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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FILM SERIES

Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, produced by and starring Tom Cruise. Based on the television series of the same name, the plot follows Ethan Hunt (Cruise) who is framed for the murder of his fellow IMF agents during a Prague Embassy mission gone wrong and wrongly accused of selling government secrets to a mysterious international criminal known only as "Max". The film was the third-highest-grossing of the year and received positive reviews from film critics.

Work on the script had begun early with filmmaker Sydney Pollack on board, before De Palma, Steven Zaillian, David Koepp, and Robert Towne were brought in. Mission: Impossible went into pre-production without a shooting script. De Palma came up with some action sequences, but Koepp and Towne were dissatisfied with the story that led up to those events.

Some fans of the TV series were upset that Jim Phelps, team leader in the series, became a traitor in the movie (played by Jon Voight), selling the details of government agents to an arms dealer. Actors Greg Morris, Martin Landau and Peter Graves also voiced their objections to the plot. Graves even turned down an offer to portray Jim Phelps in the film due to the fact the Phelps character was going to be revealed as being a rouge IMF agent. Actor Greg Morris, who portrayed Barney Collier in the television version, was reportedly so disgusted with the film's treatment of the Phelps character, and he walked out of the theater before the film ended. Martin Landau, who portrayed Rollin Hand in the original series, expressed his own disgust concerning the film, "It was basically an action-adventure movie and not Mission. Mission was a mind game. The ideal mission was getting in and getting out without anyone ever knowing we were there."

The original television Mission: Impossible theme music is in a rarely used 5/4 (5 beats to a measure) time and is difficult to dance to, as was proven by a memorable segment of American Bandstand in which teenage dancers were caught off-guard by Dick Clark's playing of the Lalo Schifrin single release. The opening theme music for the first three films are stylized renditions of Lalo Schifrin's original iconic theme, preserving the 5/4 rhythm, by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Michael Giacchino respectively by the films' chronology. Most of the versions included in the score also retained the 5/4 time signature.

U2 band members Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton produced an electronic dance version of the original theme song. The song went into top ten of music charts around the world and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

Paramount Pictures owned the rights to the television series and had tried for years to make a film version but had failed to come up with a viable treatment. Tom Cruise had been a fan of the show since he was young and thought that it would be a good idea for a film. The actor chose Mission: Impossible to be the first project of his new production company and convinced Paramount to put up a $70 million budget. Cruise and his producing partner, Paula Wagner, worked on a story with filmmaker Sydney Pollack for a few months when the actor hired Brian De Palma to direct. They went through two screenplay drafts that no one liked. De Palma brought in screenwriters Steve Zaillian, David Koepp, and finally Robert Towne. According to the director, the goal of the script was to "constantly surprise the audience." Reportedly, Koepp was paid $1 million to rewrite an original script by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. According to one project source, there were problems with dialogue and story development. However, the basic plot remained intact.

The film went into pre-production without a script that the filmmakers wanted to use. De Palma designed the action sequences but neither Koepp nor Towne were satisfied with the story that would make these sequences take place. Towne ended up helping organize a beginning, middle and end to hang story details on while De Palma and Koepp worked on the plot. De Palma convinced Cruise to set the first act of the film in Prague, a city rarely seen in Hollywood films at the time. Reportedly, studio executives wanted to keep the film's budget in the $40–50 million range, but Cruise wanted a "big, showy action piece" that took the budget up to the $62 million range.

The scene that takes place in a glass-walled restaurant with a big lobster tank in the middle and three huge fish tanks overhead was Cruise's idea. There were 16 tons in all of the tanks and there was a concern that when they detonated, a lot of glass would fly around.

De Palma tried the sequence with a stuntman, but it did not look convincing and he asked Cruise to do it, despite the possibility that the actor could have drowned.

The script that Cruise approved called for a final showdown to take place on top of a moving train. The actor wanted to use the famously fast French train the TGV but rail authorities did not want any part of the stunt performed on their trains. When that was no longer a problem, the track was not available. De Palma visited railroads on two continents trying to get permission. Cruise took the train owners out to dinner and the next day they were allowed to use it. For the actual sequence, the actor wanted wind that was so powerful that it could knock him off the train. Cruise had difficulty finding the right machine that would create the wind velocity that would look visually accurate before remembering a simulator he used while training as a skydiver. The only machine of its kind in Europe was located and acquired. Cruise had it produce winds up to 140 miles per hour so it would distort his face. Exterior shots of the train were filmed on the Glasgow South Western Line, between New Cumnock, Dumfries and Annan. Most of the sequence, however, was filmed on a stage against a blue screen for later digitizing by the visual effects team at Industrial Light & Magic.

