The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Action ballet never gets better than this

with 29 comments

Perhaps I shouldn’t bother about writing about Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

A 145 million dollar movie hardly needs any help to get the word out. But I’ve decided to write a little something about every movie I watch and so far I stick to it. Besides I loved it so much that it would feel wrong to remain silent. I’ll keep it fairly short though, as I did in the mini review I posted on the Filmspotting forum, immediately after I had watched it, since I was about to burst of enthusiasm and needed an outlet.

This is what I wrote:

“I just returned from Mission Impossible – Ghost protocol. I looked like this all night:  🙂

Entertained and thoroughly happy. It’s been way too long since last time I watched people climbing skyscrapers and blowing up stuff. In the biggest cinema in the city. Sold out. The awesomeness.”

Only afterwards did I find out that Nostra at My Filmviews had had exactly the same reaction, watching it with “a constant grin on his face”.

A ballet in disguise
Watching MI is like being in an amusement park, running all the coolest attractions but without having to endure the queues or the nausea that nowadays prevents me from trying even the smallest of merry-go-rounds. From the shock start of a wild breakout from a prison I was completely absorbed.

The scene where Tom Cruise climbs a skyscraper in Dubai by the means of magnetic devices strapped to his hands is no short of spectacular. And later on, as I watched the hero and the villain fighting in a multi level parking house, did I realize what it was that I had been enjoying all night. It was a ballet in disguise. And such a beautiful one! Action ballet never gets better than this.

This genre speaks to other senses than all those intellectual indie movies I usually stick to. The plot can be quite unimaginative; the characters don’t need to be fully fleshed out. They’re hygiene factors. Sure, you expect them to be there and do their job, but they’re not the selling point of the movie. It’s all about the visuals and the rhythm in the editing. Does it swing or doesn’t it?

Tom Cruise in tuxedo
In the case of MI there’s no question about it. It rocks. Almost everything about it rocks. I was delighted to see Jeremy Renner once again, the guy I learned to love in The Hurt Locker. In the trivia at IMDb it’s claimed that the character is created as a potential replacement for Tom Cruise’s character, in case he’ll decide to step back from the franchise. And I could definitely see Renner carrying a movie like this one. Simon Pegg is another favourite, bringing some humour to the party. And as of Tom Cruise, well, for all the appalling mumbo jumbo he’s into outside of the screen, he still rocks as an actor – as so many times before. I can think of very few actors who can wear a tuxedo as well as he can.

The only one in the cast who doesn’t rock is sadly enough Michael Nyqvist, who gives a fairly pale impression. I’m not sure Nyqvist is to blame for this; it could just be how the role is written. Perhaps a Swedish villain is supposed and rational rather than crazy and threatening?

I promised to keep it short, so I’ll stop here. Basically I could have kept down this review to just one symbol:


Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Brad Bird, US, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

February 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

29 Responses

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  1. Sounds so fun! I’m really looking forward to seeing it. 🙂

    Melissa (@oneaprilday)

    February 2, 2012 at 3:58 am

    • I think being in the right mindset helps. I went in with fairly low expectations, being generally sceptic about blockbusters. Stuff that is made to suit “everyone” can end up being a bit blant. But I was blown away. I guess I just needed one of those rides. It’s been a while.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

  2. I’d really like to check this movie out in Imax, but I have such a fear of heights that I think the skyscraper scene might make me faint.

    Dave Enkosky

    February 2, 2012 at 4:32 am

    • I have that too. I’m afraid we don’t have any Imax theatre in my city. But watching it in an ordinary but big theatre was good enough for me.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  3. Happy to hear that you liked it just as much as I did and thank you for the link love!


    February 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

    • It was fun to read your post finding exactly the same reaction as I had.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

  4. See I am going to have to give this a go now. grrr

    And I hate Cruise with a passion!! Ah well if Jessica like it I am in!

    Scott Lawlor

    February 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    • Hehe, thank you for the confidence you put into me. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it if your hate for Cruise is that strong. I only have problems with his religion. I think he’s done a lot of good stuff on the screen over the years. Minority Report and Rain Man come to mind. Among a lot of other stuff. But oh well, even if you’ll end up hating it, it’s not a waste to see it; you can always write an entertaining rant about your antagonism against TC.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      • Jessica,

        Not to get too off topic, but if you do get a chance, try finding a copy of the original Philip K. Dick story for The Minority Report. I really feel that the original short story is a bit deeper and more thought provoking than the movie was. I actually wasn’t disappointed at all by the movie – I thought elements of it were great, especially that computer that Cruise was using towards the beginning. If I could get a computer like that….

        But the original story is much more interesting. Same goes for Payback also a Dick short story. The Affleck film was fun to watch, but the original story was a bit more interesting.

