AND SOME STILL BITTER ABOUT M:I LEADER-BECOMES-TRAITOR TWIST
Peter Graves, the actor who became famous for his role as Jim Phelps, leader of the Impossible Missions Force on the Mission: Impossible TV series, passed away over the weekend. He was 83. The tributes are proliferating over the web, and some are still bitter about the big twist in Brian De Palma's film adaptation of Mission: Impossible that turned the "heroic" Phelps into a traitor, embittered by the end of the cold war and the subsequent diminishing of his own power and status. Driven by greed, Phelps sells out his fellow spies and, as leader, directs many on his very own team to their own deaths. Nick Leshi at The Man Behind The Curtain calls De Palma's film a "travesty" because of the Phelps turn, calling it "a slap in the face." Yes it was a slap in the face, and it was meant to be. This kind of treason happens in the real world, and here was a great opportunity to take a character whose work is based on deception, and to show that the world he lives in is not as cut and dry as the old TV series might have us believe. These are spies, through and through. John Woo even toyed with the idea of an evil Ethan Hunt in his sequel to De Palma's film (the villain of that film wears a mask to look like the Tom Cruise character). Mitchell Hadley feels that Graves was right to turn down the role in De Palma's film, writing, "You know, just as fans of the show know, that Jim Phelps would never betray his country. Sure, Jon Voight, who winds up playing the role in the movie, is a good actor, as well as a good patriot in real life. But he’s no Jim Phelps, and both you and everyone else knows it." Voight was a great choice for the role, but Graves really should have taken it (if he was actaully ever asked to)-- it would have been fantastic.