The filmmakers delivered the film on time and under budget with Cruise doing most of his own stunts. Initially, there was a sophisticated opening sequence that introduced a love triangle between Phelps, his wife and Ethan Hunt that was removed because it took the test audience "out of the genre", according to De Palma. There were rumors that the Cruise and De Palma did not get along and they were fueled by the director excusing himself at the last moment from scheduled media interviews before the film's theatrical release.

Apple Computer had a $15 million promotion linked to the film that included a game, print ads and television spot featuring scenes from the TV show turned into the feature film; dealer and in-theater promos; and a placement of Apple personal computers in the film. This was an attempt on Apple's part to improve their image after posting a $740 million loss in its fiscal second quarter.

As mentioned, some fans of the TV series (including us) were upset that Jim Phelps was the villian of the film. Add to the fact that the movie is not so much a MIF team mission than an action movie starring Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible seems only like Mission: Impossible in name only and is nothing like the beloved TV Series. So how could they have fixed it? If only they had asked us.

Outside of making it more a IMF team adventure the obvious thing would be to not make Jim Phelps the badguy. Our fix would be to give the Jon Voight character another name. He can still be an IMF agent gone bad and as Ethan Hunt attempts to uncover who is and who isn't a traitor some retired IMF agents are drafted to help behind the scenes. Insert cameos of the actors from the original series here. The badguys are foiled by Hunt with the help of original cast and Mr. Phelps who would be there on the train at the end to confront and arrest Max (Vanessa Redgrave). Just to spice things up we could hint at a possible past relationship between the Phelps and Max characters.

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission: Impossible II is a 2000 American action spy film directed by John Woo and starring Tom Cruise, who also served as the film's producer. It is the sequel to Brian De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible and has Cruise reprising his role as agent Ethan Hunt of the IMF, a top-secret espionage and clandestine operation agency. The movie has strong thematic similarities with Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 spy thriller Notorious.

In the film, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), while vacationing, is alerted by the IMF that someone has used his identity to assist Russian bio-chemical expert Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) of Biocyte Pharmaceuticals to enter the United States, but purposely crashed the commercial airliner en route. Nekhorvich, an old friend of Ethan, had forewarned the IMF of his arrival, planning to deliver a new virus called Chimera and its cure, Bellerophon, both of which he was forced to develop by Biocyte, into the IMF's hands. With the crash of the plane, IMF is worried that the virus is out in the open, believing that rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) is behind the incident. IMF assigns Ethan to recover it. Ethan is told that he can use two members of his team to help him, but the third person to help him must be Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), a professional thief presently operating in Seville, Spain as she will be able to get close to Ambrose, being an ex-girlfriend of his. As with the first film this one features a "rogue IMF agent". It would seem the movie version of the IMF has some sort of continuing problems with disgruntled employees.

The studio expressed concern over the safety of filming Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)'s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing in Moab, Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park. Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. He tore his shoulder when performing Hunt's jump from one part of the cliff to another.

The film was a financial success, totaling $546,388,105 worldwide in ticket sales, the best performance of 2000. Mission: Impossible II received generally mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said that "if the first movie was entertaining as sound, fury, and movement, this one is more evolved, more confident, more sure-footed in the way it marries minimal character development to seamless action." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly felt the film was a "throwaway pleasure" but also "a triumph of souped-up action." Ella Taylor of LA Weekly said that "every car chase, every plane crash, every potential drop off a cliff is a masterpiece of grace and surprise." J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called the film "a vaguely absurd thriller filled with elaborately superfluous setups and shamelessly stale James Bond riffs."

Some fans considered Mission: Imposible II was the darkest and weakest installment in the series, even though its predecessor received controversy over the fact Jim Phelps from the television series was revealed to be a traitor. While applauding Tom Cruise's performance and the fast-paced action scenes, many criticized the plot, dialogue, little resemblance to its source material (a common complaint of the M:I films) and lack of substance. It was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards at the 2000 ceremony, including Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Supporting Actress for Thandie Newton.

