Mission: Impossible III: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (Blu-ray) (2006)
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-J. J. Abrams (Director) & Tom Cruise (Actor/Producer)
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of The Mission HD
Featurette-Inside the IMF
Featurette-Mission Action: Inside the Action Unit HD
Featurette-Visualising the Mission HD
Featurette-Mission: Metamorphosis HD
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scoring the Mission HD
Featurette-Moviefone Unscripted: Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams
Featurette-Launching the Mission
Deleted Scenes-(5) HD
Featurette-Excellence in Film (9:14)
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||J.J. Abrams|
Paramount Home Entertainment
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
German Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital Plus 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After an ordinary second instalment, the Mission: Impossible franchise redeemed itself in a big way with number three. With Director J.J. Abrams at the helm, M:i:III managed to combine superb action and great story telling with believable character motivations and genuine human drama, making it the best of the three by far.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has settled into domestic bliss with his new fiancé, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), complete with a house in the suburbs. Although Julia is completely unaware of Ethan's occupation, he is still active within the IMF, now focusing his skills on training new recruits rather than field work. The happy couple's engagement party is interrupted by a phone call, summoning Ethan to a secret meeting where he is asked to resume active duty in order to save one of his pupils. Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), an ace student of Ethan's, has disappeared, presumed captured by those she was surveilling. Unable to let the assignment pass, he assembles a team and heads to her last known location.
Along with his old colleague, Luther (Ving Rhames, Pulp Fiction), and young IMF graduates Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Zhen (Maggie Q, Naked Weapon), Ethan saves Lindsey from the compound of one Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote), a known terrorist supporter and all-round bad guy who has been on the IMF wanted list for some time. Lindsey provides intelligence that shows Davian is planning to sell an unknown piece of hi-tech equipment, dubbed the Rabbit's Foot, at a function in the Vatican. Furthermore, the intelligence suggests corruption may exist within the higher levels of the IMF. The team successfully foils Davian's Vatican jaunt, and he is royally p*****. During interrogation, through gritted teeth he swears to exact cruel revenge on Ethan via those he holds dearest, providing he can get free. The corrupt upper echelons of the IMF see to that, and Ethan's new fiancé vanishes into thin air. Davian wants his hi-tech gadget back, or it's Julia's life.
Abrams has done a superb job of blending action and suspense. I realise Cruise has said he wishes to use a different director for each film, but just quietly, I really hope Abrams comes back for another. The cast is equally excellent here, with Philip Seymour Hoffman joining Tom Cruise on screen for the first time since their brilliant pairing in Magnolia. Laurence Fishburne (Matrix Revolutions) and Billy Crudup double as Hunt's clashing IMF superiors, while Michelle Monaghan puts in a great performance as Hunt's loving, yet tormented fiancé.
M:i:3 tops the previous instalments in every imaginable category. From the beautiful locations (Berlin, Rome, Shanghai) to the imaginative direction and scriptwriting, this is a must for action fans and movie-lovers alike. Do yourself a favour, and check it out.
This is a superb transfer that displays the strengths inherent in the format. If you're looking for a disc that will wow your friends, this is it!
The film has been transferred in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, at 1080p resolution. The left and right sides of the image are tight to the 16x9 frame.
From the film's opening titles it is amazing how sharp and finely detailed the image is. The sheer clarity and depth in the image is exemplified in many shots, but I noted two that made particularly good examples. The long, interior corridor shot at 26:38 shows beautiful depth and texture, with superbly realistic tones in the woodwork. At 59:00 the stubble on Philip Seymour Hoffman's face shows more fine detail and warm skin textures. Shadow detail is excellent, as is shown in the dark tunnels and hallways around 43:40. Despite the dark surroundings, the complex brickwork is completely visible and finely detailed. I noted a distant set of stairs at 46:58 that appear a little edgy as the camera pans past, but this likely due to the limited resolution of my display rather than the transfer itself.
Colours are vivid and lifelike throughout the transfer, without any bleeding or unsightly rendering issues to be seen. Skin tones appear to be very realistic.
