Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Trust me, take the time to see it at an IMAX theater.

Mission Impossible - Ghost ProtocolFor those of you who love movies, particularly those who live in the Indianapolis area, do yourself a favor and see a film at the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum. It is a stunning visual treat, and breathes life into films that may mean very little on the average screen.

I have previously called to your attention the Christmas film Polar Express, which is a remarkable experience when seen at the IMAX. Keep that in mind during next year’s holiday season, as kids inevitably love it and you are likely to join them.

In that regard, I had the good fortune of convincing my son and grandson to join me to see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol at the IMAX, and it was a splendid visual rush from beginning to end. Sitting in a large, severely elevated theater while you watch a 90 foot screen is impossible to adequately describe. Even though the last Mission: Impossible was rather pedestrian, this one grabs your attention regardless of your feelings about Tom Cruise.

Quite frankly, one of the reasons that Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is so enjoyable is that it is filmed on location in such extraordinary places as Moscow, Mumbai, and Dubai. The camera work is shot from above, and you are able to experience these magical places as if you are there.

More to the point, what makes Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol work so fabulously is the fact that it was directed by the talented Brad Bird. This was Mr. Bird’s first non-animated film, and many of you have already seen his splendid work in The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007). Let’s face it, he is able to combine incredible action scenes with both a wicked sense of humor and unavoidable pathos that is bound to appeal to most of you cynics.

All you really need to know about the film is that it concerns a Russian mobster who is seeking access to nuclear weapons for nefarious purposes that involve an attack on the U.S. Our Mission Impossible teammates are left to battle him, and everything else is pretty much history.

It is worth noting that all of the leading stars play to their advantage. Their interaction is surprisingly fun as well as tolerably intriguing. While Tom Cruise plays his normal version of Ethan Hunt, a character of constant action and little substance, he is forced to dance to a different tune playing opposite Simon Pegg. Mr. Pegg, an enormously funny man, plays a Mission Impossible agent who is as much concerned about his own survival as he is that of Mother Earth.

Most of you have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Pegg in the uproariously funny Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). Beyond that, he was quite effective as Scotty in the Star Trek prequel (2009), and he also did a fine job as the voice of several challenged rodents in both Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010). Finally, I should also call your attention to his earlier film this year, Paul, where he plays a catastrophically challenged alien groupie who eventually ends up in a trek way over his head.

In addition, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is also assisted by the performances of both Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton, who together play the remaining MI agents. Let me just say that you shouldn’t dismiss them as simply characters who are little more than pretty to look at, as they both bring some slice and dice edginess that keeps the film vibrating at all times.

Regardless of your feelings about the film, let me simply tell you that there is an action scene filmed on location in Dubai which is wildly first class by any definition. Cruise is forced to climb the tallest building in the country from the outside, and the sequence will undoubtedly engage the biggest cynic in the crowd.

In the end, swallow your pride and give this version of Mission: Impossible a shot, particularly if you can see it at the IMAX cinema. At the very worst I suspect you will leave the theater with the collective thought that “It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.” Happy New Year!