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Mission: Impossible 25th Anniversary Limited Edition (Blu-ray + Digital)
Regardless of one's personal feelings of Tom Cruise, there can be little doubt that when it comes to the Mission Impossible series of films, Cruise tries to put as much adrenaline-charged action into each installment as possible, and is willing to do whatever possible to one-up the previous film in terms of jaw-dropping, "Why the hell would anyone do that?" stunt sequences. So with the first film celebrating its 25th anniversary and a seventh(!) about to plop, I guess it is natural that we take a look to see who doesn't have this on Blu-ray, right?
The long-awaited adaptation of the film based on the television show of the '60s and '70s was written by David Koepp (Angels & Demons) and Robert Towne (Without Limits), with Brian De Palma (Scarface) directing. Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, leader of a team of intelligence agents for the fictitious (or is it???) Impossible Missions Force, a group working under the U.S. Covert Intelligence umbrella. Ethan works for Jim Phelps (Jon Voight, National Treasure: Book of Secrets), the closest thing to a bureaucratic liaison and team leader he has. On an assignment in Prague, the team members save Ethan are murdered in an ambush, and the IMF Director not only tells Ethan that the mission was a mole hunt for a double agent, but he fingers Ethan as the mole. Ethan undertakes efforts to prove his innocence and find the real mole, the least of which includes disavowed agents Luther (Ving Rhames, Piranha) and Krieger (Jean Reno, Couples Retreat) to assistant him and Jim's wife Claire (Emmanuelle Beart) to break into the CIA to acquire a highly classified piece of information.
The story gets you involved with Ethan's quest almost immediately, and with the members of his team there is not only a solid degree of believability, but you are surprised that such familiar faces are offed within the first half hour (or so) of the film. Cruise does a solid job of carrying the story along through its twists, turns and swerves, while De Palma slowly brings the story to a tension-filled climax on a high-speed train. Despite the dated nature of the technology (remember when talking about computers with 686 processors was awesome and geeky? Just me? OK), of the three films this remains the best of them, relying more on performances than the other films do. With the complementary casting of Voight, Henry Czerny (as the IMF Director) and a surprise appearance from Vanessa Redgrave (Julia) as one of the antagonists, the focus of the first film makes it still worth viewing after 25 years.The Blu-ray:
The film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen which was remastered, presumably for the 2018 4K disc. Not having seen this in a minute (and not having the past release anymore for comparisons), I was impressed at how things turned out. Imagine detail was abundant in the hotel sequences and in facial detail, colors were natural and black levels deep and presenting an excellent contrast when viewing.The Sound:
This recent release bumps the soundtrack up to a lossless one (TrueHD 5.1), which gives the soundtrack and action sequences a chance to stand out, even though some of the age in things like the train sequence does show up. Dialogue is consistent and without concern and environmental noise/channel panning is also present and effective also. It would have been nice to have this before, but it's nice to have it now.Extras:
It looks like what was on the 2007 release comes over here. "Mission: Remarkable" is a ten-minute piece covering the decades-long franchise, and several smaller featurettes on the stunts in the film and on spies in general. Two other featurettes ("Excellence in Film: Cruise" and "Generation: Cruise") are retrospectives and appreciations of Cruise's work, along with ‘agent dossiers' and some promotional material like stills galleries, two trailers and nine TV spots. There's also a digital copy of the film and an IMF Collectible Car Decal, in what can only be described as a niche tangible extra.Final Thoughts:
Well, if you wanted the lossless audio, you get it here. But you can also get the disc, AND the 4K disc, AND the digital copy. Do you really want a sticker you'll never put anywhere? Of course not. So if you're going to buy a definitive copy of the Mission Impossible movie, get that one, unless you don't see yourself moving to 4K in your home theater, in which case this is an easy pick.