This Genre Will Self-Improve in Five Seconds
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011)
You’ll be glad that “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” isn’t in 3-D, especially if you suffer from acrophobia. As you might recall, Tom Cruise made headlines a year ago dangling from the tallest building in the world — Dubai’s Burj Khalifa — some 1,700 feet above ground. You’re going to feel every dizzying inch as the camera slowly pans above his head to reveal the ground beneath when he begins climbing outside a window on the 109th floor and scaling up to the 130th. Mr. Cruise probably deserves an Oscar and then some just for pulling off this stunt. It’s truly difficult to imagine anyone not clutching his or her armrests for dear life during this vertigo-inducing scene.
From Budapest to Dubai to Mumbai, the Impossible Missions Force this time is tasked with finding the terrorists who stole launch codes for Russian nuclear missiles. While totally devoid of substance amid cold-war clichés and logistical lapses, “Ghost Protocol” has an endless supply of unprecedentedly high-concept action sequences that sporadically make Bond and Bourne look tame. Even the requisite car chase takes place in the midst of a blinding sandstorm, with Mr. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt attempting to engineer a crash with a little help from a tracking device.
This is that rare movie that justifies the Imax format — in fact, it’s the version that was screened for press in New York. But one has to wonder why certain (read: dramatic) scenes are in letter-box on the Imax print so that they look no different from 70mm. Brad Bird, who directed “Ratatouille,” “The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant,” makes his live-action directorial debut here. “Ghost Protocol” has raised the bar for the action genre so high that it will be difficult to top in the foreseeable future. Although it is far from cartoonish, one might wish that it had a little of that Pixar magic to go along with the audacious action sequences.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL
Opens on Dec. 16 in the United States and on Dec. 26 in the United Kingdom.
Directed by Brad Bird; written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, based on the television series created by Bruce Geller; director of photography, Robert Elswit; edited by Paul Hirsch; music by Michael Giacchino, “Mission: Impossible” theme composed by Lalo Schifrin; production design by Jim Bissell; costumes by Michael Kaplan; produced by Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk; released by Paramount Pictures. Running time: 2 hours 13 minutes. This film is rated PG-13 by M.P.A.A. and 12A by B.B.F.C.
WITH: Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner (Brandt), Simon Pegg (Benji), Paula Patton (Jane), Michael Nyqvist (Hendricks), Vladimir Mashkov (Sidorov), Josh Holloway (Hanaway), Anil Kapoor (Brij Nath), Léa Seydoux (Sabine Moreau) and Tom Wilkinson (I.M.F. Secretary).