Saturday, May 06, 2006

M:I:III

by Nick
(no spoilers)

Went to see this yesterday.

Theater was pretty full (was a bit after nine), despite a barely existent advertising campaign. Trailer that got the best response seemed to be Pirates 2, got all the the chicks in the theater buzzing. Least talk was for the Superman teaser, which got more of a 'what?'-response from the people I was watching with. Wonder what they'll think of the trailer.

Film itself was pretty decent. Guess you could say it's best of series so far, but in more of an overall sense. First film had some great sequences but got fouled by a plot that tied itself unto silliness. Plot is almost credible this time - as far as these things go - if you're willing to disregard Cruise being more indestructible than the GI Joe action figures I beat (slammed/ wrenched/ blew up/ burned/ threw) around with when I was six.

Two stand-out sequences in the film, one near the beginning and the one on the bridge glimpsed in the trailer. Both well done, got the juices flowing. Also good to see Cruise finally coming around to realizing that the charm of the old series was seeing a team executing impossible missions together.

Big delight was Philip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian. First believable über-villain since.. don't know when. Very cool. Like everyone says he deserved a couple of extra minutes.

Main problem was Cruise. Been a big fan for a long time, and disregarding media hoopla, his newfound (be it by him or us) 'joie de vivre' comes through all too much here. Don't remember the Ethan Hunt from MI:I being this intensely grinning. Would be interesting to hear others view on this.

Other cast was all right. Good to see Rhys-Meyers after Match Point, looks like he's loosened up. Also nice to see Billy Crudup as something other than his usual hippie.

Film sped by fast, was surprised when it ended. Didn't feel like the two hours it is, probably the best thing one can say about a film like this.

Good action film.

13 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

Since my girlfriend's already seen it, and I have kind of a backlog anyway, it will probably be a couple weeks before I get around to seeing this. But I'm moderately looking forward to it.

As for Cruise, I've always thought his acting came across as somewhat forced, which sounds like what you're describing. So maybe this is just another example of the rest of the world finally coming around to my point of view.

5/06/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Being an intense guy has always been his style - name one film where he played a relaxed and chilled-off dude - but it's like it's more pronounced in this film.

Maybe I'm just focusing on this aspect too much because of the media scrutiny, but if you compare him now to MI:I ten years ago, I feel there's a susceptible difference.

But I could just be imagining it.

5/06/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Wow, Nick, so there's actually a team in the movie? I didn't get this from the ads/trailer at all. That was one of my big problems with the series as a fan of the TV show (confession: I once saw Leonary Nimoy give a talk, and in the audience q&a afterwards I wanted to ask him an M:I geek question as if I didn't get Star Trek at all, but I didn't have the nerve. And no one asked him anything about M:I.) Talk like that just might get me to go see it. At a matinee. Maybe.

5/06/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Being an intense guy has always been his style - name one film where he played a relaxed and chilled-off dude - but it's like it's more pronounced in this film.

Well, that's kinda what I mean. Usually, it doesn't seem that Tom's characters are all that intense, so much as it seems more like Tom Cruise is very intense. As if he substitutes "intense" for whatever other emotion his characters may be feeling at the time.

So, I've always found him to be a fairly one-note actor. I feel kinda the same way about Denzel but Tom far more so.

5/08/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

So, I've always found him to be a fairly one-note actor. I feel kinda the same way about Denzel but Tom far more so.

You and me have had this discussion before.

I think it boils down to some dislike on your part of the - let's call it the 'Brando' school of acting, versus the 'Olivier' school of acting. A reliance on personality instead of imitation, to get audience recognition, if you will. Different skills in action, and you appreciate one above the other.

Am I getting close?

5/09/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Wow, Nick, so there's actually a team in the movie?

The centerpiece is actually a pretty well-executed (filmically) team-operation. First one since the first movie, unless memory betrays me. Fans of the series should dig that part.

As a fan of clockwork team-heists, have you seen Rififi?

5/09/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I think what I'm really getting at is that even in the context of personality-driven Movie Star acting, I don't think Cruise is very good, for what seems like the same reason that you thought he was a problem in MI3. He just seems like he's has the Act-o-Meter turned up way too high, all the time.

5/09/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Yes, I've seen Rififi (though it's been a while) and Topkapi and The Asphalt Jungle etc. etc. I'm a real sucker for the caper heist genre, even better when it's film noir.

Hey, do the opening credits of M:I:3 reference the TV series the way the first movie's did (by showing brief clips of scenes to come)?

When is the M:I TV show coming out on DVD? I actually have a bunch of old Columbia House tapes of it, mostly the first season....

5/10/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Ah, sorry, didn't mean to imply anything. Saw it a few weeks ago and loved it. Was thinking about it while I was watching the heist in M:I:III, and so it also cropped in my thoughts here. Doesn't really compare, but if you're a sucker for the caper-heist then I definitely recommend you watch it at a matinee like you suggested earlier.

No, the intro is both new for the Mission Impossible series and kinda clichéd all the same, and the opening credits are really brief.

5/10/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/10/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

(Wrote the exact opposite of what i was trying to say)

He just seems like he's has the Act-o-Meter turned up way too high, all the time.

Considering that I haven't have a problem with him before, but now I did, you might have a big problem with this film.

Or maybe you won't notice.

5/10/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

... grammar is off today.

5/10/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

I finally saw this. Happened to be near our local second-run cinema grill when I was hungry and close to showtime, so I decided to check it out. I thought it was better than the second, but still not as good as the first.

The concept was the best yet, but the execution was poor, I thought. I thought the action scenes were some of the most poorly directed/edited I've seen in a while, besides making little sense at times, though they did have their moments. At times I didn't care what they were trying to do, and the details of the capers were often glossed over as if unimportant--but in a film like this, what is important? The beaded sweat on Cruise's nose?

What bothered me was that the filmmakers tried to be so smart at times and show us yet more cool stuff that let our heroes do their thing, but at other times they seemed to ignore all that while bordering on ridiculousness. For me the recent Bourne films have set the bar for this kind of thing, and this M:I film just doesn't rank in today's world of action/caper/spy films, IMHO.

Cruise didn't seem much different to me in this one, as I recalled Nick's comments about halfway through the movie. Maybe it was all the media hype surrounding its release that made things seem different.

I don't know if it's Cruise or the movie or the Bush administration, but I ended up feeling disappointed that our hero and his cohorts weren't wiped out leaving Hoffman's character the victor--PSH was very good in this. He seemed to take on playing a supervillain the same way he might play Kenneth Lay of Enron.

And I liked the display of actual teamwork and frequent use of the old Lalo Schifrin music.

(Recently I saw a comment I made for an off-the-page post make it to the front, while previously one did not, so we'll see how this one goes....)

7/09/2006 12:29:00 AM  

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