Synopsis: Blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt is disavowed along with the rest of the agency when the President initiates “Ghost Protocol”. Left without any resources or backup, Ethan must find a way to clear his agency’s name and prevent another attack. To complicate matters further, Ethan is forced to embark on this mission with a team of fellow IMF fugitives whose personal motives he does not fully know.
Release Date: December 21, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Mystery
This time around things are different for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), the covert operative spy viewer’s of the previous Mission: Impossible films know very well. The opening of the film shows him being broken out of a Budapest jail, timed quite playfully to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick In the Head”– Director Brad Bird obviously wanted to have some fun right from the start. Ethan’s release comes with another funny moment, when he uses a pay phone to receive his next assignment, should he choose to accept it, and well, technology is not exactly his friend. Bound to a new team that includes Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn the comic relief and technology wizard, and Paula Patton as Jane Carter, the go-to eye candy for the required fancy dress scene that will occur in the film, Ethan sets off on his assignment to infiltrate The Kremlin in Moscow. Not an easy feat for anyone, and things go awry when his team is blamed for bombing The Kremlin and labeled terrorists. This starts what is called “Ghost Protocol”; the agency shuts down and all the operatives no longer exist. Ethan, Benji, Jane, and an “analyst” they pick up along the way Brandt (Jeremy Renner) are on their own to clear their names and they will travel to all sorts of cities, get into lots of crazy messes, use really amazing gadgets that are indescribable unless you have seen them, and of course save the world from nuclear destruction. All in a day’s work for this group.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a spectacle to watch. It has plenty of wit, some decent jabber between characters thanks to Pegg and Cruise especially, and overall it is a good time at the movies when one wants a popcorn flick. The visuals are stunning, the action full of punch, and even though the story doesn’t make much sense most of the time you still manage to follow along happily.
At their core, the Mission: Impossible movies are not about the substance of story but the creation of spectacle. Ghost Protocol continues in the prior film’s established footprints to deliver a film high on action, and a tad bumbling and unrealistic when it comes to the plot. The catalyst for Ethan Hunt and his band of misfit operatives just happens to be the bombing of the Kremlin; an act that if it were to occur would set-off the beginning of an era that would make The Cold War look like a tropical vacation everyone was experiencing for decades. Establishing the story in an era where relations are once again strained with what used to be the U.S.S.R is an interesting twist, given most covert operative movies about bombings and terrorism revolve around the Middle East nowadays. That is not to say Ethan will not end up in The Middle East, things simply do not start there. This is one of the many problems with Ghost Protocol‘s script, it does not seem to know who the bad guys are at any given moment nor does it carefully construct an antagonist for the viewer. There is one man the focus returns to time and again but the structure of the heists/track-down of said man never completely makes sense.
Ghost Protocol is a mish-mash of clever tricks to put Ethan and everyone else in highly improbable positions requiring fancy stunts and creative gadgets while sacrificing clear motivations and reasoning for such actions. The slight confusion the screenplay evokes in the viewer is easily overlooked when you have Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt crawling up the largest building in Dubai with an IMAX camera-shot that sets your eyes a flurry with delight. Ghost Protocol cannot be expected to make sense, and it does not have to in order to please the viewer. It would have been nice though to feel like something actually did happen, and a conspiracy was solved without any loose ends. One could also do without the awful melodramatic moments featuring Brandt (Jeremy Renner)–a twist that was indeed meant to be a shock I presume but only comes off as being inanely useless; as do the other’s backstory’s as well.
When a movie is marketed as an IMAX presentation it does not always mean it was shot with the IMAX camera–shocking as that may be to those who were not aware of the fact. Ghost Protocol has over twenty minutes of footage that was indeed shot for the IMAX screen and the additional surcharge to see it in IMAX is worth it if you want to have your eyes pop out of your head and mouth drop open in awe. Cinematographer Robert Elswit takes advantage of the vastness and increased depth the IMAX camera allows for and the scenes are amazing. The high vantage aerial point shot over Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Tower, the tallest building in the World, is magnificent to the point of dizzying. Ghost Protocol takes the 20-sum minutes of IMAX camera usage to make sure you do not leave without remembering how great the scope and impressive each shot sequence was in the film.
The cinematography is not only great when IMAX is employed. Each establishing shot of a new city is done in an extreme wide-shot, showcasing the city as it is meant to be seen in order to form a mental picture for the viewer of life in such city. The aging Kremlin, ripe with history, and full of an unknown future. The great city of Dubai, rising high out of the desert with its sky scrapers and modernity in a vast land. Even the striking beauty of Budapest, with its varying architectural styles, from Gothic to Classicist, makes for a lasting impression on the viewer.
There is also of course the action sequence cinematography. The sweeping pans and tilts, close-ups amidst chaos, and precise timed zooming mixed with rapid-action editing, providing the necessary pulse-pounding effect you expect that catches every moment perfectly. Ghost Protocol is an exhibition of camera-work, whether utilizing the IMAX format or the old-fashioned digital camera lens.
If you are looking for action, Ghost Protocol is the plave to look. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) may be getting older but he can still manage to perform incredible stunts and action sequences. Ethan will always be the one who gets to do all the really fun, high-octane-like stunts in the Mission: Impossible movies. The other team members have their share of fights, and Brandt gets to hover over a large fan by using a magnetic device that appears to be fun and terrifying at the same time. But the real action happens when Ethan is running around the cities, or stuck to the side of a building via fancy suction-like gloves. The favorite action sequence for a viewer will likely come in the form of the car chase through a sand storm. The sand is twisting and turning around Ethan and the man he is hunting as their cars zip through the city and onto the highway. Visibility is near zero but that does not stop them from driving as fast as possible, weaving through traffic, and of course climaxing in a terrific crash. Ghost Protocol manages to keep the viewer’s attention because of the fancy gadgets and continuous inclusion of action-sequence plot points. It is what is expected and it does not fail on any count.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Brad BirdTom Cruise
- Producer(s): Josh AppelbaumAndre Nemec
- Screenwriter(s): Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt)Jeremy Renner (Brandt)Paula Patton (Jane Carter)
- Story: Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn)
- Cast: Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell)Josh Holloway (Trevor Hanaway) Paul HirschRobert ElswitJames D. Bissell
- Cinematographer: Michael Giacchino
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA