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 Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011

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Loomis
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:55 am

Harmsway wrote:

If the action sequences in GHOST PROTOCOL deliver, that alone will be enough to put it over M:I-3 in my book. Tried watching that not too long ago and found it to be pure agony.

Yeah, that's exactly what I thought of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III when I tried to watch it the other day. I gave up about halfway through.

In fact, it made me decide to skip GHOST PROTOCOL, but things like the following review on AICN reassure me that GHOST PROTOCOL does, at least, deliver in terms of coherent and engaging (my italics) action scenes:

When it comes to action films, the most important aspect of any action sequence is spatial geography. It must be easy to determine where the principals are in relation to each other and to the events we're witnessing on screen. Too many action films these days rely on the camera to provide the intensity and not enough on the actual set-up or even if the scene itself propels the story. That's why I dislike shakycam action - it often seems that the camera has turned the scene into something incoherent because the filmmakers simply don't understand the principle that the audience must be able to understand what's going on, and that they have clear visual markers to be able to follow the events on screen. If we can't make sense of what we're seeing, that's the fault of the filmmaker in not showing us clearly how events are occurring. Too many filmmakers have forgotten that.

You'd think that with today's gigabudget action films the action scenes would have gotten better, not worse, but just look at the output of one Michael Bay, who seems to think that, to paraphrase Napoleon in TIME BANDITS, that all we like is big things hitting each other. It didn't used to be this way. Watch the assault on Aqaba in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. At no point is it unclear what's going on - in fact David Lean's camera goes back and takes it all in, and the result is still one of the most impressive action sequences in cinema history. I'm not saying Brad Bird is anything close to David Lean, but with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL, he proves with one film that he is a master of action cinema, shooting scenes with such clarity and coherency that we always know what is going on. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL is pure action cinema - fun, coherent, and always moving with a purpose. Not only is it the best film of the franchise, it might be the best shot action film of the year. ... And then we come to Brad Bird, who orchestrates the action like a master conductor. Each sequence raises the stakes, and the film flows perfectly, splitting up each sequence among the various characters. His intercuts are perfectly timed and it's obvious Bird used his considerable skills with animation to make the movie flow. There's no fat on this film. None. And Bird knows how to commit to the quiet moments just as well as the bombastic action scenes. The result is an action film in which we care about the characters, and although I'm in no way comparing the two, I was strongly reminded of DIE HARD in how Bird sets up each scene geographically and how the plot is propelled forward.


http://www.aintitcool.com/node/52297

High praise indeed. Another AICN reviewer enthuses:

Director Bird does a spectacular job staging some of the most elaborate action sequences I've seen all year, and he does so in a way that they actually make sense, especially the extended centerpiece set in and outside the the tallest building in the world, which Ethan must partially scale to gain access to its security mainframe. Words cannot describe the stomach turning that will occur as your watch Cruise crawl up the side of this building in the IMAX format (no 3D, mind you; it's not necessary). The scene is almost a metaphor for the rest of the film, which is to say that it is concentrated suspense that dazzles both the eyes and the mind. But even in just some nice establishing shots of a new picturesque city Hunt and Co. are about to do damage in, Bird opens up the frame to IMAX size and gives us a gorgeous view. GHOST PROTOCOL feels clear-headed and sensical, even at its most outrageous.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/52307
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Jack Wade
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:32 am

Yup. The IMAX is a real treat, especially since there's no goddamn shaky cam or quick cuts in the set pieces.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:54 am

I haven't seen it but from the vibe I am getting Bird has regained a lost art - the return of the genuinely coherent action scene.....which has to be a good thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:25 am

FourDot wrote:
How can you "waste" Nykvist? The guy has no discernible screen charisma.
In GHOST PROTOCOL, he has no discernable screen time.

FourDot wrote:
These films do not take place in the real world. It's not the focus or intent of a Mission: Impossible film to create scenarios that are in any way likely or reflect actual espionage practices and situations Honestly, I think taking issue with the films because Hunt is to some degree impervious to permanent physical damage to be kinda missing the point - the suspense in Ghost Protocol is generated by minute errors in the plan, and malfunctioning equipment, or an external force coming into play at an inconvenient moment, or something as simple as Hunt not being able to reach a briefcase that's been kicked under a car, although it's just inches away.
I'm aware of that. I'm also aware of the concept of suspension of disbelief. And while I could take most of GHOST PROTOCOL, I always felt it always went one step too far. The scenes would have worked jsut as well if Cruise had not smacked his head than if he did.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:49 pm

Quote :
If the action sequences in GHOST PROTOCOL deliver, that alone will be enough to put it over M:I-3 in my book. Tried watching that not too long ago and found it to be pure agony.

They were bad enough for me to rank it below MI2. Gunfight in warehouse. Gunfight in warehouse. Vatican sequence. Gunfight in warehouse. Rinse repeat.

