Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – A Fantastic Review

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is Good yay!

I can’t wait to spend another $14.50.  That’s the cost of seeing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in IMAX, and so far I’ve invested $29.  Can’t wait for my next investment opportunity.  I mean, I’m giddy just thinking about it.  It reminds me of finding a song that just hits me and playing it on repeat like 100 times in a row; I can’t wait to experience this movie again!!  Here’s what’s crazy about the movie – its directed by Brad Bird (his first live action directing gig) and he DESTROYS the previous installment (directed by JJ Abrams).  From what I understand, Abrams was the one who pitched the job to Bird, so it sounds like they’re friends.  I’m gonna guess Abrams is totally excited to have his name on such a great film and happy for his friend’s success.  In honor of his presumed excitement and assumed lack of jealousy over MI:3 getting owned, I’m going to do the best thing possible: prop up one thing by putting something else down!!!  Yay for belittling and smear campaigns!!

With as little ado further as possible:

Mission Impossible:3 vs Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (An unbiased and academic case study)

Cruise vs Cruise – One of the things about Thomas Mapother is you know what you’re getting – lots of powerful “up-looks” (the thing where someone is talking to him and he’s inexplicably looking down, and then he looks up dramatically with a deranged smile, making you wonder if he’s actually COMPLETELY insane), lots of spectacular stunt performances, and lots of nose.  That thing is fantastic.  You’ll also get him making emphatically emphatic hand gestures.  He’d be a ludicrous policeman directing traffic.  I’d love to see him yelling angrily at confused drivers during rush hour at a disabled traffic light: “GO!!!  I said GO!!  No, not you!!  You, then YOU!!  I’m gonna hang outstretched from a cable if you can’t learn to drive!!  I can’t beLIEVE this!!!”  In all seriousness, Cruise does some great/enjoyable acting in MI:GP.  He seemed headed this way in MI:3, but his catastrophe of a personal life derailed his career to such an extent that they had to wait 5 years to finally release a sequel.  I’d call these two Cruise performances nearly equal, except he was better in MI:GP for one reason – I started to see him as Ethan Hunt and not Tom Cruise.  Being a movie star is a blessing and a curse – you become famous for being great at one thing (the aforementioned up-looks and rad stunts) then get so associated with your act that people never see you for anything more than YOU.  Cruise has historically been the worst “Every character he plays is him” actor, but he showed some chops in MI:GP that I enjoyed.  For example, his bewilderment in having to scale the Burj Khalifa, and his tender moment telling Robin Thicke’s wife that “We can’t bring them back.”  Winner: Cruise

Ving Rhames vs Ving Rhames – Ving Rhames was cool in the first MI, but he’s weak now.  Glad he was only in 1/140th of MI:GP.  I’m also glad he was in MI:GP and not totally left out.  Whatever.  Am I the only one who thought the wardrobe department malfunctioned when they dressed Rhames in black on black for his dramatic throwing of the bird with his black hand?  It was like, wait, is something happening??  Can I get some infra-red night vision goggles?  There’s too much darkness happening at once!!  Winner: the color black.

Robin Thicke’s wife vs the Asian girl if she is Asian – Robin Thicke’s wife was a massive improvement over pretty much every actress who played a part of the team from MI:3 on.  I felt like she could kick my butt for real.  Then I realized she’s only 5’4.  Then I realized Cruise-Mapother isn’t tall and that’s why Robin Thicke’s wife looked like an Amazon.  Then I looked up MI:3 on imdb to see who the Asian girl is and realized she’s half white and named Maggie Q.  Then I looked up every female actress from MI:3 and realized they’re all 5’7 or shorter, and then thought I should end this then gimmick. Then I thought, “Naaaaaaaaah.”  Winner: Robin Thicke.

