There are two reasons to see Mission
Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Mission Impossible 4) at IMAX Melbourne and
both have something to do with the giant IMAX screen. Firstly, 30
minutes of Mission Impossible was filmed using IMAX cameras which means
the entire IMAX screen is filled and when these scenes appear, they look
visually stunning and really enhance the story. Secondly, a 6-minute
preview of Batman Dark Knight Rises is included with the release which
gives viewers an amazing taste of the upcoming Batman movie that will
definitely wet your appetite and showcases the dark knight's new nemesis
Bane. So is it worth seeing Mission Impossible 4 at IMAX? You betcha!
For the uninitiated, this is the fourth film in the franchise and
interestingly enough, it's probably the best film, even though I'm still
scratching my head over the convoluted plot. It seems that the
complicated story is a staple to this franchise and first time
live-action director Brad Bird (The Incredibles and Ratatouille)
successfully makes the move from animation to live-action by creating a
huge Hollywood blockbuster. For the most part, the story flows well,
however when they begin to explain the madman's intent at igniting a
nuclear war between the US and the Russia in order to guarantee the
survival of humanity, things become quite messy.
With that said, the movie starts with a BANG that introduces the key
players of the story as the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) are sent to
rescue their operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) from a Russian prison.
Joining Hunt's IMF team in the story is the lovely and talented Paula
Patton as Jane, comedian extraordinaire Simon Pegg as Benji and new
action star Jeremy Renner as Brandt. The introduction sets up the theme
of the movie well, with some great comedic elements thrown in by Simon
Pegg who reprises his role from the previous film and is really needed
to lighten up this sometimes messy franchise.
When freed, the team are given the mission
of breaking into the Kremlin in order to ensure that the Russian's
nuclear codes do not fall into hands of Swedish terrorist extremist Kurt
Hendricks (Michael Nykvist) who is actually quite lacklustre villain.
Unfortunately the team fails to secure the codes and Hendricks frames
them for blowing up the Kremlin which looks spectacular on the IMAX
screen. From here, the US government disavows any knowledge of IMF and
labels them as rogue agents which forces them to take matters into their
own hand to not only save the world from a nuclear disaster but clear
their names... again.
My colleague summed up Mission Impossible 4 perfectly by noting that it
was an amalgamation of James Bond meets the Bourne Identity. With over
the top plots, larger than life and quite unrealistic action sequences,
Mission Impossible ticks all the right boxes for a Hollywood action
blockbuster. I was also surprised to see how much Apple brand placement
was used throughout the movie from iPhones to iPads and even Apple
Computers. But the franchise has always been about the gadgetry and the
movie does venture into the sci-fi world such as the magnetic suit used
to keep Brandt afloat or special gloves to allow you to climb buildings,
it's all quite Bondesque.
In terms of characterisation, Cruise plays the stoic agent Hunt well,
although he is quite emotionless throughout the majority of the movie.
This is put down to the "death" of his wife and how his life as an agent
has been rather painful... or it might be Cruise himself. Paula Patton
as Jane is definitely the standout actor in Ghost Protocol who portrays
a realistic agent that is struggling to cope with the death of her
romantically linked agent (Josh Holloway). She's a very good actress.
There's also a great fight scene involving Paula's character and a
female assassin called Sabine Moreau (Léa Seydoux) in the world's
tallest building in Dubai. It's great that her character is not just
used to play the damsel in distress and she plays a wide variety of
roles from professional agent to sexy temptress perfectly. Girl Power!
Finally we have Pegg as Benji, the bumbling
and comedic tech wizard who is definitely there for laughs and really
lights up the atmosphere of the sometimes too serious plot, especially
with his whacky gadgets. Unfortunately Michael Nykvist as Hendricks seem
to take a back seat in this movie and many of his motivations are kept
in the dark, especially how he managed to get the money, resources and
blindly loyal lackeys to help him destroy the world. Jeremy Renner, a
newcomer to the franchise played his role well and played the perfect
partner or sidekick to Cruise. Best of all, the ending of Mission:
Impossible - Ghost Protocol definitely opens up the franchise for
another film and fans of the previous film will enjoy the very cool
cameos at the end.
Visually, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol looks amazing at IMAX,
especially the scenes that fully utilise the IMAX technology. Whether
it's the picturesque city of Budapest at the start of the film or the
vertigo sickening scene of Tom Cruise climbing up the Burj Khalifa in
Dubai which is the world's tallest building, it really makes the movie a
much more immersive experience and definitely ignites your senses. If
there's one IMAX film that you have to see this year, it's definitely
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol as it takes a rather generic action
movie and turns it something much more interesting. Who would have thought that
Cruise and co. would still be making this franchise 15-years