I understand the line about it being a Mission Impossible film and not really aiming for realism, though it frustrates me in so far as everything in the DePalma film (which is still by far the best, IMO) up until the helicopter was going for and achieving suspended disbelief this could happen in the real world, whereas the later ones just involve flat out suspension of disbelief.

It isn't wrong in and of itself, but it is a little frustrating.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:53 pm

How is the M:I theme used in this film?

Remixed by M&M and Ludacris, I presume?
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:23 pm

Vesper wrote:
Quote :
If the action sequences in GHOST PROTOCOL deliver, that alone will be enough to put it over M:I-3 in my book. Tried watching that not too long ago and found it to be pure agony.

They were bad enough for me to rank it below MI2. Gunfight in warehouse. Gunfight in warehouse. Vatican sequence. Gunfight in warehouse. Rinse repeat.

I've always felt M:I-2 to be unjustly maligned.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:28 pm

Loomis wrote:
Vesper wrote:
Quote :
If the action sequences in GHOST PROTOCOL deliver, that alone will be enough to put it over M:I-3 in my book. Tried watching that not too long ago and found it to be pure agony.

They were bad enough for me to rank it below MI2. Gunfight in warehouse. Gunfight in warehouse. Vatican sequence. Gunfight in warehouse. Rinse repeat.

I've always felt M:I-2 to be unjustly maligned.

Same here. It's a fun ride. If nothing else, it's got style, a sense of fun and surprising gravitas (thanks to Dougray Scott, Hans Zimmer and a scene stealing performance by an uncredited white dove).
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:56 pm

Dougray Scott is a total bore. There's a good reason that career didn't take off.

I remember watching Enigma and continually wondering "Where's Northam? He's watchable." which is depressing. (Not unlike watching Tokyo Drift, where Lucas Black's complete lack of any discernible screen presence actually had me yearning for the halcyon days when Paul Walker headed the franchise. I think that's the point where you kill yourself).
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:11 pm

Loomis wrote:
Vesper wrote:
Quote :
If the action sequences in GHOST PROTOCOL deliver, that alone will be enough to put it over M:I-3 in my book. Tried watching that not too long ago and found it to be pure agony.

They were bad enough for me to rank it below MI2. Gunfight in warehouse. Gunfight in warehouse. Vatican sequence. Gunfight in warehouse. Rinse repeat.

I've always felt M:I-2 to be unjustly maligned.

It is what it is. It does stylish action film better than M:I-3 does. Thandie Newton had more charm than any of the female characters in the last film even if she was less attractive. I'd say it's maligned for much the same reason Diamonds Are Forever is, judged not so much on its own merits as what people expect of it. I know it got a lot of praise when it came out, but I thought M:I-3 was a mess of a film. It felt like an overlong episode of ALIAS, and if you'd ask me I'd say any episode of ALIAS was overlong to begin with. And if it wanted to be brainless fun, then it went off the mark with the various subplots and over-dramatising of certain moments.

Even if the overarching plot is bunk (and it still sounds like it is) I'm glad to hear there's more creativity at play in this one.

Also I loathe Simon Pegg and the moment Hollywood stops trying to shove him down our throats the better. He's Ricky Gervais 2.0. The same schtick repeated ad infinitum.

That's the one thing I will continue to hold against the newer films: the quality of the supporting cast. The first film had Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Jean Reno and Jon Voight for christ's sake laugh. The last two have seemed to been cast by picking headshots of by-the-numbers supporting tv actors displaced since their tv shows got cancelled. Even without de Palma having them lining up at the auditions they have to be able to do better than that.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:07 pm

Saw Ghost Protocol in true IMAX yesterday. Good action ride, almost a hybrid of the three MI films. The breathtaking action sequences of 2 without the stupidity, the intriguing plot of 1 without the mess, and the emotional content of 3 without the sappiness.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:12 pm

Vesper wrote:
It felt like an overlong episode of ALIAS, and if you'd ask me I'd say any episode of ALIAS was overlong to begin with.
Be afraid. be very afraid. The two guys who wrote GHOST PROTOCOL - Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum - got their start writing for "Alias". And "Alias" was their only notable screenwriting credit before GHOST PROTOCOL.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:23 pm

Mr. Brown wrote:
How is the M:I theme used in this film?

Remixed by M&M and Ludacris, I presume?
The only problem with the theme is that it's overused.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:56 am

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
Vesper wrote:
It felt like an overlong episode of ALIAS, and if you'd ask me I'd say any episode of ALIAS was overlong to begin with.
Be afraid. be very afraid. The two guys who wrote GHOST PROTOCOL - Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum - got their start writing for "Alias". And "Alias" was their only notable screenwriting credit before GHOST PROTOCOL.

