Review: “The Dark Knight Rises”

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Matthew Modine, and Morgan Freeman


First, let me just say that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are two of my favorite movies and Batman is one of my favorite characters on screen and in print. The Dark Knight occasionally is my favorite movie (I can’t have just one absolute favorite movie). I have been waiting for this film with a monumental amount of anticipation ever since watching The Caped Crusader ride the Batpod into the distance at the end of The Dark Knight all the way back in 2008. I fervently waited for the announcement of the casting choices, I thoroughly examined every set photo, I participated in the viral marketing, I watched every trailer dozens of times, I purchased three posters and two T-Shirts, and read every interview with every cast/crew member that could be found online. And still, even though I was so extremely excited for this movie, more excited than I’ve been for any other movie (besides Peter Jackson’s  upcoming Hobbit films), I knew how keep my expectations grounded. I consider myself to be objectively minded enough to judge a movie on its merits and make up my mind after the film, not already have my mind made up like many viewers seem to. All I had was hope that Christopher Nolan would give me a film that lived up to the standard set by his previous films, not faith in him as many claim to have, just hope. In the end, this movie ended up being satisfying as well as a solid end to a great film trilogy, but still being disappointing on several levels.

Writing a review in essay format would take up too much space and time because this is such a passion filled review, so I decided to write this in list format that is broken up into two sections to make it easier for you to read and for me to write.

***Spoilers are abound in this review and anyone who hasn’t seen the film should stay away.***

What I loved/liked:

  • Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway were the two standouts among an amazing cast, one of the best ensembles put to screen in the last five years.
  • The first fight scene between Bats and Bane was simply outstanding. It had all the brutality I wanted out of a fight scene and more. The “I will break you” shot was straight from the classic Batman graphic novel “Knightfall”  and literally had my mouth agape and about to drool.  Bane’s mocking tone and Batman’s determination to fight till he could no longer stand was terrifying as well as heartbreaking.

  • The emotional scenes between Alfred and Bruce were fantastic, specifically when Alfred is telling Bruce about his fantasy.
  • The visuals were absolutely breathtaking. The shot of Batman on the bridge overlooking Gotham almost made me tear up and I sat there thinking “that is so Batman”(Yes, Batman can be an adjective). The footage shot in IMAX is a beauty to behold and every shot looks grand and massive. The last 45 minutes of the film is chock full of shots that should fill cinematographers with either admiration or envy.
  • The hand to hand action is much better this time with the fights being shot much more clearly. The aforementioned fight scene was choreographed and shot extraordinarily well and every punch looks powerful and destructive. The second fight scene with Bane at the climax is entertaining, but ends much too abruptly and predictably. The other fight scenes in the film are decent but nothing outstanding while still being better than the fight scenes in the previous two films.
  • Vehicular action seems to be Nolan’s forte when it comes to his Batman films and while nothing in this film is as awesome as the Truck-flip Batpod sequence in The Dark Knight or the Batmobile chase in Batman Begins, it is still is undeniably impressive, especially in glorious IMAX.

  • The film is always moving fast, with the intensity constantly rising (no pun intended). This is certainly a film that is never boring even if it is 2 hours and 45 minutes long.
  • The villains’ plot is certainly interesting to watch unfold even if certain aspects of the plan either don’t make much logical sense or rely on way too much coincidence.
  • During the last 10 minutes I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. Batman’s faked death, the statue in Gotham City Hall, John Blake discovering the Batcave, and Alfred’s fantasy finally coming true (Bruce ends up with Selina!) made me want to cheer.
  • Catwoman/Selina Kyle is a great character and Hathaways portrayal, along with the way she is written, is extremely loyal to the character from the comics. She has many of the best lines in the film and also some of the most moving scenes. Being sexy and badass doesn’t hurt the character too much either.

  • John Blake is a relatively interesting new character and his development into Bruce Wayne’s successor is very satisfying.
  • Bane is a force to be reckoned with and exudes pure malice with Tom Hardy looking like an absolute monster. He has some great lines and for the first half of the film he seemed like he was going to become a spectacular and iconic film villain but developments later in the movie prove otherwise. The character was still entertaining but nowhere near what he could have been.
  • The Batman voice/growl was toned down a little for this movie and sounds better than ever before.
  • Nolan’s reliance on practical effects over CGI certainly pays off and the special effects are amazing with The Bat being a particularly cool piece of work.
  • Christian Bale gives his best Batman performance yet (which is saying a hell of a lot) and carries the enormity of the film on his ever capable shoulders.
  • Batman’s “…Then you will have my permission to die” one-liner was so freaking awesome!

What disappointed me:

  • The Talia al Ghul twist was by far the most disappointing aspect of the movie for me. Bruce didn’t seem all that attached to Miranda at all so you don’t feel any pain after the betrayal. There was almost no build-up for it and it took a lot away from the awesomeness that is Bane. It turned him into some lovesick, brutish pawn–something that Bane should never be. You can’t take one of Batman’s greatest rogues and make him someone’s follower. Also, anyone who knows anything about Bane’s history in the comics knows that they took his origin story and just transferred it over to Talia just for the sake of a twist; a twist that brought nothing to the movie and seemed tacked on just for kicks. And when Bane is explaining how he grew up in the dark in his awesome, evil monologue, it makes the fact that Talia al Ghul grew up in the same way just seem stupidly redundant. Also, the whole “protector” title was just cheesy even though I did end up feeling a little bit sympathetic for Bane (but I’m not supposed to feel sympathy for him, he’s supposed to be a highly intelligent, master plan inventing, havoc wreaking tank that craps on Batman, not some huge dude with a cool mask who is doing a bunch of stuff just because he is in love with some girl who is way too young for him.) During this part of the movie I seriously sat there thinking “Why the hell did Nolan let M. Night. Shyamalan direct part of his movie”. Yeah, it was that bad.  The whole Miranda Tate /Talia/League of Shadows plot line/character should have been discarded completely (Marion Cotillard is extremely attractive so that almost makes up for this ridiculousness, but not really.)

  • The film moves almost too fast and is almost too epic for its own good. The film just has too much going on during its first half and it leaves the viewer sitting there reeling trying to realize what just happened. The many themes and new characters are just too much for one movie to cover, even with its long run-time.
  • Bane’s plan could have been just as big, and not have had the whole Stock Market thing which doesn’t make any sense anyways (everyone knows that the place was held hostage so the whole world would know that it was all fraud and Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be put into bankruptcy and so on) It just seemed like another tacked on and unnecessary part to Bane’s plan.
  • Another big problem I have is that for a Batman movie, Batman isn’t really in it all that much. He doesn’t show up for the first 30 minutes. Then he’s missing almost the whole middle section of the movie and doesn’t really show up till the last 30 minutes again. I’d venture to guess that The Dark Knight only gets around 40 minutes of actual screen time which is odd for a movie with his name in the title. It might sound childish, but I just wanted more Batman.
  • I also wanted more Alfred. Michael Caine is just so brilliant in this role and it was sad to see him so little, but it does make sense in the movie. I’m just being whiny.

  • Even though the film takes place over a span of months, it never really feels like its been all that long.  Gotham doesn’t look too bad for being held hostage by a group of merciless mercenaries for several months. All of the cops underground look like they’ve only been down there for days (Also who sends all 3,000 cops underground?Dumbasses, that’s who) and the streets just look deserted. There should have been some more rubble and lawlessness.
  • Nolan still seems to have a problem choreographing fights with multiple people involved and they always seem somewhat unnatural and staged. It’s not just Nolan though, many directors don’t seem to know how to direct a good hand to hand fight scene.
  • There is way too much expository dialogue is spoken Some of the characters just flat out say exactly what is going on for no other reason then to explain it to the audience. This shouldn’t bee necessary.
  • This movie just seemed to lazy for a Nolan movie. Usually his movies come together really well and while there can be the occasional plot hole or inconsistency they still are generally great in almost every aspect of film making.

Ok, so I dwell on the negatives a bit in this review but people need to know that this is not some absolute masterpiece that will go down as one of the greatest films of all-time (The Dark Knight will though); It is just massively entertaining epic that happens to also have some massive flaws. Now, was it a solid end to one of the greatest film trilogies ever? Yes, absolutely, but it still could have been so much better in my opinion. I still love this trilogy to death (It’s second in line behind Lord of the Rings as far as movie trilogies go in my book)  and I enjoyed the hell out of most of this movie, but there were some parts that just pissed me off.


B +

In the end it’s a satisfying, yet in some ways disappointing, final film in a magnificent trilogy.

