Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol


A couple of weeks ago, over Thanksgiving weekend, my friends and I had a serious discussion on who would win in a fight: Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne? There were biases on both sides of the argument for each actor: Tom Cruise vs. Matt Damon. The favor was leaning towards Jason Bourne because not only is he a human weapon, he also doesn't need a team or any sort of back up. I tried  to come at it in different directions and thought about that one scene during the Mission Impossible 2 trailer where Tom Cruise is holding himself up on the side of a mountain with his arms spread out in a wingspan. That takes strength! And to be in that predicament, he must have been crazy. Then again, my argument was invalid, it proves nothing and MI2 is best forgotten. It was a mess of a movie. MI2 almost prevented other Mission Impossible movies to be made. It took 6 years for the right creative team to get together and produce a quality movie in Mission: Impossible 3. J.J. Abrams of Alias and Lost has a high appreciation for updating older TV shows/ideas. Abrams was in the director's chair for the 3rd Mission: Impossible while Tom Cruise not only starred but was also among a long list of producers. It was nice to see that Tom Cruise still has passion for the Mission: Impossible movies. The series started off great with the first movie but the second movie... let's just say it never happened. Tom Cruise comes back for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol as Ethan Hunt and once again he is among the list of producers. Oh right, who would win in a fight between Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne? Before watching the 4th Mission: Impossible, my money was on Jason Bourne but, I'm not so sure anymore. Ethan Hunt kicks ass and gets his ass kicked, blown up, hit by a car (or was it cars?), drives a car head first into the ground, hits his head more than once, falls and falls and falls but, he keeps on getting back up for more. He is the blunt intuitive weapon while the rest of the IMF team are the brains, eyes, ears and stealth.

Before I talk more about Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, I want to make a small confession: I went to the IMAX not for Ghost Protocol but for the Dark Knight Rises 6 min preview. Jordan's Furniture in Framingham, MA was one of the few IMAX theaters in the U.S. to have the preview and I am extremely glad about that. Now, I am even more excited for Dark Knight Rises. When it comes out in July, I'll be fighting the crowd at the IMAX again for a good seat. I wish the IMAX theaters were more spacious with better seating arrangements. I'll talk about the preview in a separate post.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol jumps right into the middle of the action once it starts and never truly lets up. Even for some of the potential slow moments that might break the pacing of the movie, like I.D. verification, is also packed with action. Ethan Hunt and and Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) runs along side a train trying to get a retina scan in order to get into a secret IMF box car. Doesn't that sound ridiculous?! I wonder how it looked on paper? Brad Bird made it work. So far, Brad Bird had only directed animation and the list is not that long. But once you see the list of movies he'd directed you can see why Ghost Protocol is so good:
  • The Iron Giant
  • The Incredibles
  • Ratatouille
Not a long list but definitely a heavy list. Here's a bit of trivia for the 80's kids. Do you remember a Steven Spielberg produced TV show in the late 80's called Amazing Stories? Brad Bird directed the only animated episode on that show, Family Dog.


Along with Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg reprises his role as Benji. Because of the promotion to Field Agent, Benji has a lot more to do in this installment and he's very entertaining to watch. Which proves once again that more Simon Pegg is a good thing. The other IMF agents introduced in Ghost Protocol are Jane (Paula Patton), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Hanaway (Josh Holloway). They face off against a couple of established actors outside of Hollywood. You will know them in the movie as: Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), Sidorov (Vladimir Mashkov), Brij Nath (Anil Kapoor) and Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux). Even though the movie revolves around Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, each of the actors listed above were able to bring gravity to their roles. This is a testament of their acting abilities, charisma and Brad Bird's direction.


Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocols has a few twists and turns but it is not tough to follow. The story is actually pretty simple unlike the excellent first Mission: Impossible. The trailer actually gives away the entire plot. This is another movie that proves a good story doesn't necessarily need to be complicated. With that said, I'm not dismissing the first movie, it's just a different type of story with different necessities. The entire movie is engaging. Brad Bird does a masterful job building up the action and setting the tone for danger. The action in Ghost Protocol was carefully staged with very few quick cuts. I was able to follow the insane action sequences. Even the less action packed espionage scenes kept me on the edge of my seat. During the slower character development scenes, I found myself wanting to know more about what each player in the movie had to contribute. Not one scene was wasted. There were a couple of cool and humorous references to the original TV show as well.


I highly recommend Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Go to the IMAX for it if possible. I'm so glad that my brother and Batman persuaded me to go to the IMAX for this one. Parts of the movie was shot with an IMAX camera. The scene where Ethan Hunt was climbing (no stunt double) on the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai was breath taking. Then there were the on location scenery shots of Prague, Moscow, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Vancouver... they felt like it was lifted from an Omni Theater movie at the Museum of Science in Boston. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to fight the crowds this holiday season at the IMAX and, follow the disavowed IMF team in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.




RATING:
4/5

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