Yeah but supposedly there's a more than middling-at-best director at the helm this time. Not to mention there's no telling how many uncredited rewrites were done on this script. On films and tv comedies the credit itself isn't always the best indicator of who wrote the thing. By most accounts the action sequences are much, much better and there isn't a contrived, mediocrely acted, melodramatic personal subplot. Going by the trailers the overaching plot seems to be a weak rehash of the first film, but I conceded I wasn't expecting that to be particularly good. I'll have to see the film before I judge whether it's egregious.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:56 am

Sharky wrote:
Same here. It's a fun ride. If nothing else, it's got style, a sense of fun and surprising gravitas (thanks to Dougray Scott, Hans Zimmer and a scene stealing performance by an uncredited white dove).
Style, I'll give ya. But I kinda hate Zimmer's work on M:I-2, so I think the score is more of a liability than an asset.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:09 am

Harmsway wrote:
Sharky wrote:
Same here. It's a fun ride. If nothing else, it's got style, a sense of fun and surprising gravitas (thanks to Dougray Scott, Hans Zimmer and a scene stealing performance by an uncredited white dove).

Style, I'll give ya. But I kinda hate Zimmer's work on M:I-2, so I think the score is more of a liability than an asset.

I love it. Operatic, lyrical and very memorable. It's never dull or wallpaper-like in the way Giacchino and Elfman's efforts have been. It's also not overly reliant on Schifrin's theme, which is good.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:11 am

Memorable? That's the last word I'd use to describe it. A lot of droning and dull guitar stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:16 am

Heitor Pereira's guitar work is never dull.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:18 am

Sharky wrote:
Heitor Pereira's guitar work is never dull.
In that film, it is, because Zimmer doesn't give him anything worthwhile to play.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:43 am

Jack Wade wrote:
Mr. Brown wrote:
How is the M:I theme used in this film?

Remixed by M&M and Ludacris, I presume?
The only problem with the theme is that it's overused.

It's orchestral, though?
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:05 am

Vesper wrote:
Yeah but supposedly there's a more than middling-at-best director at the helm this time. Not to mention there's no telling how many uncredited rewrites were done on this script. On films and tv comedies the credit itself isn't always the best indicator of who wrote the thing. By most accounts the action sequences are much, much better and there isn't a contrived, mediocrely acted, melodramatic personal subplot. Going by the trailers the overaching plot seems to be a weak rehash of the first film, but I conceded I wasn't expecting that to be particularly good. I'll have to see the film before I judge whether it's egregious.
For all my criticisms of the film, I do have to admit that the action sequences are shot very, very well. Brad Bird has a very good understanding of how the audience perceives spaces - ie where everything is relative to everything else - but he does it without losing the scale of the scene. For example, it would be very easy to use some camera trickery for the Burj Khalifa scenes to make it look bigger and more exciting than it actually was, but Bird plays it pretty straight. He trusts that the scenes are exciting enough on their own, and that they don't need a helping hand to make the more exciting.

There is, however, a melodramatic subplot. I think the intention was to show the dynamics of the team when they are faced with enormous pressure (no backup, the fate of the world at stake, not really knowing one another, etc.), but the problem is that three of them are essentially dealing with the same problem, though they are at different stages of handling it. Simon Pegg is the only actor whose character gets his own little arc, and it's handled reasonably well because it's consistent with his character in M:I3, but the others are all interchangable. You could probably cut Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton out of the film without affecting things too much. The only reason why there are four people is because four people are needed to carry out the assignment.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:07 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
Jack Wade wrote:
Mr. Brown wrote:
How is the M:I theme used in this film?

Remixed by M&M and Ludacris, I presume?
The only problem with the theme is that it's overused.

It's orchestral, though?

Yes, but with Giacchino that don't mean jack shit. He doesn't know how to use a symphony orchestra for its full potential.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:16 am

Harmsway wrote:
Sharky wrote:
Heitor Pereira's guitar work is never dull.

In that film, it is, because Zimmer doesn't give him anything worthwhile to play.

There's some great ad lib wailing guitar stuff, usually serving as a quasi-counterpoint to the main melody. Ambrose's theme is superb, as is the funky MI theme arrangement here:





Stirring (ablate somewhat overblown) stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:29 am

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
but the problem is that three of them are essentially dealing with the same problem,

Not really. One of them wants revenge, one of them believes he has failed already (and has been unceremoniously demoted) and is guilt ridden because of that failure, and one of them is immature and slightly cowardly, and won't be taken seriously until he turns that around.

Different problems, which all ultimately tie into the unprepared/inadequate/makeshift nature of the team. All provide individual motivation (and character) though, which is something of a first for the series.
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PostSubject: Re: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol ::: December 16, 2011   Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:25 am

I found them to be very similar. I got the sense that they were all supposed to be similar, but because they were all at different stages of dealing with it, they could identify with one another and use that to become more of a coherent whole. But I think it was done very poorly.

I would have much preferred if Jeremy Renner was Ghost Protocol - in the event of an incident like the Kremlin bombing, the IMF would be disavowed and a team would be allowed to escape in order to operate outside the agency ... but Brandt would be placed with them, with orders to kill them if anything they did could be traced back to the US. And give Ethan the knowledge of what Ghost Protocol calls for, keeping it from Benji and Carter. Something like that. Let Hunt help Carter through her problems because he's been there, but having three people all tied together was jsut redundant.
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