Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a pleasant surprise and a happy ending to the movie season. Brad Bird, as I am sure many of you know is a star director in the Pixar world, but has never done anything that involved live action directing. So its interesting to see him start with such a high profile project like this one, although I’m sure that the backing of JJ Abrams didn’t hurt. Nothing like a mega-million dollar director vouching for you to grease the wheels at the big production houses. All that said, he did a great job. Before JJ Abrams directed MI3, the franchise was just another cheesy, easy to make, easy to not take seriously, Tom Cruise vehicle for a slow summer season. Then back in ’06 we were shown the potential of the property to be something you could tell people you went to see without a sheepish grin on your face. Its the same with Ghost Protocol. I don’t know if Brad Birds experience with computer animated characters gave him any experience to draw from, but he was surprisingly adept at directing REAL actors on camera. And his live action ACTION sequences were really great as well. A double whammy, dangerous combo in a newcomer.
Speaking of action, when you think about an action flick, Mission Impossible movies are as guilty as any other when it comes to using a formulaic approach. We open with a small but intense action sequence. once that ends its a good 20 minutes of story development followed by another mid sized action sequence. Now with the conflict established we can move on to the main event. The big one, the spectacle you paid 15 dollars and an overpriced soda for: the action climax. This scene is bigger than any in the film and the filmmakers expect it will be the one you tell your friends about afterwards, so that they will also go pay 15 dollars for a ticket and buy an overpriced soda. The great thing about Ghost Protocol was that EVERY action sequence was made like it was their best. It was a home run every time they went up to bat.
Sounds exhausting right? Well it is, but thats ok because they kept the story interesting and simple enough to make the ride worthwhile. Tom Cruise has had a lot of practice playing this guy and not just in MI. He’s played similar characters in a bunch of different films, so if anything, all he really had to do was go through the motions. Simon Pegg, well everybody loves him and comic relief he provides is right in his wheelhouse. Jeremy Renner is cementing his spot as the new action go to guy, and this movie felt like he was being groomed as Cruises replacement, and I think he will do a fine job.
Conclusion: Go and see it and see it in IMAX because the Dark Knight Prologue is sweet!
Until next time…
See you at the theater!