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Mission Impossible 5 more bondian than Bond

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#91 Emrayfo



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Posted 16 June 2015 - 08:12 AM

Really looking forward to this one. If I'm critical of anything it's almost too much like Ghost Protocol and the familiar theme of having to go off the grid (the same thing as the first one as well, come to think of it) and the Led Zeppelin music. But once the MI theme kicks in and given the pure sense of fun and the adrenaline rush, there's no reason not to be excited about this.



Agreed. Agents continually ‘going rogue’ is getting a bit tiresome, whether it’s in James Bond, Mission: Impossible or something else. That said, I too am looking forward to Rogue Nation, if just for the adrenaline/entertainment value. The plotting in the M:I series has become increasingly secondary to the action and drama as the series has progressed. But while Ghost Protocol was light-on in story I didn’t mind so much, as, apart from exciting spectacle, it also brought a good amount of charm and humour compared to its predecessors that somewhat made up for the lack of story coherence. It was a fun watch. I can forgive weak narrative in an actioner if the action and drama that replaces it is of a very high quality and provides good entertainment value and escapism (viz Fast & Furious 7). If there is also some charm then that is an even bigger plus. That’s what I got out of GP and it’s all I hope to get out of RN. (The problem with M:I2 was it was completely charmless and desultory – despite big action sequences – and as a result I didn’t care for the predicament of any of the characters).


Now, when it comes to SPECTRE, my expectations (desires?) regarding story and narrative coherence are significantly higher – I suspect to my ultimate disappointment.




The more that I think about it, the more that Rogue Nation appears to be just another riff on the same tired plot points that Mission: Impossible has been pushing since the beginning.  All it's been about is how the IMF is a corrupt and, pardon me, "rogue" organization that can't be trusted.  That's been the key theme running throughout all of this.  Surely what we'll find out, and I have no knowledge of the script, that Alec Baldwin's character is in fact the leader of the "Rogue Nation", or a higher-up within it, and is ultimately the true villain of the piece.  He almost has to be, since he's the biggest name in the film that isn't attached to Cruise's team, and he seems to be filling the same kind of role that Voight and Fishburne filled in their respective films.


That said, it's this type of trope, which is very much cut from the same cloth as the incessant trust and mommy issues of the Bond franchise, that has my enthusiasm for these and the Bond films waning considerably.  EON/Paramount, there are other stories within the spy genre to tell other than this one story you keep recycling over and over again.  Tell them, or risk losing fans who are tired of your franchises focusing solely on them for well over the past couple of decades.  My patience with this type of storyline has, quite frankly, reached its limit, and I'm no longer interested in financially supporting either franchise if they can't respect their audience enough to branch out and tell a different story.


It is disappointing that they keep dipping into the same well. I guess in many ways ‘trust’ is an obsession of our times, and represents a zeitgeist where Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon on one side and the NSA et al on the other represent general disillusionment and distrust of both government agencies and whistleblowers. While I agree there are many more stories they could be telling, for now it seems to be either that or terrorists we are going to get, or a mixture of both. Even The November Man relied on the ‘corrupt insider’ trope we’ve seen so many times before, and which isn’t a world away from the themes discussed above. But November Man was still a good flick for all that. Books and films of the Cold War era had a dependable set of key themes and plots that kept being recycled as well, but we still got a reasonable amount of good art as well as pulp out of that era. I'm hoping with fingers crossed that SPECTRE will surprise and entrance us all on that count.


I do strongly oppose the ‘Bond going solo’ narrative that we have seen various times before in the franchise, and in every one of Craig’s films to-date to various degrees. Nothing could be further from Fleming’s conception of the man and his sense of duty and discipline to my mind.




Quantum of Solace at least has a few nuggets in there that would suggest that there's an attempt to do something more serious and thoughtful with the films, but it doesn't quite go all the way there.  The scene towards the end where Bond and Camille are in the burning building and Bond has to wrestle with the idea of killing her so that she doesn't have to face the same fate of burning alive that her family had to face, is the kind of risk-taking that you'd like to see the films taking.  It's a tiny, tiny moment within that film, but still the most powerful moment of Craig's tenure.  I really wish that they had shown that much foresight when updating Fleming's Casino Royale.  Instead of the already extremely tired government agent vs. terrorism motif, there were plenty of other, more interesting directions they could have taken things.  Yet they didn't go that route, nor did they really do much to update the script to accommodate Craig, even as he was their first choice all along, considering that Bond seems to be written as younger, and much more brattish, man than Craig attempts to portray him in that film.



Yes, it always irked me somewhat in CR (and QoS) that Craig's Bond was treated as an immature tyro basically learning on the job, with bucket loads of distrust from M and Mi6 of all his actions and decisions. “I knew it was too early to promote you.” In reality he would have been a senior and seasoned government operative with a long and successful career by the time he was promoted to Double-O status, with significant runs on the board in both the military and in Mi6. I consider it likely that Bond would have been an Mi6 operative for some time before being promoted to Double-O status. As such, he would have proved his worth and mettle (not to mention judgement) on many occasions to have justified the awarding of a Double-O. To then treat him as a belligerent and disobedient child is insulting to the character and the audience not to mention the whole idea of a Double-O, and just lazy scripting IMHO. Not to say Bond isn’t a bit of a maverick, but that’s the point really, isn’t it? He’s either a roving operative with an open brief and a fair bit of discretion to follow leads when on a case/mission or he isn’t. You can’t keep treating him like the naughty detective with a vendetta in a cop show and taking away his badge and gun.


Edited by Emrayfo, 16 June 2015 - 08:15 AM.