Brad Bird’s first live action film is a success. The Pixar director who was behind The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, and Warner’s The Iron Giant, brought his storytelling and action style to the big screen with the latest in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in what may be the best entry in the series to date. Joining him again is Simon Pegg as his techi Benji, also recruited this time around to join him on his mission is Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner.
I was happily surprised to see Michael Nyqvist in the credits as well, I loved his performance in the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and it’s sequels, and this time he’s the baddie. A Nuclear Endgame Theorist who is pushing the world to nuclear armageddon, unless Hunt and his team can stop him.
Bird keeps the action and the story moving, eschewing anything that doesn’t move the story forward, and the film still clocks in at just over two hours which flies along.
He is also the first director, in my opinion, that has made the best use of the IMAX cameras in a commercial film, yes The Dark Knight had some really good bits, and the giant shots of Gotham were cool, but Bird made sure that when he used theses cameras they were used to augment the story……
The best example of this is the stunning and dizzying Dubai sequence featuring the Burj Khalifa tower (Armani Hotel Dubai), and Ethan’s free climb up it’s exterior. Wow.
While we’re talking about the free climb sequence we should touch on the fact that no matter what you think of Cruise’s personal beliefs, and enough has been said about it, the man likes to do as much of his own stunt work and action scenes as he can, and rumor has it, he did the climb himself sans stunt double.
The IMAX cameras are used to show the heights and grandeur not only of Dubai, but of Russia and India, and each time it’s not done as a gimmick, but to simply enhance the experience of the film.
The script, by Alias veterans Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec makes sure that each of the characters gets there moments, and beats. They truly are a team. This is not the Ethan Hunt/Tom Cruise show, much like in M:I3 this is an actual team working towards a goal, a story point that actually gets touched on.
I liked the callbacks to the previous films, especially the same blonde guy from the first film showing up with another mask to put over Ethan’s head. I won’t mention others because they also fall into the realm of spoilers, but they made me smile.
And then… there was Josh Holloway Lost’s Sawyer in the opening sequence as well as the charming Léa Seydoux (Inglorious Basterds) who’s English speaking career is taking off, having worked with Tarantino and Woody Allen already.
There are little nods to Pixar as you would expect from someone long associated with them, the infamous A113 gets a mention.
J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk both return to act as producers on the film, and it seems that while J.J. is at Paramount, he can’t really do any wrong. – M:I3, Super 8, Star Trek. I do like his batting average.
Of course where Abrams goes, Michael Giacchino follows, and the composer turns out another fantastic score, reprising Lalo Schifrin’s memorable theme at key moments of the film.
There’s a suggestion towards the end of the film that Cruise is passing on the reins to someone else. I’m ok with a Mission:Impossible movie without Ethan Hunt, but I certainly hope that Abrams and co. remain involved.
While a movie like this may have gotten lost in the summer months, this type of film doesn’t have a lot of competition at this time of year, so it should do fairly well.
You’re mission should you choose to accept it…
As a side note, the 6 minute preview from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises preceded the film, and… I’m a little divided. I hope the soundtrack is tweaked before release because a good portion of the time I couldn’t understand what Tom Hardy’s Bane was saying. The aerial cinematography (all shot in IMAX) on the other hand was fantastic!!
I guess we’ll know more when summer rolls around.
But for now, accept the mission, and light the fuse!