Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to disregard the fourth Mission:Impossible movie for the duration of this post...
The Friday Hideaway Film Fest has always been more about the music than the movie and today's feature is no exception.  Both the first and second Mission:Impossible films had accompanying song soundtrack albums as well as score soundtrack albums while the third and fourth films just had score soundtracks albums released.  But before we get to the music, let's take a look around at the films.

As a fan of the television series, HERC was little skeptical going into the first Mission:Impossible film.  The fact that the stars of the show all turned down cameo roles in the movie and badmouthed the film's handling of the franchise and the characters they had brought to life.  The rights were owned by Paramount who had tried unsuccessfully for decades to get a film project off the ground.  A fan of the television show himself, Tom Cruise made a deal with Paramount and his own fledgling  production company to make a film for $80 million with Cruise trading in his usual $20 million paycheck for a percentage of the backend.  Despite director, composer and script issues, the film came in under deadline and under budget, an almost unheard of event in major studio moviedom.  It became the first film to open on over 3,000 screens when it debuted on Memorial Day Weekend 1996 and 212 days later closed out its theatrical run with a gross of $180,000,000 at the U.S. box office (or $334 million in 2013 dollars, good enough for second place this year behind Iron Man 3.)  For the year 1996, M:I ended up #3 behind Independence Day (#1) and Twister (#2). HERC's fears were confirmed as the film took itself way too seriously with an overly complicated script and a weak supporting cast surrounding Cruise.

Production on M:I2 was delayed due to Crusie's involvement with Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut which involved extensive re-shoots.  Both Dougray Scott, who was originally slotted to play Wolverine, and Thandie Newton missed out on other roles as the delay wore on.  Director John Woo and star/producer Cruise clashed repeatedly during filming yet finished the project on good terms.  The script is entirely credited to Robert Towne, who had contributed to the first film's script as well.  Towne reported that Woo approached him with half a dozen action sequences he wanted to film and asked Towne to build the script around them. Woo's final cut was three and half hours long; Paramount insisted on a two hour version and that's what premiered in theaters on Memorial Day Weekend 2000.  After the film's 149 days in the cineplexes, where it opened on over 3,600 screens, the take was $215 million ($326 million in 2013 dollars.)  Originally given an R rating, the edits were good enough to earn a PG-13.  Despite the obvious harness work on the cliffs, the motorcycles and the hokey masks, HERC loves this movie.  Much of  his motion picture affection is towards our Miss Newton, the film's "Naya" who would be Tom's sexiest co-star until he shared screen time with Mrs. Robin Thicke b/k/a Paula Patton in 2011.

Once again, Cruise's involvement with another project (War Of The Worlds) delayed an M:I production as M:I3 was originally scheduled for a 2004 release.  The delays caused the usual merry-go-round of crew and cast departures:
  • director: David Fincher > Joe Carnahan > J.J. Abrams (who caused a further twelve month delay with his commitments to both Alias and Lost)
  • villian: Kenneth Branagh > Phillip Seymour Hoffman
  • women: Carrie Moss, Kelly Brook and Scarlet Johansson >> Michelle Monaghan, Keri Russell and Maggie Q
  • bonus tech guy: Ricky Gervais > Simon Pegg
Rachel McAdams turned down the role of Cruise/Ethan's wife which went to Monaghan while Thandie Newton refused an offer to reprise her role as "Nyah" from the previous installment.  Laurence Fishburne, Billy Cruddup and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, along with Ving Rhames returning for the third time as "Luther Stickle" round out the strongest cast yet for an M:I film.  After revising the budget, including a pay cut for Cruise, production began and less than a year later, the film opened on over 4,000 screens a few weeks before Memorial Day and finished its run 70 days later with a haul of $135 million, the lowest total yet of the three films.  HERC, being a fan of Abrams work on aforementioned shows Alias and Lost as well as his film Joy Ride, liked the M:I3 a lot.  The intimate, hand-held camera work was jarring at times but overall the film's editing, writing and action sequences were top-notch.  If you watch closely, you'll spot psych's "Carlton" in a scene.

Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, U2's rhythm section, teamed up to record an updated version of the venerable "Theme from Mission:Impossible" which, in addition to being released as a single, also kicked off and closed the official soundtrack album featuring Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture Mission:Impossible.

Despite only featuring five songs heard in the movie, the 15 track album isn't the incoherent mess it could have been.  There is definitely a somewhat generic, down-tempo, chill-out vibe running through all the tracks with the exception of the three Danny Elfman cues from the score.   The album won't rock any parties but it might sound nice as atmosphere or background music.

Another reason HERC likes M:I2 so much is the soundtrack, both Hans Zimmer's alternately flamenco and hard rock cues as well as the aggressive rockers by Limp Bizkit and Metallica that open and close the movie respectively.  It was an unreleased demo version of Metallica's "I Disappear", brought to the band's attention in 2000, that was the basis of the lawsuit they filed against Napster, leading to the music service's eventual downfall.

The soundtrack album features four songs heard in the movie among the 16 tracks, including a cover of the Pink Floyd classic "Have A Cigar" by Foo Fighters with Queen's Brian May on guitar.  Whereas the first movie's soundtrack album was somewhat calming and soothing, this one is all aggro guitar, wailing vocals and ready-made moshpit anthems, the perfect musical accompaniment after a hard day.

After scoring big hits with his first two albums and numerous writing and production credits, Kanye West tackled a movie theme.  In particular, it was for M:I3 and featured samples from New Birth's 1971 song "It's Impossible".  Although a soundtrack album wasn't relased for M:I3 (other than Michael Giacchino's score), there are several songs heard in the film, especially in the film's opening party scenes.

HERC did us a solid and combed the Spotify catalog from top to bottom, pulling the playlist below together from the music discussed above.

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