My Review of “John Carter”

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, Dominic West, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, James Purefory, Ciaran Hinds and Bryan Cranston


“From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter-a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.”

— (C) Walt Disney


There are a few spoilers in this review, but don’t worry, it won’t be anything major.

I wanted to love John Carter, I really did, but sadly I ended up only loving small parts of it. With Andrew Stanton (Oscar winning director and writer of classics like Finding Nemo and Wall*e) at the helm , and the film being an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ beloved class “A Princess of Mars,”  I thought this picture could do no wrong.  Andrew Stanton himself is a huge fan of Burroughs’ work and the fact that this was a passion project of his only gave me more optimism. As it turns out, this film ended up being very disappointing.

The biggest problem with the movie is that the basic storyline is far too boring. Only a few ounces of suspense are produced and the entire middle third of the film sags heavily with only a couple standout moments.  There are in fact, several scenes that are almost completely unnecessary and only make the film feel more cumbersome. Ironically, one of of those relatively unnecessary scenes ends up being my favorite, and in my opinion, the best part of the entire film.

John Carter and Dejah Thoris

This scene involves John Carter (and his little, alien-dog friend who I will get to later) fighting off an entire legion of enemies called the “Warhoon” in order to give Dejah Thoris and a “Thark” (9 foot tall, green, 4 armed, and barbaric inhabitants of Mars) named Sola the time to escape. During this battle scene, there several cutaways to brief clips that give us an insight into Carter’s depressing past. This scene is made incredibly well made and when it cuts from Carter killing these “Warhoon” by the dozen to him burying his wife and child, you’d have to be pretty cold-hearted not to feel at least a little emotion. This sequence also gives us a chance to see how badass John Carter really is.

John Carter faces off with the "Warhoon"-- my favorite part of the film.

The film also has too much cheesy dialogue. Some of the things the characters say are just a little too unnatural, while some of the lines are just plain cringe-worthy. Other films reminiscent of John Carter such as Star Wars  and Avatar (two better films which are actually heavily inspired by “A Princess of Mars” ) also have the same problem, but those films had many great aspects to them while this film only has a few.

In terms of villainy, it is hard to get more boring than the ones in  John Carter. The two main villains, a Thern (seemingly all-powerful, shape shifting, priest-like characters who feed off destruction) named Matai Shang (Strong) and a Zodangan (a warlike race which is sucking Mars’ resources dry) King called Sab Than (West,)  are very underdeveloped, but this actually  turns out to  be a good thing because they are so severely uninteresting. They use this weapon called the “9th Ray” which is pretty much a blue light that allows them to destroy everything they want. This weapon doesn’t make for anything threatening and it ends up relying on the only visual effect in the movie that doesn’t look fantastic.

Mark Strong playing Matai Shang, the evil Thern and main villain of the film.

Dominic West as the villain Sab Than, the Jeddak of Zodanga

I thought that for the most part, the acting ranged from decent to good. Taylor Kitsch is fine in the title role, but nothing more.  I felt as if they could have found someone who a looked a little more masculine for the part but that is my only real gripe. Lynn Collins is extremely beautiful and charming as Dejah Thoris but doesn’t have enough to do. Willem Dafoe (acting using CGI/Motion Capture) is always great and it is no different here as the Jeddak, Tars Tarkas (“Jeddak” means king), who is having trouble suppressing his compassion in a barbaric society that doesn’t allow emotion. While the villains are uninteresting, they are still played reasonably well by Mark Strong (who is now typecast in the arrogant “bad-guy” role) and Dominic West.

The Tharks, Tal Hajus (left) and Tars Tarkas (right), played by Thomas Haden Church and Willem Dafoe respectively.

By far the best thing about this film is the visuals. This film is absolutely epic in scope while featuring phenomenal CGI with some great cinematography that captures the beautiful landscape of “Barsoom.” The aforementioned battle sequence with the “Warhoon” is among the best action scenes I’ve seen in a long time, in fact, it’s one of my all-around favorite parts of any movie I’ve seen over the past few years. There is also the thrilling action scene that was heavily exploited in the promotion of the film, the “Great White Ape” sequence. This sequence ends with a surprisingly gory and just plain awesome moment that left me with a huge smile on my face (John Carter is actually an extremely bloody movie and the only reason the film get’s away with a PG-13 rating is because of the inhabitants of Mars actually have blue-colored blood).  Even though the film did have a couple great action scenes, the opening and ending battle scenes aren’t memorable in the slightest, with the last one being highly anticlimactic.

