As 2011 came to a close I found myself seriously behind on my yearly movie count (that is first-run movies I see each year at a theater). In a bid to get the number up to a respectable level I talked my friends into a movie marathon day on Sunday where we managed to stuff in three films back-to-back (to back). Remember that while it’s now 2012 I don’t do a round-up until I’ve finished seeing all the 2011 films (which usually takes me into early February).
One of those films was Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. This is the fourth entry in the successful series of films starring Tom Cruise as IMF (Impossible Missions Force) agent Ethan Hunt. I’ve seen all the others and this one was getting rave reviews with many people calling it the best of the series. I’ve liked previous entries enough to suggest that the producers of James Bond pay attention as this is really what a Bond film should feel like instead of the ridiculousness that seems to have taken over that crotchety series.
This one is also quite a fun and entertaining roller coaster ride. There’s absolutely no surprise that the film is chock full of action sequences and insanely complex special effects and that’s a good thing here. The music is also key amping up the intensity at all the right moments. The series’ theme song is right up there with the Bond theme for being able to get your motor running the moment you hear its tell-tale notes starting to rise in the background.
The principal actors are all solid with Simon Pegg once again managing to play the comedic role without it being too much. I keep expecting to tire of his approach and yet it hasn’t happened yet. Here he delivers great lines nearly ever time he’s on screen.
For me, however, I wasn’t quite as taken with this installment as many others. First of all it’s been a while since the last installment (2006) and I literally didn’t recall much of anything regarding where the story left off. It would have been helpful to get a useful redux. As we don’t really get that here you’re left a bit in the dark as the film progresses. In fact, I’m still at a loss to explain much of the entire opening sequence.
More concerning is the seemingly complete abandonment of physics. The film appears almost allergic to any sense of reality. Yes, this is a movie and I don’t expect everything to be accurate (I don’t complain about sound in the vacuum of space in sci-fi films for example) but I do expect them to be somewhat within the realm of believability. That simply isn’t possible here. Most of the jumps and effects are just beyond belief. The most distracting example of this is a pair of “sticky” electric gloves Ethan wears to scale the tallest building in the world. The idea is that the gloves will adhere to any surface and he can use them to climb the outside of the building. That’s all well and good. What’s not acceptable is that the gloves only cover his hands and forearms. Think about that for a moment. Any amount of weight placed on them would cause them to simply slide straight off your arm the moment you opened your fingers.
Another issue dealt with timing all over the film that was simply too convenient. Storms that start on cue and then perfectly come to a close at the exact movement and tempo of the ending of the action sequence. The aforementioned gloves failing exactly at the final moment of their usefulness, etc.
In the end my issues with the film reminded me of my being one of the few people that disliked the original Indiana Jones film for much of the same reason. If you have no such concerns then this is the movie for you. For me it was fun but not anything special.