With a theme that is as familiar as the JAMES BOND THEME, JAWS and Henry Mancini’s PETER GUNN, The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series of movies has over the past few years become hot property, but in fairness the appeal of the basic framework of the storylines for both big screen and television have never left the publics interest. The television series for me as a youngster was a must see and I think I am right in saying it was around the same period as THE MAN FROM UNCLE and THE AVENGERS all three of course being essential viewing for any young lad with an appetite for adventure, offbeat storylines and an ear for an infectious theme tune. I have to say I am not the biggest Tom Cruise fan in the world, but what he has done for the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE franchise is in a word phenomenal. He took the basics of the original series and stories and transformed these into more upbeat and hi tech tales for the current cinema going publics taste, including numerous daring stunts and exciting and exhilarating scenarios filled with at times complex plots which left even the most attentive audiences guessing as to what the hell had gone on.
All through Mr Cruise’s involvement with MISSION IMPOSSIBLE I am pleased to say that as a producer he insisted that the original theme composed by Lalo Schifrin remained or at least various permutations’ and arrangements of it and in interview even tells people how much he loves the music. The movies have been scored by a handful of top notch Hollywood composers, Danny Elfman who provided the score for the first in the series, Hans Zimmer who worked on instalment number two and Michael Giacchino who provided the scores for three and four, plus of course Alan Silvestri’s rejected efforts on the first chapter. Adding his considerable musical know how and talent to the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE outing ROGUE NATION is composer Joe Kraemer. I have for a while admired this composers work, but unfortunately he never seemed to receive the credit and recognition he so richly deserved. I first heard his infectious music in the movie THE WAY OF THE GUN,(2000) which at times evoked the style of Jerry Goldsmith. Kraemer has I suppose done very little compared with many of the other composers who work in Hollywood, but the few projects he has been involved with have all included outstanding soundtracks. As well as THE WAY OF THE GUN the composer began to be recognised as a composer of note by collectors etc when he wrote the score for JACK REACHER another Tom Cruise movie in 2012 and his subdued but interesting score for FAVOR (2014) also attracted the attention of many. In certain areas THE WAY OF THE GUN and his music for the TV series FEMME FATALE is akin to the type of score that the composer has penned for the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
Bold expressive thematic material is supported and underlined with tense but at the same time melodic sounding passages, with the emphasise on brass and percussion alongside tense sounding strings and infectious backing tracks that combine to create an atmosphere that is nail bitingly nervous and taught. Mixed in with Kraemer original music we have that oh so familiar theme all’a Schifrin which every so often Kraemer skilfully introduces into the proceedings intertwining his new musical highs with the vintage sounds of Schifrin which amid the tense sounding compositions suddenly bursts into life taking the listener on a helter- skelter ride musically and emotionally, literally having everything that the orchestra has to give thrown at them. I liked Giacchino’s take on the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE scores but Kraemer’s approach I love, it is like listening to a sixties score, it is grand, pulsating and unrelenting plus it has real themes, this for me is a joy.