Monday, December 12, 2005

M-I 3

CHUD, those rascals, (sorry, Veronica Mars made me say it) has the Mission Impossible 3 trailer up. I'll occassionally bust Abrams' balls for dissing his own writing staff, but there's an interesting element visible here -- TV-trained directors, I'm finding, have a better sense of violence/scale/effect. There's something about that shot near the end, where Cruise is blown off his feet and crunches into the car next to him, that makes me anticipate that sequence far more than the BIG SUPERCOLLIDING GC VEHICLES of, say, The Island's big central chase. Something about impact and inertia vs. human bodies really sells action -- one of the reasons Jackie's real-life escapades are so fascinating, I think.

The Island, by the way, has a very spiffy script, which really shows in that first half hour. I personally found that section of the movie -- and the visual constriction it forced -- genuinely interesting and entertaining. It's out for rent this week, and I'd say pick it up.


BenDavid said...

I really dug The Island. I also feel it plays really well and if they'd found an effective way to sell the film it would have been a massive hit. It's seemingly complex but easy enough for anyone to understand it. It's interesting how mystery campaigns no longer work anymore. It's very rare that a film can be sold on striking imagery alone. Michael "I'll scream as much as I fucking want" Bay is still a rock star in my book.

Bill Cunningham said...


How could you be so fooled? This is an action movie. This isn't Mission: Impossible. This movie appears (I'm qualifying it here, but I don't think I'm stretching) to require less brainpower than anything I've seen yet.

Mission: Impossible required the plot to play chess with the audience - to outthink/outmanuever them with the clues they've laid out. Planning, preparation, equipment -- clues to the real story. And just as the story is going along and you think at any moment they are all going to get caught - they do! And then you learn that was the plan all along!!!!!

It's a "how they gonna pull it off?" sort of show.

MI is always a thriller and a mystery and a big, fat twist of the knife to the bad guy and his ego. You never knew what the characters were thinking - they led you down one alley, then they turned it all around and you found out you were somewhere else.

I don't deny these scenes have impact. That's the most important part of an action scene - the human element. For that they get kudos.

But MI is more than action. It's smart, a challenge to the audience to figure out. just loud and flashy.

Joshua said...

I didn't see The Island because of its truly terrible trailer, which appeared to give away all three acts of the movie, everything except the last three minutes - we already know they're clones and have to wait thirty minutes before they find out?

Bad marketing . . .

BenDavid said...

Well, the problem is the mystery trailers weren't doing anything for them. If they continued along that path they would have had an even smaller opening weekend. It's hard to find a fine line between giving nothing away ("What is The Matrix?") and a typical Paramount trailer (The Italian Job, Four Brothers).

Stephen Gallagher said...

Bill's right, the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies hijack the name of a winning format but they don't even attempt the cool, uninflected ingenuity that was the show's Unique Selling Point -- they're Tom Cruise's attempt to put himself at the centre of a Bond-style action franchise so it's all big bangs and motorbikes and a race to foil the villain. Take out all the A-listers and you've got a Jean-Claude van Damme movie.

Casting my mind back to the very first ALIAS, which I seem to recall that Abrams directed as well as wrote, there was a fight scene in an underground car park that ended with the Bad Guy's head being kicked back into the side-window of an SUV, breaking the glass... had the same effect on me as the one you describe.

I also recall being impressed by the after-the-funeral scene for Sidney's fiance in the same show... again, I felt I was seeing a very familiar screen situation refreshed by a touch of human truth.

Rogers said...

Well, no, I'm not fooled. I know what MI is supposed to be. But seeing as the movies aren't that, I long ago decided to just dig them as directing showcases.

We'll see, too, if this is the first one fo the movies to not have the plot be "one of our own is rogue".

RKBentley said...

It's also up at Yahoo now.

Bill Cunningham said...

John, my apologies for the 'fool' comment. I should know better by now.

It's this flu medicine, I tell you...

NealMac said...

I have to say that i thought that the MI trailer started so well. As soon as that theme tune music kicks in i got bloody excited. For me there is no better theme tune. Nothing as recognisable. To the point where not so many years ago i had it as a ring tone on my mobile. The trailer was spoiled, i think, by the macho handshake at the end with Ving Rhames. Cruise looked so uncomfortable doing it. His cool chic is surely being tested!?

