I had a marathon yesterday. I watched MI:2, 3, 4, and started 5.
I still can’t quite believe how bad MI: 2 is. I remembered hating it when I watched it in the theater, but I’d forgotten why it was so horrible during the intervening years. The music is so sappy, and there’s tons of typical John Woo scenes with characters staring at each other in slow motion, sudden zooms onto the protagonist and antagonist’s faces, all accompanied by really cheesy Hans Zimmer music. I honestly can’t even believe that music this bad was done by Hans Zimmer. But on the other hand, it really, really fits the cheesy action on the screen. So in a way, the music is actually kind of brilliant.
MI: III, in comparison, is a masterpiece. The opening of that movie, and the stakes it sets out, is such a brilliant piece of movie making. It sticks in the audience’s heads, and so then later when you’re watching what would have been a really boring engagement ceremony between Ethan Hunt and his girlfriend becomes filled with a kind of menace as you remember Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s chilling words from the opening.
One thing I’d forgotten about is in the middle of the movie when Ethan puts on a Phillip Seymour Hoffman mask. I had a great laugh at those scenes this time. I love the visual of Phillip Seymour Hoffman climbing wooden beams and ledges like a lithe, fit Tom Cruise. I wonder if they really had Hoffman do that or if they digitally inserted his face later.
MI: IV was just about as good as I remember it. It lacked a certain energy that a good villain brings like in the previous movie. But it was still a really well done movie by Brad Bird that still feels like the style of the previous movie. I’d forgotten about Benji (Simon Pegg’s character) being just a desk techie in movie 3, but being out on the field with Ethan in movie 4. The scene where they setup a projector that displays the end of the hall the way a guard would see it, that scene is so good. I love that Benji is shown to be really competent in the field during that scene, despite still being the comic relief character.
The Dubai scenes are, of course, very memorable. But I also really appreciated the last action sequence (Mumbai) in that fancy rotating automatic car valet building. Ethan’s solution at the end actually had me clapping.