With all that’s been going on with Tom Cruise as of late, I found myself doubting the integrity of this picture. I was fearful that the happenings of Cruise’s personal life would somehow bring down this movie; the previous two films did set the bar pretty high. So how did the third installment add up, did it fall short of expectations, or did it deliver beyond what I expected?
MI:III doesn’t hesitate a minute to bring us suspense, the picture begins with Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) having Et…an Hunt and a woman (whom appears to mean a lot to him) captive. He means business; she is going to die unless Ethan can come up with something called the rabbit’s foot. The scene closes, and we roll back to the previous week when nothing is amiss.
A newly engaged Ethan Hunt has retired from being IMF team leader. It appears he is settling down and enjoying his engagement party, but not for too long. He receives a phone call from an IMF contact, setting up a meet at a nearby Seven-Eleven. At first Ethan turns down the mission, but upon viewing a disposable camera with hidden video he discovers that an ex-partner, Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell) has been captured by Davian and is being held in Berlin. Reluctantly he accepts the mission to get her back. Ethan tells his fiancé that he has to leave on business, and the action begins.
An impressive firefight ensues, with well-choreographed action. All seems to have gone well and Agent Farris is being extracted when it is discovered that there is a self-destructing charge in her brain. An attempt to save her is botched, and the mission is failed. Apart from the death of the primary target, little information was recovered about Davian.
At Agent Farris’ funeral Ethan receives a call from a mail forwarding service letting him know that Lindsay has sent him a postcard from Berlin. At first glance, the postcard is just a postcard, but upon further investigation under the stamp there is a microdot containing a secret video from Lindsey Farris. At this point it is decided that the IMF will not be involved any further in this investigation, Ethan and his team decide to pursue Davian themselves.
From this point on there are constant advancements in the story line, matched with some great action scenes. From the moment I put the disc in, to the moment I took it out I wasn’t left bored once. Usually in an action movie I don’t expect great acting but Tom Cruise and Philip Seymour Hoffman were very impressive, especially the ladder. At first I couldn’t picture Hoffman as a bad guy, but by the end of the picture I was more than convinced. He played a calm, witty sociopath. Almost as impressive was Cruise, I didn’t know what to expect, the same guy from Oprah’s couch or the guy I knew and loved from the past. In the end classic Cruise showed up and played a great action role, with a compassionate side.
There were two great scenes that stand out in my mind above the rest, Shanghai and Rome. The action was intense and some really interesting tactics were used. In the end this movie was far greater than the first two installments.
Whether you have even seen the first two movies or not, this one is a must have. The movie provides great dialogue mixed with great action and a constantly advancing plot line. I was left very satisfied in the end, and I will definitely be watching this one again soon.
Presented in 1080p 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Mission: Impossible III truly looks gorgeous. A definite reference disc, rivaling Batman Begins as the best looking HD DVD to date. As mentioned before the Rome and Shanghai scenes were very impressive, especially visually. In Rome, every brick on every building was visually stunning; I could see all the cracks and crumbles. In Shanghai, the cities skyline was draw dropping in the dark night, with the glowing lights showcasing freakishly real colors. The reflections on buildings were superb, and the neon lights of the city jumped off the screen.
Explosions are crisp and clean, and couldn’t look any better. At times I found myself distracted from the movie investigating the detail in every scene, simply amazing. The depth and detail of every scene can only be simply put as brilliant.
My only complaint was that in some scenes there was a bit of grain, but I believe that this was the directors intention to add grittiness to certain scenes. This being such a minor problem, it doesn’t take away from the video in the slightest.
If you’re looking for a disc to reference, this is the one. It is on par with Batman Begins visually, and boasts some impressive explosions that fooled me into thinking my living room was going up in flames. If no other movie to date has convinced you of HD DVD’s power then I suggest you pick yourself up a copy immediately.
I was disappointed to find out that the disc lacked TrueHD, but nonetheless was very pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus track. Every gunshot and explosion sounded crystal clear, I was sure that I was running along side Ethan Hunt at times. Myself living in an apartment, I can assure you my neighbors weren’t impressed with the solid bass my woofer was letting out for the two-hour duration. I on the other hand couldn’t stop smiling.
The rotating blades of helicopters, the piercing bangs of gunshots, and the shrill sound of explosions rang through my ears. This disc made impressive use of the rear channels, and is one of the best sounding HD DVDs I have heard. It is unfortunate that Paramount didn’t add a HD track to this, as this movie screams to be played with a TrueHD track.
I was pleased to see a PIP commentary was included to watch along side the movie. It was an enjoyable experience and I found what Tom Cruise had to say about the picture truly interesting. Paramount also decided to encode a fair share of the features are presented in 1080p, which is an experience in itself that I really enjoyed. In addition a supplemental disc full of features is included, a first for HD DVD. For a fan of the movie, most if not all of the featurettes are worth checking out as they provide some pretty insightful information into the making of the movie, and beyond. Below I have included a few of my favorite features, for a complete list refer to the very end of the review.
- The Making of the Mission: Takes us in-depth of the filming of MI:III including interviews with the actors and production staff. Its about 30 minutes long, and provides a very good look at what goes into making a high budget movie, definitely worth checking out.
- Inside the IMF: An inside look at the IMF team, interesting if you want to know more about the hierarchy of the agency, and its players.
- Mission Action: A look at the key action scenes shows how they were filmed and what went into them.
- Visualizing the Mission: The previsions made regarding the key actions scenes and the pre-production of them.
- Mission metamorphosis: One thing I was impressed with and wanted to know more about while watching this movie was the mask-making machine. This feature answered all my questions regarding how it works, and its creation.
- Scoring the Mission: The music behind the movie.
- Moviefone Unscripted: Tom Cruise and director J.J Abrams sit down in an unscripted session taking questions and having a conversation amongst each other.
- Launching the Mission: Takes us to the premiers of the film in New York, Rome, Paris, London, and Japan. It was interesting just to see how nuts the people went over Tom Cruise.
- Deleted Scenes: 5 Deleted scenes, all worth checking out.
- Excellence in Film: An award Tom Cruise received in Britain, commemorating his excellence in film.
- Lastly, we get Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots & Photo Gallery.
Pure immersion, this is what I felt throughout the entirety of the picture. It was a great action movie with perfect video, and near perfect audio. Personally, I think Batman Begins was a better movie but I like this HD DVD presentation slightly better. It is a must buy for fans of the series, and any HD DVD owner looking to boast a quality reference disc. I didn’t know what to expect when I put this disc in, but at the end of it all, I am nothing but impressed.
Special Features List
- PIP commentary
- The Making of the Mission
- Inside the IMF
- Mission Action
- Visualizing the Mission
- Mission metamorphosis
- Scoring the Mission
- Moviefone Unscripted
- Launching the Mission
- Deleted Scenes
- Excellence in Film
- Photo Gallery