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Old July 3 2011, 11:55 PM   #31
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Timby wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I have never seen the original M:I TV series (I did catch a bit of the late 80's sequel though)
If you've never seen the original series, and only "a bit" of the sequel series, how can you possibly have such an attachment to Jim Phelps to gripe about him being the bad guy in the movie?
I don't have to see the show to know who Jim Phelps is.
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Old July 4 2011, 01:16 AM   #32
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I don't have to see the show to know who Jim Phelps is.
The irony is, if you'd watched the whole six seasons he starred in, you'd hardly know a thing about who Jim Phelps was. There was virtually no exploration of the characters in their own identities, because it was felt that the focus should be on the roles they played in their capers. Although they did do the occasional one-time Very Special Episode that let us explore a character's past and then was never mentioned again, like the one where Phelps returned to his hometown just in time to stumble upon a series of serial killings, or the one where Barney's reporter brother was killed and the team helped Barney bring the killer to justice, or the one where a villain used a trauma in Paris's past to brainwash him into killing Phelps. (And I think the revival series explored him a bit more, but I haven't seen it in over two decades so I can't be sure.)

Looked at that way, it's not necessarily out of character that Phelps could've ended up going bad like in the movie, since we hardly knew what Phelps's character was in the first place. But that's not the point, is it? Jim Phelps may not have been a well-drawn character, but he was a cultural icon, one known even by those who didn't watch the show. So what offended people about the movie's Phelps going bad wasn't so much a matter of mischaracterization as one of a beloved icon being torn down.
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Old July 4 2011, 01:37 AM   #33
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I don't have to see the show to know who Jim Phelps is.
The irony is, if you'd watched the whole six seasons he starred in, you'd hardly know a thing about who Jim Phelps was. There was virtually no exploration of the characters in their own identities, because it was felt that the focus should be on the roles they played in their capers. Although they did do the occasional one-time Very Special Episode that let us explore a character's past and then was never mentioned again, like the one where Phelps returned to his hometown just in time to stumble upon a series of serial killings, or the one where Barney's reporter brother was killed and the team helped Barney bring the killer to justice, or the one where a villain used a trauma in Paris's past to brainwash him into killing Phelps. (And I think the revival series explored him a bit more, but I haven't seen it in over two decades so I can't be sure.)

Looked at that way, it's not necessarily out of character that Phelps could've ended up going bad like in the movie, since we hardly knew what Phelps's character was in the first place. But that's not the point, is it? Jim Phelps may not have been a well-drawn character, but he was a cultural icon, one known even by those who didn't watch the show. So what offended people about the movie's Phelps going bad wasn't so much a matter of mischaracterization as one of a beloved icon being torn down.
Jim Phelps was at the very least seen as an uncorruptable leader something you could see in the first ep. of the sequel series as had to retrain himself from attacking the assassin who killed his protege. And the movie itself made Peter Graves leave the theater in disgust.
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Old July 4 2011, 02:20 AM   #34
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

I have to disagree on Phelps EVER going rogue. That was one of the things about the MI series that pissed me off more than anything, and why I will never watch another one. Phelps was a solid good guy, and would never do that kaka.

Also, that line Cruise had: "They knew we were coming!" -- bogus. They NEVER knew the IMF was coming.
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Old July 4 2011, 02:59 AM   #35
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

AJBryant wrote: View Post
I have to disagree on Phelps EVER going rogue. That was one of the things about the MI series that pissed me off more than anything, and why I will never watch another one. Phelps was a solid good guy, and would never do that kaka.
Well, see, that's what I'm saying. He had no actual personality, by design, but his role was "staunch, dependable good guy," and that's the iconic view of him. And that's why M:I fans reacted poorly to the decision in the movie.

But you really shouldn't judge the other films based on the first one. Like I said, they're a series in name only. Yes, they all star Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames, they all borrow M:I gimmicks like the self-destructing mission briefing, but aside from that, they are three totally unconnected spy films. They're not an M:I trilogy, they're a Brian DePalma film, a John Woo film, and a J.J. Abrams film that just happen to share a title and a couple of actors. They're three wildly different and idiosyncratic interpretations of the same very loose premise, as different as their directors are from each other.

And it's possible the upcoming fourth film, Ghost Protocol, will be similarly distinct, since Brad Bird is directing it; I'm hoping it'll be like a live-action The Incredibles. On the other hand, Abrams is producing it and it's written by a couple of Alias veterans, so I expect it would have an Abrams flavor, tying it more closely to the third film (which really is the only good one of the bunch so far, though I can't imagine a Brad Bird film not being worthwhile).


Also, that line Cruise had: "They knew we were coming!" -- bogus. They NEVER knew the IMF was coming.
Occasionally they did. There was a first-season episode where a mobster who knew about Dan Briggs somehow came to him and forced him to do a job by abducting the daughter of a friend of his. There was another, much later episode in which a bad guy Phelps's team had busted the previous season came back and kidnapped Phelps to get revenge.
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Old July 4 2011, 03:05 AM   #36
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Who gives a shit? It's not like the film series ever paid more than lip service to the concept of the television show; rather, each movie took the concept in its own direction.

