Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
December 21, 2011
United States (English)
Directed by Brad Bird
Written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec
The fourth and latest installment in the "Mission: Impossible" series takes action films to a whole new level. Smart, insane, and all-around impressive are the fruits of this carefully crafted crusade. I could not ask for anything more!
The plug is pulled on the Impossible Mission Force after suspicions abound of their involvement in the bombing of the Kremlin. We see the events leading up to this inciting incident that brings Tom Cruise back to the screen as Ethan Hunt. His new field team consist of Benji (Simon Pegg reprising his role from the third film) and Jane (Paula Patton, a lovely addition). Jeremy Renner's William Brandt becomes the new fourth agent. Russian nuclear launch codes become the holy grail for both our heroes and their determined no-nonsense adversaries.
Pixar's own Brad Bird (best known for "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille") donned the director's cap for his first live-action feature. This was a great move for him as he was able to bring his fantastical sense of adventure from animation to a blockbuster franchise. The action ratchets up one level after another. Tools that the agents have depended on for the the first three films fail them and they must improvise. That said, we do see some new gadgetry (such as the fake wall they fool a Kremlin guard with).
Robert Elswitt, who has been collaborating with P.T. Anderson for the past decade on such visual achievements as "Magnolia" and "There Will Be Blood," was the director of photography for "Ghost Protocol." Seeing it in IMAX earlier this year was an optical event. The gorgeous establishing shots of Dubai, Moscow, and Budapest show off the locations and production value. Each city is a new stage of the mission and you can rest assured something darn near impossible will take place in these playgrounds of concrete and steel. The Burj Khalifa (currently the tallest manmade structure in the world) sequence may be the best in the series and involves a creatively complex scheme by Hunt and the gang.
The team have their differences and secrets, but still must rely on one another. The leading cast is beyond capable and each add a necessary emotion to the mix. Michael Giacchino returns to play with the iconic musical theme. "Kremlin With Anticipation" is a favorite track that feels right for its locale and as a piece of the larger adventure.
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" ties in nicely to the third film wherein Ethan got married, giving this film a definite place in the timeline (we can just pretend that "Mission: Impossible 2" was a dream). I have a feeling this will not be the last of the "Mission: Impossible" films, but I honestly wonder whether they can top the sheer size of this tent-pole feat. Benji even says, "It's not like any mission is gonna be rougher than the last one, is it?" It's as if Brad Bird and team are throwing down the gauntlet for whoever tries their hand at "Mission: Impossible V." Whoever you are, good luck!