Tags: Anil Kapoor, Brad Bird, Digital Copy, IMAX, J.J. Abrams, Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, Lea Seydoux, Michael Nyqvist, Mission: Impossible, Paramount, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Tom Cruise, UltraViolet, Vladimir Mashkov
has an average rating of 7.6 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 7.1
are great and ALL in Hi-Def…
– 133 minutes
Street Date: April 17th, 2012
Overall Verdict – Amazing Film & Presentation
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is the fourth film in the movie franchise based on the original TV series of the same title created by Bruce Geller; which ran from 1966 through 1973. The previous three films in the franchise are listed below:
- “Mission: Impossible” (1996) directed by Brian De Palma
- “Mission: Impossible II” (2000) directed by John Woo
- “Mission: Impossible III” (2006) directed by J.J. Abrams
This fourth film was produced by J.J. Abrams who directed the previous film and was originally slated to direct this one. Due to scheduling conflicts J.J. wasn’t able to direct the film or be as closely as involved as he’d liked but instead they opted for a new director; one making his live-action directorial debut none-the-less. Directing this film you have the always amazing Brad Bird, best known for previously directing animated films like “The Iron Giant” (1999) as well as two films at Pixar: “The Incredibles” (2004) and “Ratatouille” (2007). Those latter two films both won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.
Tom Cruise is not only back to produce (just as he had with the previous three films in the franchise) but most importantly he is back to reprise his lead role of “Ethan Hunt” — the agent of “IMF” (Impossible Missions Force). A lot has happened to Ethan’s character over the course of the three previous films. He’s been disavowed a few times by his own agency, backstabbed by his mentor, found lady friends; one of which he eventually married in the third film. This film starts off with his wife being nowhere to be found and rumors amongst his colleagues about what happened to his wife (or perhaps marriage). We find Ethan being held captive in a Moscow prison as things in the film start up after an opening sequence involving another IMF agent being killed. A team of agents have been sent to extract Ethan from prison including “Benji Dunn” (played by Simon Pegg) who most of you will remember for his brief role in the third film and another agent by the name of “Jane Carter” (played by Paula Patton) who had ties to the agent we saw killed in the opening of the film. The two inevitably do free (extract) Ethan from the prison and he’s off to be briefed on his upcoming mission, should he choose to accept it.
The mission here involves Hunt and his team members infiltrating the Russian Kremlin in Moscow and making their way to a place called the archives. There they must retrieve some files regarding launch codes for nuclear missiles. During this mission they are caught off-guard when another person begins broadcasting on the radio frequency they are and alerts the Russians as to the location of Ethan and his team. They have to abandon the mission and try to make a run for it. During their escape Ethan passes by a man carrying a suitcase who will later come back to haunt him. Ethna does manage to make it out of the Kremlin without being caught but as soon as he’s out a huge explosion is triggered and he is thrown a great distance and left unconscious. He soon awakes in a Russian hospital handcuffed and being questioned by a Russian official who thinks his IMF team was responsible for the bombing of the Kremlin. Not only do the Russians think that Hunt’s team of IMF agents were responsible, so does the U.S. President who has invoked a measured referred to as “Ghost Protocol” — hence the film’s subtitle. Ghost Protocol is a black operation contingency measure that disavows the IMF entirely as an agency. This means that Ethan and his team are held responsible not only to the Russians but also to their own country for this supposed terrorist attack.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen the previous three films that Ethan is fine handling himself when in trouble or when he’s been disavowed by his agency. He makes his escape from the Russian hospital and manages to meet up with the secretary of IMF and his intelligence analyst “William Brandt” (played by Jeremy Renner). Their vehicle is attacked and the secretary doesn’t make it but Hunt and Brandt do manage to make an escape. Before he was killed the IMF secretary told Ethan of a safe house of sorts he could find where he would be able to meet back up with his team. With his newfound friend (Brandt) Ethan heads to a train yard where he does meet up with his team and gets briefed on what exactly has happened.
Long story short here, the man he passed in the hallway carrying the briefcase while making his escape from the Kremlin has managed to acquire a nuclear launch-control device. This man is named “Kurt Hendricks” (played by Michael Nyqvist) and he has one goal, to acquire launch codes so he can cause nuclear war. He literally believes that by causing nuclear war he will be helping the world “reboot” in a way and start over; for the better. It’s up to Ethan, his team and their new friend Brandt to stop this from happening. This mission is one they have no choice but to choose to accept.
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” proves to be the most popular yet of the films in the franchise and also proved to be my personal favorite as well. It received a very good approval from both film critics and moviegoers as you can tell by the impressive 93% (out of 100%) on the “tomatometer” over at Rotten Tomatoes and holds a 7.6 (out of 10) rating (the highest of all the M:I films) over at IMDb. According to Box Office Mojo the film had a budget of around 145 million and ended up grossing 209 million at the box office (just in the United States alone). It’s rumored, according to Tom Cruise in a recent interview, that a sequel is already in the works and Brad Bird may perhaps be returning to direct it.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. It took a bit of investigating the bonus materials to find out what camera and how the majority of this film was shot but I’m pretty sure I know. It would appear that this was shot on 35MM film using the Panavision Panaflex Millennium camera. The big cool action sequences (totaling up to roughly 30 minutes) of the film were shot in large format on the IMAX camera. Director Brad Bird was very vocal in discussing why they opted to shoot in the IMAX format as opposed to trends like 3D. Bird is quoted in interviews (namely this one with the L.A. Times) as saying that he felt that using IMAX brought a certain amount of “showmanship” not found in films today that you’ll see in the traditional multiplex. He was very insistent that folks experience it as intended in an IMAX theater or at least a good theater. In fact, on a personal related note, I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Bird back in 2007 during his promotional tour for the home video release of his film “Ratatouille” and the first thing he asked me when I told him I was looking forward to reviewing it on Blu-ray was “what size screen do you have back at home?” to which I answered “50 inches” and he replied “that’s good enough.” I knew then that this man was very critical on what type of setup folks were viewing his films and I appreciated that insistence on folks seeing his efforts at detail and “showmanship” as he so best called it in regard to the IMAX scenes here.
