Archive for the ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ Category

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – review

PhotobucketThis marks the first time for a contribution here at Strangeluv Music and Film.  The following is a review by Todd Hoyer.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the fourth film in the professionally uneven series, and is maybe the best of the bunch, certainly better than 2 and 3 and maybe as good as the first one.  Tom Cruise has handed off the series to producer/writer JJ Abrams and director Brad Bird in an attempt to revitalize the series and the choices are definitely good ones.

Brad Bird is clearly a director of prodigious talent.  He makes the jump to live action here seamlessly.  As an animator Bird has honed his skills in making every shot count and he does so here with no wasted shots throughout the 2-plus hour long film.  Every shot is richly detailed and motivated, at times there’s almost too much to look at, and the pacing is near perfect (except for Spoilers sort of /?/ a completely unnecessary and off-note epilog /End sort-of Spoiler).

The score is a well honed update and variations on the well-known Misson Impossible theme which would get annoying after a while if it wasn’t so awesome.
Simon Pegg plays Benji, playing the stock character of lovable funny tech-sidekick, essential his Scotty role from Abram’s own Star Trek, and it works, he’s funny and provides the appropriate deus ex machina when necessary to get the team out of some un-get-outable situation.
The chick here is someone I’m unaware of but she’s completely beautiful (think a lovely mashup of Zoe Saldana and Rashida Jones) I don’t recall seeing her before, I think she was in Precious, but I don’t think she was Precious and if she was, then she totally did like P90X or something in the interim because she’s in pretty good shape and knows some serious fu.
Jeremy Renner, whom I suspect got the gig for his ability to look good in a suit and not be tall, rounds out the team as the typical should he or should he not be trusted, new guy.
But the star here is clearly Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, he of the perfect hair, rippling midget muscles, and never-ending supply of well-tailored hoodies. It’s his film and his franchise after all, so forgive him if his prime directive to the screenwriter, director, and hair stylist was to make him look as cool as possible at all times.  Tom Cruise gets a lot of (well-deserved) shit for being, well, insane, but make no mistake about it, the guy is a MOVIE STAR, and his charisma easily carries the film.  The Ethan Hunt character is a little more comic-book superhero-esque this time out which I suppose is to be expected with the creative team of J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird at the helm, and it’s a fine development for the character.
The plot is all very by the numbers James Bond-y and Mission Impossible-y with a madman (played by the dude in the Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movies!) who wants to blow up the world.  His motivations seem valid, but obviously he must be stopped so Ethan Hunt and his team have to do it.  Ghost Protocol refers to the fact that because of events in Act 1 the Mission Impossible team are no longer supported by the American government, but wait doesn’t IMF always operate outside of the government and if they’re caught the government will disavow their actions anyway?  So I guess Ghost Protocol is the government telling IMF, “no, really guys, we’re like totally serious this time, you guys are so on you’re own now.”
The whole scene with Ethan Hunt on the outside of the Burj Khalifa is exhilerating and TERRIFYING.  I saw this in IMAX and IMAX definitely delivers and the images and sounds are stunning and very immersive (immersion being the great promise and the great failing of 3-D, which is just distracting and awkward) side note: the IMAX trailer for John Carter (which seems kind of like Avatar, but somehow both gayer and cooler) and The Dark Knight Rises looked fantastic and I’m definitely seeing both movies in IMAX even if it does mean spending 17 dollars(!) on a ticket.  I’m not scared of anything really (except for success, crying women, and being in a room with children) but I’ve been completely and utterly petrified of heights for as long as I can remember and this scene is scarier than anything in the thousands of horror movies I’ve seen (save the scene in Leprachaun 2 with the naked chick and the lawnmower).
The shots of Dubai, Budapest, Moscow (yes this team gets around very quickly, perhaps they have some sort of prototype TARDIS to whisk them away to wherever they’re needed) are gorgeous, and the movie moves along at a pleasant pace and is very well done.  A good family film too, there’s some action that may not be appropriate for young kids, and there’s a surprisingly high body count, but nothing too graphic that would be inappropriate for kids 10 and up (unless you’re one of those uptight parents then go see Tintin or something stupid like that.)

Grade: A