Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I had a hard time writing this title because I thought it was Mission: Impossible. So that would make it Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Way too much going on there.
Anyways, you don’t care about that. You care if this movie is worth seeing. Well let me alleviate your concerns now. Yes. This movie is worth seeing.
I managed to catch it in IMAX and I paid a whopping $18 for a single ticket. What has happened to us? How did we get here? There’s a lot of hubbub about how this was an extraordinarily slow season for movie theaters, so maybe their astronomical prices have something to do with it. And then to ask us to pay $6 for a drink? Ridiculous. But some schmoes (points to himself) still do it.
Anyways. Here’s what works.
I was expecting this fourth entry in the franchise to be confusing like the others. There are always elaborate escapes and confusing twists and turns. The first Mission: Impossible was especially confusing, since I think there were 20-something moments of *take off mask* revealing a surprise twist! Though… I commend Ghost Protocol for being simple. You know who the villain is from the very beginning and not much changes. There are minimal twists and the story isn’t convoluted with political leanings and a boatload of characters you have to keep track of. This was easy to follow and you could actually become engaged with what was happening, as opposed to always checking a reference sheet of villains and motives.
The other thing they absolutely nailed was the spectacle. There are three sequences that I thought were all utterly fantastic. These may be minor spoilers, but I’ll keep it vague and not reference whos or whens. The first scene is the one showcased on most trailers, involving the world’s tallest building: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. These scenes are absolutely captivating and include some of the cleanest wire work I’ve ever seen. You’ll actually believe that lives are in danger, as agent Ethan Hunt scales to the 130th floor of this building. The second scene involves something I’ve never seen utilized in an action film: a sandstorm. They foreshadow the event before it happens, so you’re waiting for it to happen for a good portion of the movie, and when it happens… it’s amazing. The sense of suspense was incredible and created a new challenge for Hunt to overcome. The scenes were especially visceral in IMAX, as the grainy vision made us struggle to see what was happening, just as agent Hunt was doing it. It was incredibly immersive. And the third scene that wowed me with its creativity was a mano-a-mano battle in a high-tech car garage, where cars sit on elevators that move throughout the structure. This allowed the fight choreographers to play with different levels and stunts that wouldn’t be plausible in any other space. I was impressed.
I give most of this credit to director Brad Bird. This was Bird’s first foray into live-action, but he has plenty of experience directing (including The Incredibles, Up, The Iron Giant, and Ratatouille). In these CG films, Bird was able to completely control action sequences so I have a feeling he pushed his effects crews to make the impossible… possible. I was very impressed with his work here.
Did anything not work?
Right now, maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The casting was pretty spot-on, the action scenes were incredible, the locations were varied and interesting, the story was simple yet engaging… Let me phrase it this way: I paid $18 for a ticket and I don’t regret a thing.
Now, I’m not saying this is the best movie ever. But for movies like this, this one is up there at the top.
I would give it a chance. If you didn’t like it, I’d love to hear why!