MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, 1996
Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, leader of a crack squad of intelligence operatives, in this labyrinthine action-thriller based on the hit 1960s-'70s television series. When a dangerous mission in Prague goes inexplicably wrong, Hunt finds himself out in the cold. A mole has infiltrated the CIA, and suspicions are that it's Hunt. His only chance: Find out who the real mole is and turn the tables. The plan takes him on an incredibly suspenseful infiltration of CIA security, leading to a spectacular tunnel climax that would make Hitchcock proud.
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If you’ve ever seen the original television show, this is an updated version of it all. Better yet, be advised, this film does break characters and if you *have* seen the show, they’re actually going to use that knowledge against you. What I love about this movie is that it uses characters from the old show (kind of ) while taking some new characters and twisting them all together in a well constructed spy plot that delivers on action.
The Story: Someone was paying attention when they wrote this movie. I mean it. It’s well thought out and structured. Everything is justifiable and while it stretches the realm of realism, everything is still believable. The real magic, however, is the intricate plot that is created with a single goal in mind and great character arcs that twist and turn as it goes on. There are more than just fight scenes and explosions, there are very tense moments of…get this…espionage. In a spy movie! Who knew? And on top of that there’s moments of great comedy that draw the viewer in and make them apart of everything. It really is a solid spy story that deserves more props. Just to create the problems that the team has to over come is a scary writer trap that is brilliantly overcome. I loved every minute of it.
Directing: Brian DePalma. The dude is just like Tom Cruise. Hit or miss for me. And this movie, once again – home run. The level of detail in this film from the script, to the acting, to the design – all of it. The success goes on his shoulders, just as the pins could fall in the other direction. The film works in it’s genre and as a stand alone spy thriller. There is an intricate weave of emotions throughout the film and no scenes are boring. Great success.
Cinematography: There’s one thing I love about this film – it’s the cinematography. It captures every moment in great fashion and conveys emotion effectively. Best of all, it’s classic 90’s style film making and showcases the greatest aspects of it. Hell, they use dutch angles multiple times in the film and they pull it off. Eh…forget pulling it off…..they use it PERFECTLY.
Production Design: Well done. It has that 90’s grain to it, but it still works within the film to create a world. It doesn’t draw attention upon itself, it only adds to the story and the experience. Exactly what it’s supposed to do. Notice I’m using the word “exactly” and perfectly a lot here?
Score: Danny Elfman did the score. Have I rocked your mind? Because he does a great job of keeping the original theme, implementing it and expanding and updating it. That’s a lot of work and also a run-on sentence. But it happens. He even makes you wait for the main theme to be used within the movie. Sure it’s in the opening credits, but it doesn’t occur in the movie until the “Yes!” moment that I’m always harping about.
Special Effects: Practical 90’s effects. Just about everything is done in camera with models or real practical effects. That’s what I love and another reason why I love this film.
In closing: This is a formidable entry into the spy genre. One that should be studied by those looking to create their own. While they do source a television show here, they still create an original story, with original characters and pull it all off. I highly recommend this film that still holds up to this very day.