How can that be, it's Thandie Newton? We have an unwritten rule around here at the Neat Stuff Hall of Fame AV Club, if it has Thandie Newton in it... it's good. We also have the same unwritten rule about Lucy Liu.

A comedy short titled Mission: Improbable was shown during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. It is a mockumentary of the behind-the-scenes stunts of Mission: Impossible II, and stars Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller and John Woo.

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible III (marketed as M:i:III, M:I-3, or Mission: Impossible 3) is a 2006 American action spy film co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, his first film as a director, starring Tom Cruise, who also served as a producer, in the role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The film was first released on April 26th, 2006, at the Tribeca Film Festival, and widely released in the United States on May 5rd, 2006. The film was a box office success, and it received mostly positive critical reviews. The film is the third installment of the Mission: Impossible film series.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from active field work for the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) and instead trains new recruits while settling down with his fiancée Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan, below), a nurse at a local hospital who is unaware of Ethan's past. Ethan is approached by fellow IMF agent John Musgrave (Billy Crudup) about a mission for him: rescue one of Ethan's protégés, Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), who was captured while investigating arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Musgrave has already prepared a team for Ethan, consisting of Declan Gormley (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Zhen Lei (Maggie Q), and his old partner Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), in Berlin, Germany.

In 2002, director David Fincher was slated to direct the next installment of the Mission: Impossible film series for a summer of 2004 release date. Fincher, however, dropped out in favor of another film, later citing creative differences over the direction of the series. Replacing Fincher was director Joe Carnahan, who worked on developing the film for 15 months. Under his involvement, the film was to feature "Kenneth Branagh playing a guy who's based on Timothy McVeigh," as well as Carrie-Anne Moss and Scarlett Johansson in other roles. Thandie Newton was offered to reprise her role as Nyah Nordoff-Hall from Mission Impossible II; she declined, however.

After a dispute over the film's tone, Carnahan quit in July 2004. Tom Cruise then called J.J. Abrams, offering the directorial role for the film after having binge-watched the first two seasons of Alias. Abrams ultimately signed on, with production delayed a year due to his contractual obligations with Alias and Lost. During this time, Branagh, Moss, and Johansson departed from the project because of the many delays in production. On June 8th, 2005, Paramount Pictures gave the film the green-light after a new cast of actors was hired and the film's budget was redeveloped, with Cruise taking a major pay cut.

Principal photography began in Rome, Italy on July 18th, 2005 and ended in October. Location filming took place in China (Shanghai and Xitang), Germany (Berlin), Italy (Rome and Caserta), the United States (California and Virginia), and Vatican City. The night scenes involving the skyscrapers were filmed in Shanghai, while some of the Shanghai filming was also done in Los Angeles.

The film's musical score was composed by Michael Giacchino. He is the third composer to take on the series, following Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. The score album was released on May 9th, 2006 by Varèse Sarabande Records. Unlike the previous installments, no soundtrack album featuring the film's contemporary music was released.

Opening in 4,054 theaters all across the United States, the fourth largest opening ever up to that point, the film topped the box-office in its opening weekend making $47.7 million. A solid opening yet almost $10 million lower than the franchise's previous installment. The movie remained in the Top 10 at the box office for the remainder of its first six weeks of release and ended its initial domestic run on July 20th, 2006, taking in a total of $134 million. It was the second movie in 2006 to pass the $100,000,000 mark in the box office, following Ice Age: The Meltdown and received mostly positive reviews from critics.

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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a 2011 American action spy film. It is the fourth film in the Mission: Impossible series, and director Brad Bird's first live-action film. It stars Tom Cruise, who reprises his role of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt, with Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton as his supporting team. Ghost Protocol was written by André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, and produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams (the third film's director) and Bryan Burk. It saw the return of the first film's editor, Paul Hirsch, and is also the first Mission: Impossible film to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras. The film was released in North America by Paramount Pictures on December 16th, 2011.

Upon release, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol became a critical and commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Mission: Impossible film, and the highest-grossing film starring Tom Cruise.