"Great White Ape" battle scene

In terms of motion capture, the film is brilliant. The Tharks ended up being some of my favorite characters in the movie and they were done entirely with the technology. I actually found that almost all the scenes with the Tharks were easily the most entertaining sections of the film, and the scenes with the  human-like characters were by far the most boring.

What’s funny is that the most compelling and entertaining character is one who has no dialogue; it’s Woola, the alien-dog I mentioned above. His extreme loyalty to John Carter, his playfulness, and his ability to run 250 miles per hour, make him hilarious and actually pretty awesome when he gets into battle.

Woola, John Carter's dog-like companion who is one of the best best aspects of the film.

Michael Giacchino is one of the best composers working today and it is no surprise that he created an absolutely wonderful musical score for this movie. It just feels so adventurous and sweeping. It was hard for me to stop humming the main theme after walking out of the theater.

I also loved the ending of this film. It is really unique and unravels in an unexpected way that is interesting and left me wanting a little more.

Even though I was disappointed by this film, I still enjoyed it and will definitely see it again.  It was a movie that had some great visuals, with decent characters and humor, but is weighed down heavily by cheesy dialogue, uninteresting villains and a boring plot.

Grade: I’m still trying to decide between a C+ and a B- , I’d give it a 6.5/ 10.

My Favorite Movie Theater Experiences

Entertainment-the purpose of movies. You go to the theater to have fun, escape  from the troubles of reality, and maybe/hopefully the movie will provoke thought and emotion. These are the movie that gave me the best movie-going experiences. (I’m not saying these are my favorite films, while some of them are, but they are the movies that gave me the best time at the cinema.)

The Dark Knight

Easily one of my favorite movies, this film probably gave me the most intense experience I have ever had at the movies (which is most likely the reason I saw it five times in theaters). The first film in this nearly complete trilogy, Batman Begins, already one of my favorite movies so my excitement for this movie was already sky high when I heard it was being made. I was at the beach the week before this movie came out and while it was supposed to be a period of fun and relaxation, I was suffering from anxiety because of my dire need to see the film. But, that ridiculous amount of excitement just ended up making watching the movie so much more entertaining and relieving.  The entire film had me on the edge of my seat (literally) and I was actually sweating because I was so into the film. The unpredictability of the plot, the emotional toll put on Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gorden and Harvey Dent, and the philosophical/ethical ideas put forth by the script all added up to one exhilaratingly breathless time at the movies.  There is no doubt in my mind that the final movie in this film’s saga , The Dark Knight Rises, will be just as good of an experience as this epic movie.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Sadly, I wasn’t able to see The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers in theaters though I was able to watch them dozens of time on DVD. I was more excited for RotK than  I had ever been for any other movie. The previous two movies were my favorite movies and I was in dire need of seeing the conclusion of the series. Even though this movie ended up being three-and- a-half hours long, it felt as if it was five minutes. The characters in these movies are some of my favorite characters and I so involved that I just felt it was all real. From the disturbing opening scene to the massively epic battle scenes and to the heart-wrenching finale, I felt as if I really was a part of Middle-Earth. Now this film and its two precursors are my favorite films of all time and I still watch them regularly, even after all these years. I hope and believe that Peter Jackson will replicate the same success with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again.


When I found out James Cameron was going to direct an “original” sci-fi epic of his own creation all the way back in 2007, I was excited. When the trailers came out I was ecstatic. The visuals amazing and I knew Cameron was a master entertainer (he directed two of my favorite, and in my opinion, two of the best action movies ever with Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgement Day) so I trusted that it would be spectacular.  It ended up being one of, if not the most visually spectacular films ever made. From beginning to end I was utterly stupefied by how great this movie looked and the amount of epic grandeur that Cameron could fit into 162 minutes. The cinematography is some of the best in the past decade and the quality of the special effects is so far unmatched. I know that the film does have its fair share of haters, but what popular film doesn’t? I know the plot is cliche and some of the dialogue is a little to cheesy, but those features don’t stop Avatar from having relatable characters, good old-fashioned story telling, a classic villain who you love to hate,  and moralistic and environmental message which push it far above most other special-effects driven blockbusters in history. It’s definitely not one of the best movies ever, but it sure is one of my favorites and is a film that entertained me greatly.

