I am lucky enough to live about a mile away from one of the 20 Imax screens that actually had the The Dark Knight Rises preview in front of Ghost Protocol (Des Moines, who knew?). So I thought I would start this review with a quick review of what I saw there.
Do you remember how the opening scene of The Dark Knight introduced us to the Joker by letting us join him in a bank robbery? Well what I witnessed was Bane’s similar introduction. Except in place of robbing a bank, Bane was robbing an airplane. In flight. On Imax. It was one hell of an introduction, I don’t even want to tell you what happened because it really needs to be seen first instead of explained first. My only complaint is the same as everyone else’s who has done a write up on this five minutes of film: what the hell did Bane say? I get that he has a mask on, but my guess is he is going to be in quite a bit of this movie and if your audience can only understand half of what your main antagonist says, you have a real issue. Hopefully this gets fixed.
On to Ghost Protocol. First things first, I have liked every single Mission Impossible up to this point. I love the impossible stunts, the beautiful women and the awesome gadgets. These are action films with big hairy balls and Tom Cruise is the Ethan Hunt that I have always known and loved. (The fact that he could make fun of that in Knight and Day just made me like the character even more.)
I was, however, extremely excited for Ghost Protocol because of the man behind the camera: Brad Bird. The director of one of the greatest superhero films of all time with The Incredibles. Plus, the man who made The Iron Giant created one fan for life the first time I saw that movie. Both of those films had characters that you cared about. Not only did you love to watch the amazing things they did, but you felt for them. Anytime you have real emotion for fictional characters, I am sold.
Brad did not let me down. Ghost Protocol has no fat. I am pretty sure that the timeline of this film happens in about three days. Ethan Hunt and his team are thrown an impossible mission and in many respects they fail and fail again. That failure brings them closer together and pushes them harder and harder. Each character is revealed with some exposition, but much more is revealed by what they do.
For example, Ethan Hunt starts the film in a Turkish prison. He is getting broken out and could simply walk out a door to freedom since his team is so good at what they do. Instead, he stops and thinks. Then he turns around and walks right into the prison riot that was started to distract everyone from his escape. The reason that he goes back in tells the audience more about his character than two hours of exposition could have.
His team gets to show instead of tell as well. Benji (Simon Pegg) got promoted to Field Operative and his humor and intelligence makes you grow to love him. (Plus, the jokes that come do not feel out of place and are consistently thrown in just at the right time.) Carter (Paula Patton) has her own reasons for being very interested in this mission. Both what she does and doesn’t do during the mission greatly add to our understanding of her character. Finally, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) has some secrets of his own that do come out through a little exposition. Much more is said in his face than in his words, though.
I have read other reviews where their only complaint was that the villain was not fleshed out very much. I think it made the mission more realistic (If realism were even possible in this world.). Think about it. If you had in some cases days or only hours to literally save the world, how much time would you spend studying the bad guy and how much time would you spend just going after him? You would barely know 90% of the people you stop. That is not your job. Your job is to stop them.
A final note on Imax. This movie is worth the ticket price. I would state that “filmed in Imax” is far superior to “filmed in 3D.” Brad Bird gives us amazing shots of every new locale we enter throughout Ghost Protocol. The action set pieces engulf you and yet you still understand everything that is going on in even a fight scene. There are many directors today who could take a lesson in this as so many seem to go the lazy and horribly annoying route of shaky cam. Seeing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on Imax is worth the price of admission.
That last line gives you my recommendation right there. If you do not have an Imax screen near you, look for the theater with the largest screen available. You will not be sorry you did.
What did you think of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol? Let us know in the comments below.