The film was originally announced with a working name of Mission: Impossible 4 and codenamed "Aries" during early production. By August 2010, title considerations did not include the Mission: Impossible 4 name, and thought was given to omitting the specific term "Mission: Impossible", which Variety compared to Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel film The Dark Knight.

The film was partially shot with IMAX cameras, which made up approximately 30 minutes of the film's run time. Bird insisted that certain scenes of the film be shot in IMAX, as opposed to 3D, as he felt that the IMAX format offered the viewer more immersion due to its brighter, higher quality image, which is projected on a larger screen, without the need for specialised glasses.

Bird also believed that the IMAX format would bring back "a level of showmanship" to the presentation of Hollywood films, which he believes the industry has lost due to its emphasis on screening films in multiplexes as opposed to grand theaters, and vetoing "first runs" in favor of wider initial releases.

Principal photography took place from October 2010 to March 2011 in Mumbai, Prague, Moscow, Vancouver, Bangalore and Dubai. Tom Cruise performed a sequence where Ethan Hunt scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower, which is the world's tallest building, without the use of a stunt double. Although Cruise appears to be free solo climbing in the film with the help of special gloves, in reality, he was securely attached to the Burj Khalifa at all times by multiple cables. Industrial Light & Magic digitally erased the cables in post-production. Following Cruise's example, Patton and Seydoux also chose to forgo the use of stunt doubles for their fight scene at the Burj Khalifa where Carter exacts her revenge upon Moreau for Hanaway's death.

Many of the film's interior scenes were shot at Vancouver's Canadian Motion Picture Park, including a key transition scene in a specially equipped IMF train car and the fight between Hunt and Hendricks in a Mumbai automated multi-level parking garage (which was constructed over a six-month period just for the film). The film's climax scene was shot with Indian film actor Anil Kapoor in the Sun Network office in Bangalore. Also, the film's opening Moscow prison escape scenes were shot on location in a real former prison near Prague. The film also features a BMW i8 concept car.

Bird, having directed several Disney and Pixar films and short films, incorporated the trademark "A113" into the movie on two separate occasions. The first is the design print on Agent Hanaway's ring during the flashback sequence, and the second being when Hunt calls in for support and uses the drop callsign, Alpha 1-1-3.

Ghost Protocol is the highest-grossing film worldwide in the Mission: Impossible series, and the 5th highest-grossing film of 2011. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying the film "is a terrific thriller with action sequences that function as a kind of action poetry". Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger wrote, "The eye-candy—from high-tech gadgets to gorgeous people, has only been ratcheted up. And so has the excitement." He also gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars. Giving the film 3 out of 4 stars, Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said, "In its way, the movie has old-Hollywood elegance. The scope and sets are vast, tall, and cavernous, but Bird scales down for spatial intimacy." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly opined that the movie "brims with scenes that are exciting and amazing at the same time; they're brought off with such casual aplomb that they're funny, too. ... Ghost Protocol is fast and explosive, but it's also a supremely clever sleight-of-hand thriller. Brad Bird, the animation wizard, ... showing an animator's miraculously precise use of visual space, has a playful, screw-tightening ingenuity all his own." Roger Moore of The Charlotte Observer said, "Brad Bird passes his audition for a career as a live-action director. And Ghost Protocol more than makes its bones as an argument for why Tom Cruise should continue in this role as long as his knees, and his nerves, hold up." He gave the film 3 out of 4 stars.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is an American action spy thriller written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It is the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible series and stars Tom Cruise, who reprises his role as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt. It is produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams, and David Ellison of Skydance Productions.

Filming began on August 21st, 2014, in Vienna, Austria, and concluded on March 12th, 2015, and released in North America by Paramount Pictures on July 31st, 2015.

The Impossible Mission Force, led by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), infiltrates an airport in Minsk, Belarus to stop delivery of chemical weapons. When tech expert Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) is unable to stop the plane from taking off, Hunt leaps onto the plane and hangs on as it takes off. Ethan manages to infiltrate the plane and escape with the cargo.

Some time later, the IMF is denounced by the CIA chief Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) who wants to disband the force for its reckless behaviour, blaming the IMF for the attack on the Kremlin one year earlier. Despite William Brandt's (Jeremy Renner) protests, all IMF operations are shut down and Ethan, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Brandt and Benji square off against the Syndicate, a multinational group of ex-operatives.