King Kong (2005)

With Peter Jackson, the director of my favorite movies of all time (LotR), directing a retelling of the classic 1933 film featuring a 25-foot-tall gorilla? How could I, or anyone else for that matter, not be excited? When I saw the trailer for this film back in the summer of 2005 my dreams had come true. I had always had a love/obsession with dinosaurs and animals so a movie that has dinosaurs fighting gorillas is obviously going to play right into my ballpark. I ended up loving every second of the film, and when it came out on DVD, I annoyed everyone in my house because I watched it so often. It was Christmas time when the movie was released in theaters and the day I saw it school was cancelled because of snow, so it was already an great day, later perfected by the enjoyment of seeing this awesome movie.  It is another film that is so visually spectacular that you might as well not pick your jaw up off the floor because you’ll just have to do it another twenty times. The film is also very emotional for me as an animal lover because I just felt so much sympathy for the lonely, misunderstood ape.  Though the movie does suffer from some over-the-top scenes and a bit too much CGI, I still love the film. Many people complain about its length (190 minutes) but almost all of that length is either leading to character development or awesome action scenes, two things that I think add a good deal of quality to the a movie

“The Dark Knight Rises” Theatrical Trailer!!! Need I say more!

Holy S***!!! This might just be the biggest movie ever. The scope looks positively massive! Nolan I think you have done it again! Bane is so awesome! The Batwing! The football scene! The fact that they put that in the trailer means that it is not the biggest part of the movie, at least according to how Christopher Nolan does his trailers. I had already seen this trailer in IMAX this weekend with Mission: Impossible and it was simply mind-blowing. I can’t wait till July 20th to see this in IMAX!!!

“Halo”: The Movie That Needs to be Made

Halo: The Movie that Almost was and Could Definitely Be

Halo has been one of my favorite franchises ever since I played the first game a little less then a decade ago. Now I own every game, and novel,  that take place in the Halo universe. Thousands no, millions, of people have been begging for a Halo movie ever since the first game (Halo: Combat Evolved)  graced the original Xbox back in 2001, and we almost got one too.

In 2007, when Halo‘s popularity was at its peak, Peter Jackson, the Academy Award winning director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong, was teaming up with his prodigy, Neil Blomkamp director of District 9, to direct a Halo movie. They started pre-production (planning, concept design, story-boarding etc.) and continued to work on the film for several months but in the end they could not get the funding for the movie because of the dumb politics of Universal and Fox. So the movie that could have been the event of the decade fell apart, and since then has not been really getting too much attention from Hollywood producers. At least we got District 9 out of it, which ended up being utterly brilliant, showcasing Blomkamp’s talent, and becoming one of my favorite movies.

The reasons why a Halo movie could be so phenomenal are its epic scope, thrilling story, and great characters. While it might not seem like the stories in the games are really all that interesting, the books greatly expand on the events that take place in the Halo universe and make them much more gripping. The first Halo novel, “The Fall of Reach”, is actually a prequel to the first Halo game and displays the awesome backstory of Master Chief, the hero of the Halo universe. This great book is what I want the first movie  to be based on.

Synopsis of the Book (from back cover): “Legends are not simply born… They are willed into existence. Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call “home.” The United Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep insurrections from exploding into interplanetary war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict…and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year old boy named John. Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity’s final hope against a vast, alien force hell-bent on wiping us out. This is the story of John 117… the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face-to-face with its possible extinction.”

To give a little more detail, the seventy-five children are all kidnapped from their families and then trained and bio-augmented to become super-soldiers called Spartan II’s .  The can lift, thousands of pounds, run more than twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter, jump straight over a twenty-foot wall, and can move five times faster than a normal human. They end up wearing highly sophisticated (and frickin’ sweet-looking) armor that projects an over-shield and amplifies their strength, speed and agility, while giving them all sorts of needed intel.

Sounds pretty great right? On screen, with a few diversions from the book, this story would be truly epic. The story also has many themes that I think could really resonate with the audience: Brotherhood and loyalty between the Spartan soldiers who, together, were trained from the age of six to be the greatest warriors earth has ever known; great despair and loss in the face of an enemy so powerful, vicious, and advanced; and the hope that these now legendary warriors give to humanity. I believe the tone should be in line with something like the Lord of the Rings with maybe a little less humor and a good bit more violence. It would end up being rated R though if I had my way.