The MPEG2 codec has been applied to compress the video stream. I couldn't recognise any compression issues in the slightest, which is what I've come to expect from transfers of this calibre. After viewing the film many times, in both high definition formats, I began to notice a few tiny film artefacts here and there. These appeared as very small positive and negative specs that are not likely to trouble the average viewer. Similarly, there is a very mild degree of film grain visible in certain scenes more than others, but not to an obtrusive extent.
An English subtitle stream may be selected on the fly, or via the setup menu. There is also an English subtitle stream for the commentary.
Both discs are BD-25 format, which is single-layered.
There are four soundtracks available, all of which are presented in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. These include the film's original English, as well as dubs in French and German. The fourth option is an audio commentary. The default soundtrack is determined by the viewer's choice in the setup menu that loads upon insertion of the disc. The language selection is not memorised by the player for future use.
As far as active soundtracks go, it doesn't get much better than this. Effects are crisp and very clear and gunshots ring out with beautiful depth, while the score is bright and full of intensity. The mix uses the full range of each channel, without making concessions for small 'satellite' surround setups. I'm certain the audio mix will still sound fantastic on such equipment, however, to get the best of this experience I recommend you use equally matched front and rear speakers.
The dialogue is always distinct and never obscured by effects or score. Despite the often frenetic pace of the action, I never found the spoken word hard to follow. The ADR looping is seamless and virtually unrecognisable. Audio sync is perfect at all times.
The surround channels are utilised for all manner of effects, from overhead passing vehicles at 21:25, to breaking glass and falling debris in many scenes. Voices shift from front to rear in keeping with their placement according to the viewer. The mix is clear, solid and never disorienting in the slightest.
The orchestral score by Michael Giacchino is first rate. The music flows delicately when need be, but adds bombastic weight in the right scenes. The light, engaging piano melodies are a particular standout for me.
Your subwoofer will earn its money with this soundtrack, my friends. Explosions, gunfire and mechanical sounds are delivered beautifully by the LFE channel, particularly the passing helicopter at 16:10. All this makes for fantastic listening, but I can't help feeling that a lossless equivalent would have yielded even better response.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is a superb package, filled with quality extras that reveal some exciting potentials of this format. High definition features are marked with a red HD. Most of these are available with optional English, French or German subtitles.
This is a fairly conventional audio commentary, edited from the enhanced video commentary session that can be found on the HD DVD edition. The guys get along very well and cover most aspects of the production, including locations that were used, anecdotes from filming and changes that were made in post production. As far as commentaries go, this is informative, entertaining and very worthwhile.
This Making Of follows the principal photography in chronological order, covering obstacles that were faced by the crew and stunts that were undertaken. We begin in Italy for a great deal of ornate location shots, then transfer to soundstages in L.A. where a lot of the interior sets were built. Industrial Light and Magic contributed many special effects shots, that are also covered extensively. We then travel to Shanghai, China for more location work. Although some of the information is also covered in the commentary, this is still very worthwhile viewing.
This basically introduces the main cast, describes the characters they play and includes a lot of back slapping. This piece appears to have been made for television and is presented in a standard definition, 1.33:1 frame.
Stunt Supervisor Vic Armstrong, Tom Cruise, Director J.J. Abrams and the action unit discuss their initial reaction to the script and the work that was involved to bring the many action sequences to the screen.
Takes a specific glimpse at the pre-viz process and the import role it plays in pre-production. Cruise, Wagner and Abrams explain how the pre-viz tools actually save them a great deal of money in planning the day-to-day production.
The prop department reveal the development of their superb mask-making machine, a highlight of the film designed by futuristic artist Syd Mead.
We see composer Michael Giacchino and his orchestra in the studio, working on the 87 minutes of music they contributed to the film.
Cruise and Abrams fire questions at one another, but spend a lot of time laughing rather than talking. Humorous at times, but not the most valuable inclusion.
