Posted by: David Stewart | December 21, 2011

An impossibly good movie

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is probably the best one of the series, and a terrific action movie.

  • Tom Cruise (the person) is adored or reviled in the public’s mind because of his personal antics, but in MI-4 he again throws himself into his role with gusto. Whether it is climbing on the outside of the world’s tallest building or sprinting after the bad guys, Cruise is an athletic and intense action hero who looks like he is working his tail off.
  • Fans of the original television series from the 1960s and 70s get a couple of nice payoffs, like the opening titles appearing with a burning fuse over a montage of scenes from the movie.  In other parts of the movie, gizmos from the original TV show (like a temporary screen thrown up in a corridor to fool a guard) get a 2011 update, with a few comic twists thrown in.
  • There are a few cameos of characters from earlier Mission Impossible movie installments, which have been coming out since 1996, but have no fear that you won’t appreciate MI-4 if you have not seen 1 through 3.
  • The original TV show usually involved insanely complex plots which go off like clockwork. The movie realizations are usually about what goes wrong with the best laid plans. Post-modern mythic deconstruction prefers to show the vulnerability and weakness of our heroes rather than their perfect planning and execution.
  • Also in the theme of mythic deconstruction, there are terrorists here, and the story visits the Middle East, but the terrorists are not Arab or Indian.
  • This is not to say that the story is free of all mythic stereotypes, like the hard-bitten Russian police agent.
  • The IMAX presentation was quite immersive in its visuals and sound. In one memorable example, a vehicle leaps over our hero’s head and crashes someplace behind the audience, and the surround system picks it up quite realistically. I’m sure the movie would be great in a conventional theater, but see it in IMAX if you can.
  • Laura joked while the end credits were rolling, "I’m not sure there was enough action in that movie." Yeah, there was an insane amount of action, and it was incredibly pulse-pounding and frenetic.

Go see it. Highly recommended.

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