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Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol – IMAX preview verdict

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Review by Rob Carnevale

OUR mission, should we have chosen to accept it, was to head to the IMAX at Waterloo on Friday morning (November 18, 2011) to check out a handful of scenes from the latest Mission: Impossible in big screen format.

Directed by Brad Bird, the Pixar luminary (and genius behind Ratatouille and The Incredibles), Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol marks his first foray into live action territory.

It also marks the arrival of Jeremy Renner into the franchise as a rumoured long-term replacement for Tom Cruise as well as the first film to have shot major action sequences in IMAX format since The Dark Knight.

Top secret questions abounded… how much would be unveiled? Could Bird hack the action scenes? Does Renner look the part? Would we succumb to vertigo?
Well, on the evidence of the 30 minutes’ worth of footage, it’s positive answers all the way.

Of the six scenes shown, two were in IMAX and both looked impressive. The first saw Tom Cruise’s IMF Agent Ethan Hunt being forced to scale the outside of the Burj Khalifa inDubai, officially the world’s tallest building, in a bid to prevent some nuclear codes from falling into the wrong hands.

The scene combined high-rise thrills with glib humour as well as nerve-testing tension. Bird’s camera captured the enormity of Hunt’s task in suitably jaw-dropping form, panning over his head for a downward shot that took the breath away, especially in screen-filling IMAX form.

It is an impressive set piece by any standards and one to rival the former vertigo-inducing sequence from Mission: Impossible II that opened that film with Tom Cruise rock-climbing.

But strong, too, was the humour used to offset the tension, with Simon Pegg’s tech geek stealing the biggest laughs and displaying an expert line in comic timing.

The second scene involved Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in a high-speed chase mid-sand storm against this instalment’s main adversary (belatedly unmasked to be The Girl With The Dragon Tattoos’s Michael Nyqvist.

It involved a lot of physicality and some surprisingly long takes, as if to provide a deliberate contrast to the rapidly cut editing of the Paul Greengrass backed Bourne franchise. But it proved that Bird knows what he’s doing with a high stakes action sequence and thrilled on every level.

Thereafter, the scenes that followed were much shorts and not in IMAX – Tom Wilkinson was seen to utter the legendary ‘your mission, should you choose to accept it’, before being ambushed in another well orchestrated set piece and Renner and Cruise got to bond while looking to complete their escape from the Wilkinson attack sequence.

Renner then enjoyed a comic line of questioning over another one of Simon Pegg’s elaborate plans to complete a mission, before then being witnessed performing said objective while Tom Cruise and fellow agent Paula Patton put the moves on another of the film’s prime suspects, Anil Kapoor.

What these scenes did do, aside from confirming Bird’s directorial ability, was underline Renner’s cool appeal (he works well alongside Cruise and seems to have a deft blend of toughness and comic vulnerability), Patton’s shapely charms and Pegg’s assured comedy timing… not to mention leaving us wanting to see the rest of the movie as soon as possible! And in IMAX form!

In that sense, then, it was Mission: Accomplished.

View the latest trailer or take a look at character posters