Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of the first installment in the Mission Impossible film series. Tom Cruise stars as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, who after coming under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89
Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount - 1996
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 110 minutes
Genre: Action/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Henry Czerny, Emmanuelle Beart, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Vanessa Redgrave, Kristin Scott-Thomas
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: David Koepp, Robert Towne
Region Code: A

Release Date: June 26, 2018
"Expect the Impossible"
My Take:

When U.S. government operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his mentor, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), go on a covert assignment that takes a disastrous turn, Jim is killed, and Ethan becomes the prime murder suspect. Now a fugitive, Hunt recruits brilliant hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and maverick pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) to help him sneak into a heavily guarded CIA building to retrieve a confidential computer file that will prove his innocence.

Based on the popular television series Mission Impossible was quite the spy thriller when it was released nearly twenty-two years ago. I remember seeing it and liking the effects laden update to the show’s take on espionage. The narrative works although if you look closely you can see what’s coming but, that’s not a shortcoming in a film like this. The script primarily stays on point and Brian De Palma’s direction doesn’t waver, keeping the primary focus where it should be.

Despite its advancing age I think it holds up fairly well, featuring several entertaining set pieces that allow its star to show off his chops. Needless to say Mission Impossible took Tom Cruise’s career to new heights, especially within this genre. This film isn’t my favorite in the series but, then again, they all rank roughly about the same, which is so say, fairly entertaining and fun. I am glad that it has come to Ultra HD Blu-ray as it gave me an excuse to revisit it. The ride was worth it.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for some intense action violence.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialogue Reproduction: 
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): 

 

Mission Impossible comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.

For its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray Mission Impossible was derived from film-based sources, finished on a 2K DI and upconverted to 4K.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Mission Impossible has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't consistently result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

Looking at the film's opening sequence, the improvement in depth, definition and color rendering was immediately noticeable. I was struck by the finer details present in the clothing and backgrounds. The exterior shots of Prague and London as well as the variety of earth tones and colors represented over the course of the film appeared noticeably more vivid and pleasing to the eye. The addition of high dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. The car bombing and exploding fish tank sequences had excellent visual pop. This was the case during brightly lit exterior scenes also.

Dark highlights were rendered with excellent dimension especially when coupled with brighter visual elements, such as the extended train/helicopter/tunnel scene in the finale. The image isn't razor sharp and, there are intermittent issues with innate softening, but detail rendering is very good overall. Grain remains intact with predominantly natural rendering that occasionally takes on more emphasis. As I watched I felt as though I was rediscovering this film all over again. Hands down, this is the best Mission Impossible has ever looked on home video. Kudos to Paramount for giving this the treatment it deserves.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Mission Impossible, I found the HDR renderings to essentially be the same. As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements are lent to bright color and on occasion, vibrant highlights, however the subtleties that are present lie in the warm accents and reproduction of secondary hues. Switching back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings yielded minute differences that are probably more subjective and not enough to warrant a rating difference.

Paramount saw fit to provide a lossless 5.1 channel soundtrack which offers a much-needed improvement over the previous lossy Dolby Digital track. The 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD sound is quite good and makes active use of the entire system. This is a solid presentation that brings out the best in this 20 plus year old recording. It features noteworthy dynamic range and punchy bass that augment the impact associated with the films action-based elements and music. The mix facilitates seamless integration of the front and rear channels, creating a stable and proportioned listening experience. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience. Dialog it reproduced with aplomb as I never had any trouble with prioritization even during the film's active segments.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Mission Impossible Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Mission Impossible Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Material
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Based on the television series created by Bruce Geller Mission Impossible was a genre bending thriller at the time of its release. Twenty-one plus years later it holds up quite well and is still an entertaining watching experience. It’s making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring transformative video quality, engaging and complimentary lossless surround sound and legacy bonus material. If you’re a fan this offering presents Mission Impossible in its finest light since coming to home video and is a must have.
 
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems