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Trailer Review: Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol

By / Posted on 07 November 2011

Mission: Impossible—Ghost ProtocolIt’s easy to hate on Tom Cruise, what with all the tabloid shenanigans. It’s also easy to hate on the Mission: Impossible film franchise, particularly remembering the PR quagmire of the third film, with Tom Cruise refusing to do any media promotion, focusing instead on boycotting South Park for its statements regarding Scientology. Most importantly, it’s easy to forget that these films are largely very good action movies and that Tom Cruise is one hell of a good actor. If he could just stop seeming so insane in television interviews we’d all remember how much we loved him in A Few Good Men, The Last Samurai, Born on the Fourth of July and Tropic Thunder (Jerry Maguire omitted for being the character most likely to flip out in the way we’ve recently come to expect of Cruise). On top of that, it’s easy to forget that Mission: Impossible III—which nobody saw thanks to headline news at the time being Tom Cruise’s instability—was J.J. Abrams’ first feature film. That’s right, the guy who gave us Super 8 and Star Trek also gave us Mission: Impossible III. And the bad guy was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sounds amazing now, doesn’t it? You totally want to see that movie now, don’t you? Well stop, because there’s a new Mission: Impossible in town, and it has so much more potential to blow you away.

First off, the film is co-produced by Cruise and Abrams, so it looks to have all the polish and intensity of the third film without the John Woo-helmed second installment’s needless showmanship. Secondly, Ghost Protocol is the first live-action feature film by Brad Bird, director of the massive animated epics The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, as well as the diminutive and adorable Ratatouille. If there’s anything Bird has proven in those films, it’s an appreciation for scale, which Mission: Impossible needs in order to make everything seem so… impossible. Third, hell, just look at this trailer:

Tom Wilkinson’s car gets shot up and drowned? Why would anybody want to hurt Tom Wilkinson? Simon Pegg’s on the team? And there seems to be a decent amount of Tom Cruise running as fast as he can away from things exploding right behind him. Who doesn’t want to see that? No more of that cliché slow-motion walking away from explosions. Run! Things are exploding! Right behind you! Add to that the classic espionage concepts of being disavowed by the government you work for, having no backup, no contingency plans, and generally not knowing who to trust, even amongst your own colleagues. These tropes keep recurring in spy action movies for a reason: they are compelling.

It’s not often we get excited about a blockbuster action movie, but the combination of Abrams and Bird has us sold here, and the action looks utterly satisfying. Besides, we could stand to get some more Jeremy Renner in our lives leading up to his role as Hawkeye in next year’s The Avengers. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol is in theaters December.

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Derrick Sanskrit has produced critically-acclaimed work as an artist and writer for Nerve, Babble, Pitchfork, The Onion and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, among others. He founded The Pop Aesthetic during the coldest months of his life in 2010.