Brad Bird makes his crossover to live-action films with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; probably the best film of the series or at least a close tie with Mission: Impossible III. It’s without a doubt the biggest M:I film and the grandest. The action is beautifully displayed on big set pieces that shine on IMAX screens. This film is leaps and bounds more immersive than any 3D film I’ve ever seen. Tom Cruise returns to form as the popular character Ethan Hunt for yet another mission. This time the fate of the world hangs in the balance and Hunt and his team of rogue operatives are the only ones left!
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in a Russian prison serving time for killing the men who supposedly killed his wife. He’s broken out by fellow agents Jane (Paula Patton) and Benji (Simon Pegg). Their initial mission is to secure nuclear missile codes from a crazed lunatic who is plotting to cause nuclear war in an effort to cause peace across the world. Ethan and his team are unsuccessful and a bombing at the Kremlin causes the entire IMF agency to get shutdown.
An IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) and agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner) assign Ethan and his team a new task to clear the IMF name and to bring down this terrorist. Now Ethan is on a race against time to prevent nuclear war and to clear the names of him and his team.
This isn’t your ordinary Mission: Impossible flick. M:I – GP is more like James Bond than anything. It’s full of high tech gadgets and gizmos that are cool and believable. Gone are the days of constant double crossing and mask wearing and in are slow and steady action pieces that give you time to appreciate it as it all unfolds. The basic story is interesting enough to keep your attention locked on, but it’s the action that really blows you away.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s impressive IMAX sequences are visually some of the best I’ve ever seen. Director Brad Bird couldn’t have picked a better movie to cross over to the live-action swing of things than Mission: Impossible. He has no problem establishing a stable film that doesn’t venture into quick cuts and ultra-close up shots. Too often do those filming techniques plague action films to give them a hyper tone and a stylistic approach, but in reality they can be a little too much. There’s no shaky cam in this one, just good old fashion action shots that follow the characters as they travel from Russia, Dubai and India. When the IMAX scenes kick in the viewing is only enhanced. Facial details are enhanced and the scope of the specific scene is heightened.
Tom Cruise isn’t really back in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol because he never left. He hasn’t been doing films this big in a decent stretch of time, but his acting quality hasn’t really dipped in quality or anything. M:I – GP is probably one of his better films in recent years, only because he’s finally embodied the character of Ethan Hunt. The first two M:I films were cut and dry with the character of Ethan. He didn’t have much depth or emotion; he was mostly just a bad ass spy with cool gear. The third film in the series focused on him getting his wife back from a generic evil bad guy (played pretty well by Philip Seymour Hoffman), but even then he didn’t show much emotion. He was more or less a continuation of the character from part two, but a little older and more personally motivated.
In M:I – GP his character comes full circle. He provides a deeper look at the lonely struggle he faces being an IMF agent and he shows more of his weaknesses and his ability to overcome them. Ethan Hunt is more human than super spy and it’s kind of refreshing seeing that side of the character. Cruise captures it well and his stunt work and general performance action wise is impressive.
Simon Pegg and Paula Patton do the best with their supporting roles. You don’t really feel the need to dig deeper into their pasts or into their characters in general, but they provide much needed roles to keep everything balanced. Jeremy Renner has a meatier role that locks in with Cruise’s towards the end, but it’s never all that important. You want to figure out his “secret”, but at the same time you don’t want to waste precious action time on it.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is Tom Cruise‘s movie and Brad Bird‘s movie. The rest of the players just help make it better. I think Cruise finally gets the character of Ethan Hunt and the tone of the M:I films perfectly. He understands what works and what doesn’t work for his character and Brad Bird helps strengthen that. There are a ton of futuristic gadgets in this film that if taken too seriously would have resulted in laughable believability, but the way they play them out and the way the tone is makes them work effectively. Who would have thought the government would benefit the most from iPhone’s and iPad’s?
In the end Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a really fun and well put together action film. It feels like something that is much better than it should be and that’s mainly because of Tom Cruise and Brad Bird. I hope the two consider re-teaming for another installment sometime in the future, if the right story can be put together (I don’t see how it couldn’t). The story is interesting enough to keep you going, but the stunning IMAX visuals and well-constructed action sequences are the selling point of the film. If you have any interest in seeing the film, do yourself a favor and seek out a real IMAX theater that’s playing it. It’s honestly the best way to fully experience the film and you’d be robbing yourself of lots of entertainment if you don’t see it in its proper form!
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – 8.5/10