"Mission: Impossible IV"--Is Brad Bird the Right Choice to Direct?

5/09/2010 Posted by Admin

News Commentary

"Mission: Impossible IV"--Is Brad Bird the Right Choice to Direct?

By our guest blogger, Tim Strain

There’s a lot of curious news regarding the upcoming Paramount tentpole “Mission: Impossible IV.” Most importantly is the news that animation auteur Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) has been brought on board to direct. An interesting choice to be sure, seeing as the two-time Oscar winner has ZERO live-action experience. Also, the film will hit theaters on December 16, 2011, bumped back from its original May 27, 2011 kickoff.

“M:I-III” director and geek icon J.J. Abrams will produce the film and likely hold Bird’s hand when things get heavy. Bird may need consoling during production, as he undoubtedly will be asking himself WhyWhyWhyWhyWhy he signed on to direct the fourth installment in a series that will have started 15.5 years before this installment’s release. And let’s face it, if the world’s biggest actor wasn’t attached, no one would remember these movies.

It’s understandable, I guess. Bird apparently is having a hell of a time convincing execs around Hollywood to green-light his script for “1906,” the fictionalized account of the the devastating earthquake that struck San Francisco. He envisions it as a $200 million project, a price tag a little too hefty for the big suits. Perhaps proving he can segue into big money-making live-action fare and not just big money-making animation is the best way to realize his artistry.

But I don’t know. Does anyone see this as anything other than an opportunity for Paramount execs to line their pockets and the artist formerly known as Tom Cruise to get back in the spotlight while running around real fast and judo-chopping some henchmen before this message self-destructs? Here’s to hoping that Bird breathes a lot of life into the series, in which the third entry (all the way back in 2006) suffered from audience apathy and made about 30 percent less than “M:I-II.”

And this one won’t even have Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Says Cruise, regarding the casting news: “'The Iron Giant,' 'The Incredibles,' 'Ratatouille' – Brad is enormously talented and J.J. and I are having a blast, cranking away,” Cruise continued. “We’re having a lot of fun. I like working with people I just love hanging out with. You get to hang out and laugh and talk stories and movies and technology--what are we going to do?”

Paramount decided to push the film back six-plus months as well, probably because forcing an action film that will shoot in exotic locales across the world on a $150 million-plus budget to shoot on the fly isn’t a wise move. Don’t be surprised if it gets pushed up a month or so to avoid clashing with Paramount’s jumbo-epic “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn,” the Spielberg/Jackson project that comes out the 23rd. It also would be squaring off against the third entry in the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” saga. Scorsese’s 3D children’s film, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” is due to release on December 9, and Pixar’s recently re-titled “Brave” is set for a December release, but specifics are still unannounced.

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