Mission: Impossible – FALLOUT (2018)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a 2018 American action spy film written, produced and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It is the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, and the second film to be directed by McQuarrie following the 2015 film Rogue Nation. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin, all of whom reprise their roles from previous films, along with Henry Cavill, Vanessa Kirby and Angela Bassett, who join the franchise. In the film, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team must track down missing plutonium stolen to carry out a plot to permanently poison the main water supplies of three countries, while being monitored by a CIA agent (Cavill) after a mission goes awry.

Talks for a sixth Mission: Impossible film began prior to the release of Rogue Nation in 2015. The film was officially announced in November 2015, with McQuarrie confirming his return as writer and director, as well as producer alongside J. J. Abrams and Cruise, the seventh collaboration between the pair. Filming took place from April 2017 to March 2018, in Paris, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout had its world premiere in Paris on July 12th, 2018 and was released in the United States on July 27th, 2018. The film was the first in the series to be released in RealD 3D, and also had an IMAX release. It was a box office success, grossing $791 million worldwide, making it the sixth highest-grossing film of 2018, Cruise's highest-grossing film to date, and the highest-grossing film in the franchise, surpassing Ghost Protocol. It received critical acclaim for its screenplay, direction, cinematography, action sequences, stunts, musical score and the cast's performances. Many critics called it the best installment in the franchise.

Filming was slated to start in Paris on April 10th, 2017. Other locations include the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Norway. Some of the filming also took place in New Zealand in July 2017. The municipality of Forsand in Norway allowed the closing of Preikestolen for a time in autumn for the film's shoot; only crew members and cast were allowed to approach the mountain for nine consecutive days. They also were allowed up to 50 helicopter landings per day. The scenes set in Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir were shot in New Zealand. Director Christopher McQuarrie said that he wanted the climax of the film to be set in a more "politically complex" location than New Zealand, so he chose to set this sequence in Kashmir.

In August 2017, Cruise injured his right leg on the London set during filming. Following the accident, the studio announced it would halt production for at least nine weeks in order for Cruise's broken ankle and other injuries to heal, but released a statement saying that they would be keeping the July 2018 release date for the film. The injury resulted in a cost of around $80 million for the studio, because they had to pay the cast and crew for the eight-week hiatus so they would not take other jobs. However, the injury and subsequent costs were offset by insurance, and did not count against the film's final budget. Filming resumed in early October 2017, with Cruise spotted on the set seven weeks after his initial injury, and two weeks earlier than initially planned.

Reshoots for Cavill's Justice League coincided with the schedule for Fallout, for which he had grown a mustache which he was contracted to keep while filming. While McQuarrie initially gave the producers of Justice League permission to have Cavill shave the mustache in exchange for the $3 million it would cost to shut down production on Fallout and then digitally fill the mustache in, executives from Paramount rejected the idea. Justice League's VFX team was then forced to use special effects to digitally remove the mustache in post-production.

On January 25th, 2018, the title was revealed to be Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Filming concluded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 25th, 2018. Production in the UAE included filming of a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jump scene with Cruise. The scene required Cruise and the crew to train on a ground-based vertical wind tunnel, and then use a C-17 military aircraft to make over one hundred jumps from around 25,000 feet (7,600 m) to end up with three takes that McQuarrie wanted for the film. As the scene was to be set near sunset, they could only make one jump a day to try to get each shot. One of the biggest challenges for the visual effects team was replacing the Abu Dhabi desert with Paris, which is where the jump takes place in the film. Artists re-created the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées using reference imagery, Lidar scans and photogrammetry from drone footage that was taken above the building.

The musical score for Mission: Impossible – Fallout was composed by Lorne Balfe, replacing the previous composer Joe Kraemer.

The score has been praised by many critics, calling it an epic and inspiring score, with some powerful themes which are balanced with softer more sentimental themes; some also considered it being too "Nolan-esque", comparing it to scores by Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Rises).

What was the eponymous name that M:I creators jokingly gave to the fake Eastern European language used on the show?

Missionese
Impossiblese
Gellerese
Desiese

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"Mission: Impossible", the Mission: Impossible logo and images copyright © Paramount Pictures Corp

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