        My 2 yen,



        February 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm

  5. Heya Jessica,

    Glad you liked it. I’m not sure if I’m going to add this to my list or not, as I have to agree a bit with Scott about the wacky Tom Cruise, but I figure there are movies of his that haven’t fallen off my list (mostly those that were on there before he went crazy), and I need to find a good straight action flick. This franchise has been up and down – 1 was good, if you didn’t mind them turning Mr. Phelps into a badguy, 2 was ok, and 3 was exciting (I never saw the film – didn’t hear much good about it – but it turned parts of Los Angeles a block or two from my workplace into Shanghai, China, so it’s somewhat cool in my book).

    Your description of this one makes me smile, so I might have to give this one a shot, though I’ll have to admit, it will probably be once it comes out for the home theatre. There aren’t many films coming out that I’ll be in line to see – Avengers, Iron Man 3, and The Hobbit come to mind. It’s got to be something that shines on the big screen (and Mi4 might, given your review). We’ll have to see – movie theaters aren’t cheap right now, especially the food, and not nearly as comfy as my couch.

    But you’ve piqued my interest. We’ll see!

    My 2 yen,



    February 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

    • And Dark Knight Rising! How could I forget that!


      February 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

    • Well, this kind of movies certainly improves a lot with a big screen. It just wouldn’t be the same at my small TV at home. To be perfectly honest I can’t remember much of the previous parts in this franchise. It all melds together in a blur. And before soon I’ll probably have forgotten the specifics about this one. They’re very much easy come-easy go. But my, how fun they are while they last!

      As of movies I look forward to in 2012 everything else is overshadowed by my number one: The Hobbit.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  6. I can’t wait to catch this on BluRay. Great review Jess, and I’m looking forward to watching this with a big grin on my face too!!

    Rodney Twelftree

    February 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

  7. I think I’m in the minority the world over that didn’t hate MI4, but wasn’t totally enamoured with it. Sure there were some decent action set pieces, but I was never blown away with it. The visuals just felt very “normal” for an action film. To me. Maybe I’m just becoming too jaded!


    February 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    • Well I admit that I don’t watch a lot of action movies, so I probably was a little starved for it. I was completely blown away, but maybe I wouldn’t have if I’d been more of an action movie film goer.


      February 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      • Maybe I’m a little over-exposed to them! It could work either way. I think there are definitely better, smarter and more action packed action films out there. My brain’s having a bit of a moment trying to think of any, but there are!


        February 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

  8. Lovely review, Lobby. MI4 really is a blast.

    I only wish you could have seen it in full IMAX. Those scenes hanging off the Burj Kalifa basically make your stomach drop. With the screen so big and the clarity so sharp it really looks like you’re about to fall thousands of feet to the ground.

    The great thing about seeing it in IMAX is you really get a sense for how good a director Brad Bird is. Those scenes are so big and so epic, but it also feels like you’re right in the middle of them. Bird puts you there, right next to Cruise in every moment. And it’s never shaky and confusing. He’s a confident director, and MI4 is about as confident a live-action debut as has ever been done.

    So glad you liked the movie.

    PS. Isn’t being Swedish evil enough 😉

    Corey Atad

    February 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    • Thanks Corey! Yeah it sucks we don’t have a full IMAX theatre in my town. Still just watching it in our biggest premier theatre was a true blast.

      I suppose the best thing about Swedish villains is that it’s a change to all those Russians we’ve seen over the years.


      February 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      • Brad “I won an Oscar for my voice in The Incredibles” Bird? I didn’t know he was directing this! Being a fan of The Incredibles, maybe I do need to see this one.

        Thanks Corey, for illuminating that fact about this movie.

        My 2 yen,



        February 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      • So many Russians! MI4 has its cake and eats it too, though. It’s got a Swedish borkbork villain, but they also blow up the Kremlin.

        Corey Atad

        February 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

        • Indeed. And in what a manner! I really loved that. For some strange reason I wasn’t quite prepared for it.


          February 3, 2012 at 7:39 am

  9. Hmm, I feel like I am the last to not have seen this! Must do so, very soon!
    I did like the part 3! 🙂

    Have a nice weekend!


    February 10, 2012 at 11:05 am

    • I’m not even sure I watched part 3 tbh. Been long, hasn’t it? Anyway I thought this one was enjoyable.


      February 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

  10. It is a blast to watch. If you want some even better action ballet, check out some Asian action films. They make sword combat look so elegant and beautiful.

    James Blake Ewing

    February 23, 2012 at 4:11 am

    • Please go ahead with recommendaitons! I’m a practitioner of iaiod (Japanese swords art) and I would love to see some movies with good swordfighting.


      February 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

      • Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the first two that come to mind. I also enjoyed Detective Dee from last year.

        I also think some of the gun-play is really elegant. John Woo’s Hardboiled and Once a Thief has some sleek shootouts.

        James Blake Ewing

        February 24, 2012 at 4:13 am

        • Crouching tiger has been on my horizon for a long time. I’ve got a DVD somewhere that I recorded from TV. Hopefully it works even if we’ve changed DVD player since.


          February 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

  11. […] Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol gave me exactly the kind of spectacular ride that you expect from a big budget action movie. Action ballet at its best. […]

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