Tom Cruise takes the action to new heights in “Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol.” I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Mubi.com.
And I’m Christy Lemire of The Associated Press. Our first movie, should you choose to accept it, is "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol," the fourth film in the Tom Cruise action franchise. Don't let the horrible title throw you -- this is the best film in the series yet. Cruise is back as super spy Ethan Hunt, only this time he's been disavowed by the agency over a case of mistaken identity. And so he must track down and stop a global nuclear terrorist with no official help.
That's Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner as two of the members of Ethan's ragtag team; Paula Patton plays the third. "Ghost Protocol" skips around the globe from Budapest to Moscow to Dubai to Mumbai, where the team goes undercover at a lavish party to stop a potentially deadly satellite transmission.
But what would a modern action movie be without a little girl-on-girl action? Patton gets into a vicious knockdown fight with a sexy French assassin played by Lea Seydoux.
Brad Bird, director of "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille" takes over this time with his first live-action feature, and the results are dazzling. That's especially true in IMAX if you can find it -- it's very much worth seeking out. The sweeping aerial shots and elaborate stunts and set pieces are just spectacular but the film as a whole moves really beautifully. It's got tension, gadgets, disguises, Simon Pegg provides some humor, and the sight of Tom Cruise running is always good for a laugh. Just a fun, thrilling escape all around. Thumbs up from me.
IGNATIY: Now, I know I saw you in the same theater with me, but somehow I still can’t believe that we saw the same movie.
CHRISTY: You did not have fun at this movie?
IGNATIY: I like Brad Bird.
IGNATIY: I like the Mission Impossible movies. This movie has maybe one great sequence.
CHRISTY: Which is?
IGNATIY: The Dubai sequence.
IGNATIY: And a few very good ideas, and then, the rest of it is totally lackluster. I think it moves…
IGNATIY: First of all I think it moves really really poorly. I think the film is incredibly choppy and clunky. I mean you do have this very- this very beautiful sequence. I’ll admit it’s very good, but then much of the rest of the film is kind of told in these, uh, chunks. I mean and the ending is just such a dud.
CHRISTY: Well they’re set pieces, right, and what do you want realism in them? Would that have made you happy? Like realism in a Mission Impossible film, is that your problem here?
IGNATIY: No, no, no and in fact this is, you know, and maybe this owes a bit to Brad Bird’s animation background. This is the cartooniest of the Mission Impossible movies.
CHRISTY: Is that a bad thing?
IGNATIY: No, I actually like cartoony-ness. What I don’t like are all these long scenes of exposition and theme and character development.
IGNATIY: Like for example, the epilogue to the film or this whole backstory involving the conflict between the Tom Cruise character and the Jeremy Renner character.
CHRISTY: It gives us some substance.
IGNATIY: It doesn’t give it any substance whatsoever.
CHRISTY: You want them all to be just like these vapid great looking, muscular types with no characterization to them at all?
IGNATIY: No, no, no, no! Here’s the thing Brad Bird, I think, is a guy who is really good at handling emotional material normally. I don’t know what’s going on in this film because it’s completely missing. It’s like they shoot themselves in the foot with that Dubai sequence cause they never manage to match its energy or its rhythm.
CHRISTY: The prison break at the very very beginning is a ton of fun. It is cartoony as you say but even just the first huge shot of Budapest, especially in Imax, it is jaw dropping. It’s beautiful. This is a gorgeous film and very very fun, and it moves really well.
IGNATIY: I think it’s only occasionally, though. I think a lot of the time it looks really ordinary. It feels just like another run-of-the-mill…
CHRISTY: Robert Elswit shot this; Oscar winner for There Will Be Blood, Robert Elswit.
IGNATIY: It’s a…not his best work. Not his best work. Not his best work.