Mission: Impossible III 2-Disc Collector’s Edition—Paramount (HD DVD)
M:i:III is the first film to be released simultaneously on HD DVD, Blu-ray, and standard DVD. Underachieving at the box office, this is nonetheless a lavish and worthy entry in the franchise. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as a vile weapons dealer, but there are plenty of action sequences, stunts, and disguises to support Cruise. So what if it feels like we’ve seen it all before? Director J.J. Abrams adds a few fresh twists, and it’s still good fun the third time around.
The extras on this two-disc set make much of the fact that Cruise risked life and limb for realism’s sake. One 25-minute featurette on the action sequences hits the point at least a dozen times. Other featurettes, ranging from five to 30 minutes each, examine various aspects of the production.
There’s also enhanced commentary by Abrams and Cruise, during which the pair appear in an inset picture and summon video on the full screen to illustrate their points. It’s a good use of the format’s storage capacity.
The 2.35:1 video has a filmlike quality, marked by deep blacks and exceptional clarity. Skintones are a bit pallid, but that’s more a result of the bright cinematography than any issues with the transfer. A rousing Dolby Digital Plus track imbues missile launches and an exciting helicopter chase with guttural bass.
Whether this is the end of the series or not, I’ll happily give myself over to the Impossible Mission Force and this terrific HD DVD.