Friday, May 05, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #30

Mission: Impossible III

starring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Laurence Fishburn, Philip Seymour Hoffman

directed by J. J. Abrams (first movie ever!)

Has it really been two months? Have I really not revisited this feature since V for Vendetta? Is it really possible to get something the size of a human fist inside a human colon?

I'm a afraid the answer to all the questions above is "yes". I've done the research, so I know they're true. Well, on the first two anyway. The third one I haven't actually tried, but this is the internets. Anything you want to find, you can find, even if you're not looking for it. How else would I know that a dolphin can ejaculate up to 14 feet? I wasn't LOOKING for that information. Some things you just happen to click on. And other things people bring up in instant message conversations. I'm not going to mention any names, but suffice it to say the Bucket now has an official Animal Sexual Practices correspondent. And no, it isn't me.

But we're getting distracted already. Why would I have mentioned the human colon in the first place? Because this is the Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing series, which means I only know what is presented to me on the most superficial of levels about the film I'm reviewing. Keeping that in mind, the main thing I know about this movie? Colons.

Not in the "official" title, but in the unofficial advertising three-letter title they can put on trucker hats and lunch-boxes? There are TWO colons. They write it M:I:3. Now that's just weird. Normally if you want to see two colons, you have to pay extra for the Siamese twins at the "massage parlor". And I mean a LOT extra. I don't know if you know a lot about Siamese twins, but they're generally very protective of their colons.

Past the superficiality of the advertising logo, let's look at the superficiality of the casting decisions, knowing nothing really about their characters or their roles or even if they get as little screen time as Anthony Hopkins did in the last Mission: Impossible movie.

It's not a bad line-up at all. Tom Cruise! Ving Rhames! Laurence Fishburn! Academy Award Winner P.S. Hoffman! Keri Russell!

Hang on, Keri Russell? I know she's not playing the love interest because the one review I read said that part went to somebody called Michelle Monaghan (assuming such a person exists). So what is Keri Russell doing in this movie?

This is the J.J. Abrams problem with this film already. I mean, I know they have history and everything, but you don't cast Felicity as a spy, especially when he also created Alias. Everyone knows that every female role that slants toward action IN ANY DEGREE in the last five years and for the next ten automatically go to Jennifer Garner. Automatically. And I don't even watch Alias, I just know that's how it's supposed to be.

Sure, from his extensive and impressive TV resumé, Mr. Abrams has a wide stable of actors with whom he's familiar to choose from. And he went with Keri Russell? I already question his decision-making ability.

Originally, before J.J. came on board, the role was meant to go to Scarlett Johansson, who then (allegedly) refused to swallow the Scientology mind-wipe pill that later went to Katie Holmes and subsequently was dropped from the project. Whether or not Keri Russell is now a practicing Scientologist is something I simply do not know. But dammit, I can speculate.

In a general sense, however, I am relieved that the director's decision-making ability is rarely a factor in films like this. In these types of things, the producers (in this case, I would imagine, we're talking mainly about Mr. Cruise) decide on the stunt set-pieces and then the script is fashioned to incorporate all of those.

From what I've read, the main plot-points involve an intergalactic tyrant who brings his alien slaves to earth, ties them to volcanoes and then kills them all with hydrogen bombs; the invisible souls of the dead slaves then escape and attach themselves to living modern people, making them sad. Cruise's team's impossible mission is "clear" people of these interfering spirits before it's too late and people start taking Xanax. Tom was very hands-on, from what I understand, in the development process.

Plot details aside, the question for me in films in the genre are: 1) how big are the explosions and 2) is there any nudity?

Hydrogen bombs and volcanoes? Them are some explosions. Assuming they got left in the final cut, I say: score! As for nudity, I think this thing is PG-13, so probably a big fat no. Demerits, Mr. Cruise. I know you find female nudity icky, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to suffer.

Of course for a Mission: Impossible film, we all know why people go to see it: they want to watch ugly people pull their faces off only to reveal underneath that all along they were (gasp!) Tom Cruise!

I think in Mission: Impossible II this was done approximately 184 times. And gosh, it never got old. Maybe the appeal is that it makes a cool twisty plot device. Maybe it's that with CGI, the effect of ripping of a face is so artfully done. Maybe it plays into the fantasy that underneath all of our ugly, regular faces on top of our lumpy, average-and-above height bodies, we all wish we were Tom Cruise underneath. Then we could act like a complete tool in public, but it would be OK because we would have hundreds of millions of dollars.

That's what's in it for me.

That's why I give this film:

Two (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

I wonder whose face is really under those Shue heads... Ah well, best not to ask. It's probably just John Voight.



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