Follows an always-smiling Cruise as he premieres the film in five major capital cities across the world; New York, Rome, Paris, London and Tokyo. It's comforting to see Tom doesn't shy away from couch-jumping jokes.
There are five bonus scenes, most of which are also shown in the enhanced commentary. These can be played individually or via a play all function and, although they're presented in HD, they have been sourced from a time-coded work print that has limited resolution.
We have four different trailers, all revealing slightly different angles of the film.
There are six promo spots, all similar in tone to the above trailers.
Over a hundred stills, promo shots and photos taken throughout the production.
A series of clips from Cruise's career, shown at the BAFTAs in 2005 where Cruise was awarded the Kubrick Award for excellence in film. There are clips from a lot of his films, forming a good reminder of how many classics he has actually been involved in.
Actress Michelle Monaghan takes us around the tiny, ancient fishing village where the film's finale is staged. Highlight Theatrical Trailers/ Play All and press the down arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
Abrams takes a joy flight. Highlight Deleted Scenes/ Ethan Fight and press the up arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
Shows some of the on-set Halloween antics. Highlight TV Spots/ Madness and press the right arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
Actor Dermot Mulroney explains how he came to perform cello with the orchestra on the film's score. Highlight Mission: Metamorphosis and press the left arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
Shows Cruise and Fishburne rehearsing some lines. Highlight Movifone Unscripted and press the right arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
Shows some nuns and priests hanging around the set in Rome. Highlight Launching the Mission/ Rome and press the right arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
While filming in Rome, J.J. Abrams' TV series, Lost, was nominated for a swag of Emmys back home. A crew member announces the news to all and sundry. Highlight Settings on the final page of extras and press the up arrow on your remote to highlight the Classified Data logo, then press enter.
The Paramount HD DVD and Blu-ray editions of M:i:III differ slightly in their special features, and are identical across all countries. There are no region coding restrictions on HD DVD discs at the time of writing. The Blu-ray disc is coded Region B, for Australia and Europe.
In comparing the main feature discs, the HD DVD disc is dual layered HD-30 format, while the Blu-ray is single layered (BD-25). This allows an additional 5Gb disc space to the HD DVD version. The HD DVD utilises this extra space for an enhanced video commentary that is not included on the Blu-ray disc. The enhanced feature is of great value and contains many small branched featurettes that add an extra 33 minutes to the feature. These featurettes differ from the bonus material on disc two.
The Blu-ray format has an additional 3 Easter Eggs that don't seem to be included on disc two of the HD DVD version. They are relatively lightweight and aren't missed much.
The menu systems and navigation are identical on both formats. The packaging only differs slightly in graphic presentation, however the box materials, "foil enhancement" and hard Amarays are the same (besides the colour tinting, of course). The graphic art on the rear of the slick is slightly rearranged between formats, but has the same content. The Blu-ray discs have sharp corners on their art, whereas the HD DVDs have smooth, rounded edges.
The audio properties of each format are identical. There was a slight difference in overall output level between Blu-ray and HD DVD on my equipment, but I would put this down to bitstream decoding algorithms inherent in the players rather than the actual disc coding.
The Blu-ray video transfer has been encoded using MPEG2 compression, while the HD DVD uses the more recent VC-1 codec. Despite an overall greater disc capacity in the HD DVD, as well as a more efficient video codec, it is difficult to separate the transfers of the two formats. At a stretch, I would say that the HD DVD seems slightly sharper, a little more defined than the Blu-ray. Mind you, the difference is so minor it isn't liable to be an issue to the average viewer, and would more than likely come down to personal taste. Some people prefer a slightly smoother image and may lean towards the Blu-ray based on this attribute. For me personally, a lesser capacity disc combined with an inferior, less efficient video compression codec makes the decision very easy. Make mine HD DVD!
The video transfer is outstanding.
The audio transfer is excellent, but a lossless alternative would have been ideal.
The extras are worthwhile and great value.
|DVD||Panasonic DMP BD-10, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|