The scenes shot in IMAX clearly (pun intended) stand out and you shouldn’t really have much of any problem guessing which scenes were shot using it, as it contains no film grain what-so-ever and looks beautifully vibrant in terms of color, full of extravagant detail and even has its share of depth to it (comparable to what I often refer to as “3D pop”). The scenes shot on traditional 35MM however do contain film grain, a pretty consistent amount actually and don’t like quite anywhere near as “posh” per se as those IMAX scenes. Still, the IMAX and 35MM film footage blends together nicely just as was the case with “The Dark Knight” — which served as inspiration to shoot in IMAX as well. The color palette is pretty vibrant in the 35MM footage and it does blend, it just doesn’t seem AS rich or vibrant. Fleshtones look fine in the 35MM footage but really stand out as more lifelike in the IMAX footage. The black level is solid here throughout the source material and that definitely helps add to the overall consistency of the visual presentation. Things look breathtaking here, especially the IMAX scenes shot on the world’s tallest building (the Berj) in Mumbai. You’ll have a fun time realizing that actually IS Tom Cruise hanging off the side of the building and doing all his other stunts as well. IMAX does a great job of showing stuff like stunts off as well as the downright beautiful cinematography done by DP (director of photography) Robert Elswit. Also the visual effects and animation done by the folks at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) are done complete justice here. All and all this looks wonderful visually with just a few very, very tiny signs of compression that I noticed in a few scenes shot on 35MM. Still, that being said, a few seconds of tiny compression being visible is nothing to deduct from the Hi-Def presentation found here, which is nothing short of amazing. This earns a “5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. My only complaint visually here would be that I wish they would have opted to put the IMAX scenes in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio to entirely fill the screen — similar to how “The Dark Knight” did on Blu-ray with its IMAX footage.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround. This comes as an absolute HUGE improvement over the out-dated Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes found on the previous three films’ Blu-ray Disc releases. Finally we get a lossless codec for one and even better we get a full 7.1 speaker configuration to do an action film like this justice. The original music (Score) composed here by Michael Giacchino gets delivered wonderfully through the 7.1 with powerful front left & right channel presence, LFE (bass) and very nice rear channel presence as well. The sound effects are just downright jaw-droppingly realistic at times and sure to leave you “blown away” even if you saw the film already theatrically in a theater with a Dolby 7.1 setup. The dialogue is delivered very distinctly here through the front center channel speaker and is never once “drowned out” by any of the action going on. Needless to say no volume adjustments will have to be made here. This sound mix is the utter definition of “demo material” and is going to be one of my new favorite Blu-ray Discs to pop in to show off how amazing lossless 7.1 (specifically Dolby’s TrueHD codec) can sound. Having said that bold of a statement, it shouldn’t really come as any surprise that this mix earns itself a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials on this release are ALL presented in full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @224kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- – “Mission Accepted is a behind-the-scenes “making of” that consists of the following:
- – “Impossible Missions” gives us even more behind-the-scenes footage of the film being made:
- – Trailers includes:
Overall the bonus materials here on the standard two-disc Blu-ray release prove to be entertaining, informative and worthwhile but they are lacking a lot of featurettes that are found on the EXCLUSIVE Best Buy 3-Disc Blu-ray version. The full list of those featurettes can be found below.
EXCLUSIVE Best Buy 3-Disc Blu-ray Featurettes are housed separately on their very own second Blu-ray Disc dedicated only to special features. They are as follows below and are in addition to the featurettes already listed above:
- – “Mission Accepted” includes:
- – “Impossible Missions” include:
Overall the bonus materials found on the EXCLUSIVE Best Buy 3-Disc Blu-ray version are way more impressive as they contain a good 50 minutes roughly more in featurettes. The same DVD, Digital Copy and UltraViolet streaming/downloadable digital copy are included in this set. To purchase it visit your local Best Buy physical retailer or order HERE online for $22.99 — yes a whole $1 more will get you this stuff listed above! I’d rate the bonus materials on the standard Blu-ray at “3.5 Star Rating“, while I’d easily rate the bonus materials on the exclusive 3-disc version at “4.5 Star Rating” for overall bonus. 50 minutes, almost an hour in fact, makes a huge difference and is definitely worth paying the extra dollar for. So for the record let me clarify. This review technically is for the standard Blu-ray, if you’re wondering why I rated it the way I did at the very top.
Our friends over at Paramount have been kind enough to provide us with a video clip from the bonus materials of actor/producer Tom Cruise discussing working with the director Brad Bird:
Further below you’ll find some pictures of the packaging to that Best Buy exclusive version I’ve been referring to.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.