Josh Holloway in a handful of scenes vs the random Irish guy from MI:3 – Sawyer totally ruled the MI:GP intro.  Great play by Bird!  Too bad he gets killed.  I’d love to see the lost files of Agent Hanaway.  As for the random Irish dude in MI:3, he contributes to two of the most contrived scenes in film history: flying the helicopter through a windmill farm and asking Maggie Q to teach him her prayer.  That prayer scene was egregious, like Abrams was thinking “Crap, we’ve gotta build these characters up or people won’t remember their names!!”  Mission failed JJ!!!!!!  Winner: Sawyer, but it would’ve been cool to see Desmond too.

Simon Pegg vs Simon Pegg – Benji basically saves MI:3 from being a total stiff bore of a movie in just two scenes.  Now that he’s a full member of the field team, I can say this: entertaining movie? Mission accomplished!!!!  He’s a rare guy who can hold his own next to a major star like Cruise.  Love him.  Impressed by his resistance to overplay the “and I catch you” bit with Brandt.  That could’ve been suuuuper lame, but Simon Pegg played it just perfectly to the point that I believed there was some legitimate character-building happening a la the egregious prayer scene in MI:3 except the opposite!!!  Winner: Simon Pegg FTW!!!!!

Jeremy Renner vs Philip Seymour Hoffman – Hoffman’s character could’ve been played by anyone.  Renner is captivating in his monologue regarding Croatia.  Also funny in the “Jump and I catch you” stretching bit.  And I remember his character’s name: Bill Brasky!! (did you just hear the SNL cast yell Bill Brasky? I know I did!!) Just kidding, his name is Brandt.  See? I remember. Great job directing, writing, balancing of all the characters, and making me care about them.  Great play by Bird!  Winner: Renner

Whoever did the music in MI:3 vs Michael Giacchino – The music in MI:3 is forgettable.  Giacchino is fantastic!  I felt like every change to a new locale was served just as much by Giacchino’s ethnically reminiscent sounds as by the massively epic IMAX aerial shots.  The Russian mens chorus was incredibly cool and powerful, and the Indian music in the entrance to Mumbai was one of my favorite moments.  The dancing Indian women scene for some reason reminded me a little of the greatest movie series of all time: Indiana Jones.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t a part of the Indiana Jones series.  Its clearly a massive inside-joke parody of an inside-joke of a parody on the part of Spielberg.  Haha Steven you joker!!  You sure pulled a fast one on everyone!  What a trickster.  I digress.  The music added another entire layer to MI:GP that was missing from every other single MI until now.  Not that Danny Elfman’s score was bad in the first; it was just underutilized.  Great play by Bird!  Winner: Michael Giacchino.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (6/15/12): Apparently Michael Giacchino did the music for both MI:3 and MI:GP.  How is this possible???  I mean, he composed two great soundtracks before and after MI:3 (The Incredibles and Ratatouille, respectively), but MI:3 stunk.  Either he was concussed throughout the composition process, or movie directors play much larger roles in the music process than I realized. Or both.

Brad Bird vs JJ Abrams – There was a time recently when, if I mentioned JJ Abrams was involved with an upcoming project, all my entertainment-buff friends would say “Oh awesome! That guy’s great!!” and proceed to pay for whatever he put out.  In contrast, all Brad Bird ever got was an “I really liked the Incredibles!!” and maybe an “I really liked the Iron Giant!”.  What I’m saying is this: If Brad Bird doesn’t direct every movie that comes out from now on, and if Michael Giacchino doesn’t do all the music, I’ll round up all the famous Birds and hold them hostage until Hollywood stops holding us hostage with poorly conceived flicks wrought with lens flairs (which I don’t mind whatsoever – I just mention them in disgust to be more dramatic).  That means you Larry, Big, and Chris Anderson!!!!  It needs to be reiterated that it was Abrams who sent Bird the invite to direct MI:GP, so he does seem to have sensibilities for recognizing talent, but in terms of sheer directing and putting together a killer movie, it has to be Bird.  Winner: Brad Bird.

I’ll be returning for viewing #3 this Sunday with my buddy Cary who’ll be seeing it for the fourth time.  Along for the ride will be Brazle and probably a host of other miscreants, and I feel like its safe to say every single person who walks into the theater in my party will walk out satisfied.  Either that or they die.  That’s the beauty of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol!!

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