I like Mission: Impossible, both the original series and the '80s sequel, and I still enjoy the first and third movies. The name of a character means nothing to me.
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Old July 4 2011, 03:25 AM   #37
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Timby wrote: View Post
Who gives a shit? It's not like the film series ever paid more than lip service to the concept of the television show; rather, each movie took the concept in its own direction.
So why bother to start out the film series by making the lead character of the TV series a villain in the first place? They could have just as easily named Cruise's character "Jim Phelps" or not even had a "Jim Phelps" if the films are that divorced from the show

I like Mission: Impossible, both the original series and the '80s sequel, and I still enjoy the first and third movies. The name of a character means nothing to me.
Fine. But you really need to stop and consider that, for most people who are fans of a series, they expect the lead characters in that series to behave more or less consistently, even in a movie adaptation.
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Old July 4 2011, 03:32 AM   #38
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

the G-man wrote: View Post
So why bother to start out the film series by making the lead character of the TV series a villain in the first place? They could have just as easily named Cruise's character "Jim Phelps" or not even had a "Jim Phelps" if the films are that divorced from the show.
Well, for a director like DePalma, who thrives on misdirection and surprise twists, the answer to that question is obvious: because Phelps is the last person anyone would expect to be the bad guy, and therefore it's bound to be a shocking surprise. The problem is, that's a different set of priorities than the fans have. They're looking more for their nostalgia to be satisfied than subverted for the sake of a shock twist.
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Old July 4 2011, 04:14 AM   #39
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

DiPalma also directed the movie version of the Untouchables. I guess we should count ourselves lucky he was able to do so without making Eliot Ness the secret mastermind behind the Capone empire.

But, seriously, I don't think it's fair to accuse the fans of simply wanting their "nostalgia" satisfied. As I said before, generally characters are expected to behave consistently. There was nothing in DiPalma's version that gave us a good reason for Phelps to turn traitor other than "shock" and is shock for shock's sake really good writing?
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Old July 4 2011, 04:30 AM   #40
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

the G-man wrote: View Post
But, seriously, I don't think it's fair to accuse the fans of simply wanting their "nostalgia" satisfied.
What????? Why do you think I'm "accusing" anyone? What is it about the Internet that makes so many people so defensive that they read even the most neutral comment as some kind of attack? Where does that come from? I never once said I was criticizing or condemning the fans' reaction. On the contrary, damn it, I was defending it! I agree that it was a mistake to make Phelps the bad guy. Hell, haven't I made it clear enough by now that I didn't think DePalma's M:I was a good film?

Yes, I can understand why DePalma probably thought it was a good idea, but it's possible to understand another person's decisions and still disagree with them. That's what I'm saying: that he made a decision that he thought was a good idea because it served his priorities as a filmmaker, but he failed to consider the negative reaction it would provoke from the character's fans, and thus in the final analysis it was a poor decision, one of several that undermined the film and kept it from being a creative success.


As I said before, generally characters are expected to behave consistently. There was nothing in DiPalma's version that gave us a good reason for Phelps to turn traitor other than "shock" and is shock for shock's sake really good writing?
I never once said a single word to suggest I thought it was.
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Old July 4 2011, 04:39 AM   #41
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Jeremy Renner is actually playing Jim Phelps, Jr. and in the next movie after Ghost Protocol, his team will consist of Barney Collier, Cinnamon Carter and Willy Armitage. Problem solved!
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Old July 4 2011, 04:43 AM   #42
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

DWF wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I don't have to see the show to know who Jim Phelps is.
The irony is, if you'd watched the whole six seasons he starred in, you'd hardly know a thing about who Jim Phelps was. There was virtually no exploration of the characters in their own identities, because it was felt that the focus should be on the roles they played in their capers. Although they did do the occasional one-time Very Special Episode that let us explore a character's past and then was never mentioned again, like the one where Phelps returned to his hometown just in time to stumble upon a series of serial killings, or the one where Barney's reporter brother was killed and the team helped Barney bring the killer to justice, or the one where a villain used a trauma in Paris's past to brainwash him into killing Phelps. (And I think the revival series explored him a bit more, but I haven't seen it in over two decades so I can't be sure.)

Looked at that way, it's not necessarily out of character that Phelps could've ended up going bad like in the movie, since we hardly knew what Phelps's character was in the first place. But that's not the point, is it? Jim Phelps may not have been a well-drawn character, but he was a cultural icon, one known even by those who didn't watch the show. So what offended people about the movie's Phelps going bad wasn't so much a matter of mischaracterization as one of a beloved icon being torn down.
Jim Phelps was at the very least seen as an uncorruptable leader something you could see in the first ep. of the sequel series as had to retrain himself from attacking the assassin who killed his protege. And the movie itself made Peter Graves leave the theater in disgust.
Thought it was Greg Morris who did that (just a few days before he died) or maybe they both did.
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Old July 4 2011, 05:09 AM   #43
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

^ Martin Landau wasn't too happy about it either.
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Old July 4 2011, 11:39 AM   #44
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

DWF wrote: View Post
And the movie itself made Peter Graves leave the theater in disgust.
He should have known what was coming - he'd read the script. And thereby hangs an amusing tale that may be apocryphal but I hope is true...

More likely Morris, I'd have thought- I can't see Graves having actually gone to see it.
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Old July 4 2011, 11:41 AM   #45
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Re: Mission: Impossible (original series)...

Christopher wrote: View Post
And it's possible the upcoming fourth film, Ghost Protocol, will be similarly distinct, since Brad Bird is directing it; I'm hoping it'll be like a live-action The Incredibles. On the other hand, Abrams is producing it and it's written by a couple of Alias veterans, so I expect it would have an Abrams flavor, tying it more closely to the third film (which really is the only good one of the bunch so far, though I can't imagine a Brad Bird film not being worthwhile).
Judging by the trailer, it looks very MI-III ish...
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