hold out high hopes for "Ghost Protocol," but I know I'll see it (probably on DVD). And then I'll wash away the memory by putting on the DVD of the first season of the TV show.


*- footnote - Speaking of Bay, Salon had an awesome review of the new Transformers movie yesterday. The review is brilliant in its backhanded complements and praise, calling it "glorious, evil, and stupid," and "a cinematic monument to excess." (Well, it's the third movie based on an 80's cartoon about giant robots. Excess is probably an understatement.) You can read it here.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
I've actually only seen the first M:I, but I do know this: The last sequence in the trailer is actually Tom Cruise and was filmed with basically no safety. He jumped off a rope swinging from a helicopter into a window (or something like that). So... he's insane.

I'm also really interested in seeing Brad Bird return to live-action. Although he really was only behind the camera here, its definitely much more a JJ Abrams production with two of his right hand men behind the script and that scares me.
Jul. 5th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
I know Tom Cruise likes doing as many stunts as he can for these films; he is crazy that way.

What live action has Bird done? I'm not familiar, and I'm not finding anything on IMDB.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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