This fourth entry breathes fresh life into the Mission: Impossible film Franchise. The original 1996 Mission: Impossible was a promising start, and now 15 Years and four films later, I'm happy to say that Tom Cruise has still got it. This franchise - unlike most these days - has still got its edge, and isn't showing any signs of losing it or wearing down. I could definitely see another episode being produced in the future. And we have Tom Cruise to thank for all of that... because he is, after all, the man who has carried these films. Cruise has not only starred in them all, but he has also been very involved on the development and production end, receiving billing as co-producer on all installments. Overall, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL offers lighter adventure - perhaps on a bigger scale than any of the previous films - and also features a stellar ensemble cast, and some of the best popcorn entertainment in a while.
Now pushing 50 years old, Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, sporting his M:I-2 Haircut, and looking as young and in shape as ever (and I say that having a staunch record of unblemished heterosexuality). He is complimented by a very well-cast team of agents. This team is better than any of the others Hunt has everworked with. It includes Chief analyst William Brandt (portrayed by rising star Jeremy Renner... nominated for an Oscar 2 consecutive years in a row for his performance in the films THE HURT LOCKER & THE TOWN IN 2010 AND 2011), a likable and easy-to-relate-to character, who also has a secret....Jane Carter, (portrayed by the lovely Paula Patton) another new addition to the team, who is tough and attractive. She's not only great as eye candy, but she serves as an integral member of the team.... Returning from his small part in M:I-3 is Benji Dunn (portrayed once again by Simon Pegg). His role has been expanded as he is now a field agent. He provides a lot of laughs and comic relief....This time around, Ethan Hunt leads this team of IMF agents as they try to prevent nuclear war with Russia.... That's the basic premise: If you want more plot details, see the movie!
I had the pleasure of seeing this film in I-MAX, during its limited I-MAX run, and I've gotta say - The I-MAX does very effectively enhance this movie, especially during one particular scene midway through the film, which has got everyone talking...
This film draws from each "Mission" blending the best ingredients from each one. Ghost Protocol, while lighter in tone feels closer to M:I-3 than to any of the others...Not surprising considering its scored once again by Michael Giacchino (Medal of Honor, UP, Lost, Star Trek, Super 8)and produced by M:I-3's director JJ ABRAMS (Alias, Fringe, Lost, Star Trek, Super 8). Its also like M:I-2 in that it features an unrelenting amount of action/stunt work......and Tom Cruise with long hair again...It even echoes the TV Series, because it has some of the same musical cues, and really makes the mission a TEAM EFFORT.
Now Ghost Protocol is less story driven/character focused than M:I-3, even if only slightly so. It really isn't too heavy on story, but does have a decent amount of character development, especially once it really gets going. I felt like we really got to know Ethan Hunt as a human being in M:I-3. This is true in Ghost Protocol, but not so much as in M:I-3. Some may say Ghost Protocol lacked a strong villain, like Owen Davien in M:I-3. While that's not necessarily a fault, I will say that it would have been nice to see another great villain coming off the heels of M:I-3.
One thing I love about these movies is that each one is so different from the last one. Each one has a different director, and therefore a different style, feel, and flavor. Brad Bird, known for his work in animation, helms Ghost Protocol. He was an surprising choice, considering he'd only directed animated films (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) prior to accepting, but definitely a great choice.
Overall, M:I-4 is great popcorn entertainment. It has going for it some really awesome action sequences - one in particular that's truly remarkable, and an outstanding ensemble cast. Its definitely worth seeing in theaters, and owning on DVD/BluRay. One of my top favorites of 2011 and perhaps my favorite Mission: Impossible when its all said and done!
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