Monday, December 19, 2011

Fourth time is a charm with Ghost Protocol



Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and
Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
The problem with the Mission: Impossible films, is that I haven’t been able to enjoy them like I wanted to. I am old, but not old enough to have watched the original TV series (beyond the opening credits anyway) so I went into the movie franchise without knowing much. Then, the first three movies’ plotlines were so convoluted; I never really knew what was going on. To top it off, the first three movies were very Tom Cruise-centered, and if you’re not a big TC fan, it doesn’t leave you with much. They were always enjoyable, but not fantastic in my book. That all changed with Ghost Protocol.

Blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is disavowed along with the rest of the agency when the President initiates “Ghost Protocol.” Ethan must find a way to clear his agency’s name and prevent a further attack. All he has to rely on is the help of fellow agents, Brandt (Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker), Benji (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead) and Jane (Paula Patton, Jumping the Broom) each with their own personal motives.

While technically the 3rd sequel to Mission: Impossible (1996), Ghost Protocol stands alone just fine. It doesn’t rely much on the previous storylines to confuse you. What is probably the most unique feature of this movie is that Brad Bird directs it. Bird has worked with many characters in Hollywood over the years, but most of the time they have been animated. Known for directing such great Pixar/Disney films like The Incredibles and Ratatouille, this marks Bird’s first live action directing gig. The film also has J. J. Abrams on its’ side as Producer. Abrams, one who can do no wrong, has brought us TV’s Lost, Fringe and last year’s sci-fi reboot of Star Trek. Instead of churning out just another film in the franchise, the crew took great skill is producing a bigger and better film. Oh, that Abrams. Always the over-achiever.

Ghost Protocol is also unique in that it is a fun film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it doesn’t have the dark overtones of the previous films, and it has a lot of humor. It features more gadgets than usual and not all of them are working without flaws. The ensemble cast is a lot more appealing than Ethan’s usual Long Ranger routine. This time, they all have to trust each other and work as a team. They all have their own flaws and not always as confident as they should be with their given roles, making them a bit more relatable in a non-relatable universe.

Ghost Protocol is literally breath taking with its’ incredible views provided by IMAX. This is a must-see-at-the-theatre movie and if possible, an IMAX theatre. You really feel like you’re one of the team facing the same dangers that they do. There is plenty of violence, but not bloody or gruesome and I only counted two swear words in the whole film! In fact, I doubt that there is much for a Christian to take offense with this movie. Personally, I think that it is the best of all four films and I doubt that I’m alone with this assessment.

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