Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mission: Impossible, Ghost Protocol

I wanted to love this movie. I'm a long-time fan of the Mission: Impossible movies and even the old TV series. I loved Brad Bird's work as director on Ratatouille and The Incredibles. I was in the mood for fast-paced action. I figured this one to be the one sure film of the holidays for me.

I did enjoy it, but I didn't love it.

Three factors stopped the movie from being all it could have been.

The first was Tom Cruise's performance. The charm and humor he used to great effect in Knight and Day never appeared here. Instead, he showed two looks: the quick smile, and the scowl. Both are fine, but eventually you want more from a performance.

The second was how little the film surprised us. From the first time each character appears, you know who the character will be and how he or she will act. The plot jets down a completely telegraphed plot line. I don't mind knowing the good guys will win, but it would be nice for at least some of the details of the victory to be surprises.

The final weakness came from some combination of the writers and Bird: Each scene ran a little too long, as if they always wanted to put just one more obstacle between the good guys and the next stage of the plot. I'm all for making things difficult, but in this movie I found myself repeatedly wanting to advance to the next key event.

Despite these issues, I did, as I noted, still enjoy the movie as the brainless thrill ride it is supposed to be. I might even watch it again one day, if only to see if my first impressions hold.

I just didn't love it.

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