Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Lea Seydoux, Josh Holloway, Ving Rhames
Rated: PG-13

        ~Ethan Hunt

Another sequel with a significant gap between this and the last installment.  It's sort of the thing with these and maybe the reason why the quality is still there each time.  By this point, it was established that this series was a director's sandbox to play in, making each entry peak interest in pre-production now to see who would take the reigns.  This entry hired Brad Bird.  A guy known for The Iron Giant and his contributions to Pixar (The Incredibles, Ratatouille).  This would be his first foray into live action filmmaking. He made damn good movies and The Incredibles included some terrific action beats.  But, would he be able to bring it using people and locations.
That answer is a resounding YES a million times over.  Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol was an instant action classic.  It didn't bite on going with modern trappings and devices.  The film went for big unique, spectacle action while also managing some of the greatest suspense sequences we have seen in years.  This film was a complete revelation when it hit theaters, and word of mouth spread like wildfire on it.  From the centerpiece action sequence of Tom Cruise climbing the building, to foot chases, to just good old fisticuffs, Ghost Protocol came in and dominated.  It was a thrilling time and the movies and quite possibly my favorite IMAX film of all time.
Before this movie came out, there was sort of a weird,negative pre-production buzz going on.  There was word that Tom Cruise was on his way out of the series and that Jeremy Renner was being groomed to replace him.  Right after Mission: Impossible III's "disappointment" there was word that Paramount was trying to get Brad Pitt to take over.  It seemed all about retooling to the point where I was watching the movie thinking Ethan Hunt was going to eventually pull a Jim Phelps on the team.  Thankfully, those suspicions were entirely wrong.  
Tom Cruise owns this damn film from the minute he takes from.  There is almost a sense that he is almost reclaiming the franchise and telling everyone to back off or "try and do better, I dare you".  Its absolutely one of my favorite performances ever from the super star.  And he's here again, doing as much of his stunts as he can, gelling terrifically with the cast and performing the hell out of Ethan like he never has before.  And the team this time around is missing Ving Rhames, but you don't really notice it at all.  Paula Patton proved a solid addition to the group and is one that would have been nice to return but the female members tend to have a revolving door in this series (not by design from what I've read).  And since this is a Bad Robot production, we open the film with an actor from a JJ Abrams' television show getting bumped off.  Last time Felicity's Keri Russell, this time Lost's Josh Holloway.
One of the funny things about this movie is that we all rushed to see it opening weekend for another movie.  The hype wasn't huge surrounding Ghost Protocol pre-press screenings.  It was the fact that it was getting an early IMAX release and showing our first real footage of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises that was getting all the buzz.  The thought was like I Am Legend, well, I'm paying to get this exclusive look and then get hopefully a nice little movie as a bonus.  However, tables turned and Ghost Protocol ended up being an incredible movie, better than Dark Knight Rises.  And while raves were coming for Ghost Protocol, people were complaining about sound issues with Dark Knight Rises.  Who knew?
I absolutely love Ghost Protocol.  As I said, its my favorite IMAX experience ever.  The scene where Ethan Hunt is climbing the glass building had my heart racing and my stomach dropping constantly.  It had been quite a long while since a film was able to heighten my senses that much that I was involved and feeling like if Tom Cruise slipped and fell that I would share the same fate.  Its also a fantastic spy movie with even more scenes of suspense and some great patient and thrilling action.  After this movie, I wanted another Mission: Impossible RIGHT AWAY...but...I'd have to wait almost 4 more years.

NEXT TIME:  My turn to rave about Rogue Nation!

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