This part of this movie that has the most potential is the visuals. Enormous space and land battles involving millions of people and thousands of vehicles, taking place on hundreds of different planets. The the fighting ability of the Spartans, and their alien counterparts called “Elites”, could lead to some simply amazing action scenes. When visualizing what the movie could look like just think Avatar meets Star Wars, with some Aliens (1986) and maybe a little bit of The Thing (1982) thrown in. It just a huge, sci-fi, war movie on the largest scale imaginable.

The Halo games all have some of, if not the best soundtracks ever in the gaming business and the main Halo theme could translate to the big screen extremely well. Marty O’Donnell composed those soundtracks and I don’t know if he’s up for a movie of this size, but he should get a chance to try. He’s never really had the resources that people like John Williams or Hans Zimmer have so with a whole orchestra and studio to himself he could probably come up with something awesome. If not there’s always people like the aforementioned Williams and Zimmer along with many other big name composers who could rework the game scores into something amazing. The Halo music is already one of the most recognizable themes out there.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but my dream is to one day become a screenwriter/director and this is honestly my dream movie. I know exactly how I want the film to look, feel and sound and just know it could end up being something that’s extremely awesome. The thing is a good Halo movie would require a very large budget, most likely 200 to 300 million dollars to accurately depict the scope and scale of the Halo story, and it would be a one-in-a-milli0n chance that I would ever be in control of a movie that size.

Just to show you just a small taste of what a Halo movie could look like, here are two great live-action trailers made for the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST.

Both of those are pretty awesome right? They’re great and they were made with relatively small budgets when compared to feature length movies. A good Halo movie would no doubt make tons of money and could definitely start a series that is based on the games, but they need to get someone with a lot of talent to be in charge of these productions, and in order to be good, the person must also care about the universe and sincerely know that they have to do it justice. I have no doubt that, if in the right hands, Halo could be the best sci-fi epic ever put on the big screen.

Review: “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Peg, Michael Nyqvist and Tom Wilkinson


This is not just another mission. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ghost Protocol is initiated and Ethan Hunt and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name. No help, no contact, off the grid. You have never seen a mission grittier and more intense than this.

— (C) Paramount


I was never too big on the Mission: Impossible franchise. The only installment out of the first three that I really enjoyed was M:I 3 and it was a good action movie, but nothing more, nothing less. Just solid entertainment. I was pretty surprised that they decided they were going to make a fourth movie,  and even more surprised when I found out who would be directing it: Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant. This director of those two wonderful, yet family oriented films, ended up being the perfect choice. This is simply the best action movie of the year, about that action…

The action sequences in this movie are just as intense as they are over-the-top fun, and they never let up. Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) Spider-Man-esque stunt on the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building where Tom Cruise actually did the stunt himself) is one of the most thrilling action scenes I have experienced in a long time, and there are many other set pieces that are almost as thrilling as this one. Also the gadgets that are used by the IMF team are some of the most unique, and just plain cool, devices I have ever seen in a movie.

This film almost requires a viewing in IMAX (as long as you are willing to shell out a few extra bucks).  It is simply the best way to watch a movie with its ridiculously high resolution, splendidly huge screen and immensely immersive surround-sound.  Even during the rare moments where bullets aren’t flying, or punches aren’t being thrown, the tension is still high and the audience is still very much involved. Much to the thanks of Michael Giacchino’s great reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme and the amazing IMAX sound.

The cast is great with Tom Cruise again proving why he is one of the biggest stars in the world by giving us another very physical performance.  Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, and Simon Pegg all get their chance to be shine with Renner supplying a decent amount of emotion, Patton showing us the beauty, and Pegg dishing out the laughs.

Plotwise the movie is nothing oustanding, which is neither complement nor detriment. The stakes do feel very high at times all because of the adrenaline fueled direction by Bird. In terms of villainy, the antagonist really doesn’t get very much screen time and is pretty underdeveloped, but the fact is I didn’t even care while watching it because everything else was just so much fun.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol is big-budget, high-octane, escapist entertainment at it’s finest.

Grade: B+

Also, The Dark Knight Rises trailer played in front of the movie in full, IMAX glory. Suffice to say, it gave me chills and left me amazed. It’s so epic! I can’t wait too see that film!!