An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-12-31 08:15
Subject: [movies] Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Security: Public
Tags:movies, personal
Yesterday, H— came over and took me to the movies to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocolimdb ]. Honestly, I'd given up on the MI reboot after the first one, due to some of what [info]scalzi calls "flying snowmen". Specifically, the helicopter flying into the Chunnel near the end of the first movie pegged my "no effing way" meter so far into the red that I didn't bother to go see any of the sequels.

What drew me to Ghost Protocol was a desire to see the Burj Dubai stunts on the big screen. Really, that was about it. Somewhat to my surprise, I was actually quite entertained by the whole movie. Including the Burj Dubai stunts, though they triggered my age-related vertigo hard. If I'd been watching this movie in 3D instead of hi-def digital (which is sort of IMAX-lite), I think I'd have thrown up. That's a compliment, by the way.

You don't ask many plot questions of a movie like this, because the answers never hold up on sober consideration, but I did finish the movie in a state of serious puzzlement over one in-story issue. (Mild spoiler alert.) How did they get from a railroad car in Moscow to the Dubai desert, with all their gear, given that the entire Russian state security apparatus was hunting the MI team, and their own IMF support was completely flatlined? The script doesn't even pretend to address this question, just cuts us from one scene to the next with no resolution. (Not to mention which everyone involved in the Dubai business started out in either Budapest or Moscow — they could have met up in Warsaw and saved themselves a lot of hassle.)

If you like action/caper/thriller movies, this was a lot of fun. There were some snowmen in the movie for me, but they never quite took off flying. And pay no attention to the stupidly egregious product placement from Apple and BMW. Turn off your brain, turn on the popcorn bucket, and watch the pretty people do dangerous things.

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Twilight: Scarlet Witch
User: twilight2000
Date: 2011-12-31 16:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Scarlet Witch
Amusingly, my "Flying Snowman" had to do with what they did with Phelps. My "No Effing Way" alarm went off so hard I could barely finish the 1st movie. Sad too - because it had been a decent "reboot" before that.

I may just have to watch this one - it's getting a lot of good response I don't remember seeing for #'s 2 & 3 ;>.
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User: mastadge
Date: 2011-12-31 16:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The thing about the Mission: Impossible films is that it's not a franchise that's in love with its own continuity (or "mythology" as it seems trendy to call it these days). Like the Alien films, each movie in the franchise basically stands alone and showcases its director's style rather than adhering to a producer's formula (as, for instance, the Marvel Comics or James Bond films often do). If you enjoyed Ghost Protocol, I'd also recommend checking out M:I:III -- it's in the similar vein of live action cartoon action thriller stuff.
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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2011-12-31 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah, at first, I wasn't impressed when I saw there was going to be a MI4, but then I saw that Brad Bird was running the show, and Simon Pegg was in it, so I'm going to have to check it out.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-12-31 17:03 (UTC)
Simon Pegg is freaking hilarious in that movie, btw. If you're a Pegg fan, it's worth it for that alone.
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User: madrobins
Date: 2011-12-31 18:09 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
I just adore Simon Pegg. The scene where they're walking through the Kremlin made me chortle.

I credit a lot of the movie's success (and I liked it a lot--it's a Golden Retriever movie: big, gorgeous, dumb, eager to please) to Brad Bird, who manages to hit all the oh-no-he-didn't notes, and inject a certain sweetness to it. If someone had described the end to me (will not spoil it here) I would have been annoyed, but the way it was directed, it managed to be sweet rather than bathetic.

And Danny, who is a see-it-once sort of guy, wants to see it again (this has nothing to do with his credit in the Skywalker Sound section...)
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User: swan_tower
Date: 2011-12-31 18:56 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
As far as I'm concerned, that movie was the Simon Pegg Show Featuring Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Some Other People Who Are Okay But Let's Get Back to the Other Two.

Seriously, I would sign up for a movie just about those two characters.
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Bruce E. Durocher II
User: bedii
Date: 2011-12-31 18:07 (UTC)
Subject: MI: III worth it for one scene alone.
I'm a major film fan, but I'm also probably overly picky: I spent half of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows wondering why the hell the gypsies were playing a violin rendition of the Ennio Morricone theme for a Sergio Leone western instead of watching things blown up or shot up.

This being said, there was one scene in MI: III that made it worth every damn cent I'd paid to get in. What was unusual was that the scene violated Durocher's Movie Rule #1: If you walk out of the film talking about a thing in the movie instead of a person, the story, or an event the movie has failed. (Waterworld: "Nice Boat!" Spawn: "Nice Cape!" Batman and Robin: "Nice Island!")

Here's the setup. The original series loved, loved, LOVED rubber faces. (There were a few in I: I didn't see II.) It brings to mind a comment Twain made about Cooper's writing: "Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn't step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn't satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can't do it, go and borrow one."

O.K. So there's a plot complication in MI: III that will require a rubber face. So someone shows up with a metal box/case that's obviously been knocked around in transit for a long time, and opens it up to reveal that...

..it's a Rubber Face Making Machine. A RFMM that was designed for the movie by Syd Mead, one of the greatest industrial designers of the 20th Century and maybe beyond. A RFMM which, by the time the sequence is over, absolutely sells you that a Rubber Face Making Machine is a reasonable and practical device that you should run out and buy, right now.
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Jay Lake: tech-x4449_lamp
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-12-31 18:12 (UTC)
Subject: Re: MI: III worth it for one scene alone.
I believe the RFFM makes an appearance in MI:GP, but only to tragically malfunction at the last minute. And it's cool there, too.
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User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2011-12-31 19:32 (UTC)
Subject: Re: MI: III worth it for one scene alone.
I hope I wasn't the only person thinking of "Darkman" when seeing the RFFM ;-)
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User: voidampersand
Date: 2011-12-31 18:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was working at Apple when MI:1 came out. We had a big department meeting in a nearby movie theater. (The conference center on campus was nice but not big enough.) After the meeting they rolled the film. Lots of cheering for the egregious product placement. Those were tough times and the very small Apple team in Hollywood were awesome, a real bright spot.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-12-31 18:42 (UTC)
Good for them. (That's serious, not sarcasm.) Heck, I'm an Apple fanboy myself, and have a positive image of the BMW brand as well, but I thought the product placement in MI:GP really was silly.

(BTW, I feel the same way about production sequences in movies that are obviously meant to feed the video game tie-in.)
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User: msconduct
Date: 2011-12-31 21:29 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
I once dated someone who was such a supreme fanboy that he thought the egregious placement of Apple in so many TV series and movies was because the set dressers loved Apple products too. He refused to believe in the concept of product placement until I showed him the name of Apple's Head of Product Placement. And even then I think he secretly still has his doubts. Kool-Aid, anyone?
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