Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2012)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Reiner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
Extras: Documentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Opening, Digital Copy

I admit that it was hard for me to get excited about the "Mission: Impossible" franchise after the last two movies. While the original film had a certain Cold War charm about itself, resembling some of the great spy thriller classics, the two follow-ups were just disappointingly mind-numbing and stupefying action-fests without highlights or real character. The only reason I got excited at all about "Ghost Protocol" was the fact that Brad Bird directed the film. I love Brad Bird. He is a funny guy. He is smart and most importantly, he knows how to tell an engaging story with characters we care about. To me, the films he did for Pixar, for example, are by far, the studio's best movies, to date.

Now, the action genre may not be the genre you immediately associate Brad Bird with, but then again, maybe you do. "The Incredibles," was an incredible action movie – computer-animated, but a full blooded action flick nonetheless. And yet, I was truly curious how something like the "Mission: Impossible" franchise would turn out in his hands. To make it simple for you, I would say, he has delivered the best film in the entire series and has brought the franchise back to the forefront.

The story of "Ghost Protocol" revolves around the concept that the government has to deny the existence of its espionage services, and thus the president enacts the Ghost Protocol, which disbands all spy operations and sends the government into complete denial. From that point forward, all former spies are essentially killers and wanted enemies of the state.

At the heart of the story is Ethan Hawke (Tom Cruise) as the man supposedly responsible for triggering Ghost Protocol, when he was supposedly seen – and recorded – bombing the Kremlin. However, Hawke did no such thing, and for the rest of the movie he is fighting to save his reputation and find the people responsible for setting him up, and bringing the entire world to the brink of war.

Great stuff! This is the kind of story you want to see from a good spy thriller. The struggle for redemption, stakes that are incredibly high, and a political climate that is brimming with subversive hostility. Add to it a cast of characters that have solid motivations and are likable from the get-go, and you have a great movie.

Instead of putting all of his horses on even bigger action sequences that are strung along without a whole lot of common sense or care the way his predecessors did mostly, in his movie, director Brad Bird makes sure to let the story develop and simmer. After an explosive start, the movie quickly settles into an adrenaline-fueled race against time that is often spiced up with a good sense of humor. It is a sense of humor, however, which never feels out of place, stilted or simply cheap. It helps elevate the movie over the average action fest and gives it real character.

"Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol" is presented in 1080p high definition on this release in a transfer that is absolutely fabulous. Crisp and with an incredible level of detail, the transfer is a true pleasure to behold. Strong colors and deep blacks add to the presentation and give the image life and visual depth.

A bombastic DTS Master Audio track complements the movie presentation, rocking the house every chance it gets. It has incredibly aggressive surrounds that are active through the entire movie to great effect. In addition, the track's powerful bass extension makes sure you feel the action as much as hear it.

The release arrives on three discs. While the first one features only the movie itself, the second disc is filled with hours of bonus materials, including a selection of deleted scenes and an alternate opening sequence. Further you will find a large number of documentaries and featurettes on the disc, covering countless aspects of the movie and its production. Whether you're interested in learning about the staggering car crash from the film, the creation of the sandstorm, the locations in Dubai or if you just want to witness the cast and crew on the set of the movie, these featurettes are your go-to point. Nothing is left out here.

On the third disc you will find a DVD copy of the movie along with a Digital Copy. Paramount actually wen the extra mile here and offers up a real digital copy of the movie, as well as an Ultraviolet streaming copy. In a world where more and more studios forgo digital copies solely in favor of the Ultraviolet option, this is a wonderfully refreshing approach. I say this because I consider Ultraviolet to be useless, as it requires you to be connected to the Internet, which completely defeats the purpose of a "mobile" copy of the film.

I had a blast watching "Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol" and I am so happy this film turned out the way it did. Thank you, Brad Bird, for proving once again, that even action movies can be smart and heartfelt, and don't have to be dumbed down insults to viewers' intelligence. Get this film!