BenDavid said...

That was a killer trailer. Between Giacchino, Kilmer, Crudup, Pegg, Monaghan (soon to be the biggest actress in America), Hoffman, and many others there's no way this won't at least be a really fun time at the movies. But if it's not, I'll quote History of Violence. "How do you fuck that up?"

NealMac said...

On a slightly different topic, I was browsing the CHUD website and found an article that Radiohead are to score A Scanner Darkly (a book that i'm reading currently). I'm really looking forward to this. My Dad is a big Philip K. Dick fan and this is his dream come true. An accurate portrayal of a K. Dick book. Yey!

1031 said...

I really enjoyed The Island, too. It had some really interesting ideas scattered in-between the pointless car chases and big explosions.

I can't help thinking how much better a film it could have been had it been directed by, say, the guy who made Gattaca, rather than Michael Bay.

coltrane said...

The spiffy script for The Island bears an uncanny resemblance to one for a not so spiffy 70's movie called The Clonus Horror, so uncanny the writer/director sued Dreamworks over it --,3604,1546669,00.html

Simon Underwood said...

Personally, I loved The Island, but I've always been a sucker for Bay. (none, literally, none of my friends understand how my two favourite directors can be Bay and Paul Thomas Anderson - they seem to think if you love one you must hate the other.)
Everyone was ready to smash into the film way before it came out, so I don't think it ever would have gotten a fair chance, but there's no way the trailers helped. Interesting what Joshua said about giving away the clones part in the trailer and then having to wait 30 minutes into the movie...I had the same problem with The Sixth Sense - I know the kid sees dead people, why must I wait 90 minutes for him to say it out loud. The Sixth Sense trailer also missold majorly (I was working in a cinema so I must have seen it 40 times or so) "What if some of them don't want help?" Um, in the film, they all did. Damn you Touchstone, where was the evilness you promised, where?!?

Still, it's off the to M:I3 trailer for me. Anything with Greg Grunberg is always worth a watch...

The Gambino Crime Family said...

Well, whatever the movie is about, it's clearly alerting the world to the danger posed by dumpy-looking fat guys. Whew. Thank God.

Besides, WTF...? No Thandie Newton?

RogerRmjet said...

I also liked the Cruise getting thrown into the car bit. I've already forgotten most of the trailer, but that little touch sold it for me. Ironically, I had just read the following addition to Roger Ebert's Little Movie Glossary:

Explosion? Oh, that explosion
To show he is grizzled or cynical, a character will walk toward the camera as an explosion happens in the background. He doesn't flinch while everyone in the background runs and screams. Examples: Robert Duvall in "Apocalypse Now"; Jake Gyllenhaal in "Jarhead"; George Clooney in "Syriana."

The M:I 3 trailer was a great example of playing against a cliche. I expected cruise to not flinch, so when he was thrown into the car, that was doubly cool.

af said...

Out of curiosity, when has Abrams badmouthed his writers? I've never heard this.

Rogers said...

failry famous quote in an interview when he was returning to Alias.

"The show's creator J.J. Abrams was working on the pilot for ABC's desert island drama "Lost" when he looked at some of last season's episodes and was stunned.

"It was a physical pain to see where the show was and where I felt it needed to be and I was so hopeful that we would get picked up so we could do the corrections that so desperately needed to be made," Abrams says."

It goes on from there. Google will spit it out for you.

Hey. Those are YOUR GUYS in there, on the front line. Not cool. But, maybe we just disagree on staff management techniques. Or, say, freakin' loyalty.

af said...

Well I feel like he hasn't accomplished what he set out to in getting the show back to where it was.

Maybe his shows would stay on track better if he wasn't running around doing 5 other shows and a movie at the same time. I like his work but that's not cool at all to diss his writers. Especially when he should be taking responsibility.

Bill Cunningham said...

Well you know, a lot of that could be cured by giving the staff an idea of where he would have liked the story to end up for the season - a little direction? An overall story arc?

You can't turn the horse loose in the field, and expect him to be right where you left him.

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