06 May 2009

DVD: "Mission: Impossible III" 2-Disc Collector's Edition

Mission: Impossible III
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Based on the Television Series Created by Bruce Geller
Written by Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci & J.J. Abrams
Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q and Lawrence Fishburne
DVD Release Date: 30 October 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Intense Sequences of Frenetic Violence and Menace, Disturbing Images and Some Sensuality)
List Price: $39.99
Cinescopes Personality Type: Chosen Adventurer

The Film
Ethan Hunt's (Cruise) pending nuptials to Julia (Monaghan) are interrupted when one of his trainees (Russell) is captured by weapons dealer Owen Davian (Hoffman).  She has learned of a conspiracy between Davian and the top levels of IMF.  Davian is in dire need of getting hold of something called the "rabbit's foot," and extorts Hunt into retrieving it for him...by kidnapping and threatening Julia.

The DVD
Prepare to worship at the altar of Tom Cruise!  Every bonus feature on these two discs except one focuses on the producer/actor of M:i:III, from how his athleticism lets him do most of his own stunts to how much mutual respect and trust there is between he and the rest of the cast and crew.  Each of the two discs also contains a montage of Cruise's filmography; disc one's "Excellence in Film" was shown for his winning the Kubrick Award for Excellence, while disc two's "Generation: Cruise" was shown at the MTV Awards.  Cruise recorded the feature commentary track with director Abrams, who rarely completes a thought because Cruise keeps interrupting him while he's still introducing an idea.

The Recommendation
Paramount abandoned their working relationship with his production company after M:i:III failed to deliver the box office they'd hoped it would.  (Mission: Impossible III came out right around the time the rest of the world decided that Cruise had lost his mind; he was calling Matt Lauer "glib," jumping on Oprah's couch, picking fights with Brooke Shields over motherhood.)  Still, blaming Cruise's off-set antics for the disappointment isn't entirely fair.  Too many of the action sequences are rehashes of scenes we've seen before, from the rescue of the captured villian on a bridge (Licence to Kill) to the hero unsuccessfully calling his doctor wife while driving frantically to the hospital where she works (Patriot Games) .  It doesn't help that those two sequences are back-to-back, in the middle of the film.  Just as a story is supposed to have its audience's rapt attention is not the time for the audience to reflect, "I've seen this" and "I've seen this, too."  I snagged my 2-disc Collector's Edition for $3.00 at Walmart several months ago and at that price I definitely got my money's worth.  Only absolutely dedicated fans will consider the $39.99 list price anywhere approaching reasonable, though.

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