MI: Ghost Protocol Review

So I saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol recently. I’m not much a fan of the property, I’ve only seen the first film and I’ve never seen even a second of the TV show, but there were several reasons I was determined to see Ghost Protocol. First, it is directed by Brad Bird, the man behind two of my all time favorite films: The Incredibles and the Iron Giant (he also did Ratatouille, but I don’t like it quite as much). I believe this is his first live action film and I wanted to see how he handled it. The trailers also made it look like a stylish, slick action movie. I like those. Lastly, it features the acting talents of Simon Pegg, one of the few actors that can get me to almost any movie. Ghost Protocol delivered all that I wanted in a sleek, entertaining package.

Ghost Protocol is, of course, a spy movie. While there is some inherent twisting and turning, outside of one big twist that drives much of the film most of the revelations and reveals are personal, only tangentially related to the mission. Without the usual spy movie labyrinthine plot, Ghost Protocal must rely on the quality of its cast and supposedly impossible missions. The cast is a good one. I already love Simon Pegg, and ignoring off screen weirdness, Tom Cruise is a very entertaining leading man. The rest of the cast acquits itself well, too. The missions are suitably extraordinary and entertaining. More than most action movies, Ghost Protocol gives a sort of behind the scenes look at what is going on. It is as much about the team setting up as it is the execution of the plans. It helps that the action is cleanly and clearly filmed. Bird wisely eschews that shaky-cam nonsense that has ruined the recent Bond films.

The plot, while not particularly complex is too convenient at times. People just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and there is one nonsensical use of a secret identity, but the action carries it over any rough patches. Tom Cruise is still a legitimate action star in several nice fights scenes and really good sandstorm chase scene that, despite being about a terrible blinding sandstorm is still clear.

In the end, Ghost Protocol is not quite a great movie. While all of it is well made, it just doesn’t come together as something truly memorable. All of the pieces are there, and it is hard to pinpoint a true flaw, but somehow the whole thing feels a bit empty. Ghost Protocol is just about as good a popcorn movie as anyone could expect, and is absolutely a movie worth seeing.

***½ Stars

Blogging plans for 2012

Yeah, I took a week off with the new year. I have plenty of big things planned for the blog in 2012. My goal for the year is 150 posts, which is actually a few less than last year. I just don’t see myself having the time I had last year to write here. Also, I think aiming for slightly fewer posts will help me make the rest better. We’ll see about that.

I intend to continue my monthly projects, like Video Game Archaeology and What I Read. I would like to bring back the comic book character spotlights, but those are a lot of work and will probably have to wait until the second half of the year. There will still be movie reviews and frequent video game thoughts. Most of the stuff I did last year. I don’t plan to continue doing comic issue reviews. I’ve just never been comfortable reviewing incomplete chunks of stories. I do want to keep writing about comics, but I don’t like the review format.

As far as new things, I have planned a complete reread of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series to coincide with the release of the final book later this year. I also am planning a series of posts as a complement to VGA that will look at popular, important games, starting with a replay of the entire Legend of Zelda series. Another new thing is my planned continued reread of the Johns/Goyer JSA, the first part of which I’ve already posted.

One last change is that I’d like to make my blog a bit more personal. It is my blog, damnit, I want to write about me. I still plan to focus on video games and other supremely unimportant things, the subtitle to this blog is still my mission statement, but possibly a more me-centric way.