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May 5, 2012
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
15/12/201118/4/2012ParamountBrad Bird
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHD 7.1MTom Cruise

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Tom Cruise returns for a fourth time as Ethan Hunt.

Love him or hate him there's no doubt that Tom Cruise is a great actor, and picks movies that rarely disappoint. In fact, when people write him off as a terrible actor, ask them (or yourself perhaps) what was the last movie watched with him starring. I'll bet those movies don't include those from the last five years - Lions for Lambs, Valkyrie, Knight and Day or this film, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - all fantastic films. It's fair to say that this latest Tom Cruise film is a complete blast, so here goes...

Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt by the team to stop him at the Kremlin ends in a disaster, with an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF being implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to invoke Ghost Protocol, under which the IMF is disavowed, and will be offered no help or backup in any form. Undaunted, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks around the globe to stop a disaster.

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The stunt work on the Burj Khalifa, done by Tom Cruise himself, is spectacular.
Directed by Brad Bird (whose previous works were the animated films The Incredibles and The Iron Giant) is superb in his live action directional debut with a pace that never lets up, stunning action sequences, some tense moments - not least of which being a superb two-way deal in the Burj Khalifa - and fantastic presentation overall. In fact one of the main highlights of this film is Brad directorial style in not using excessive shaky-cam and quick-cuts during the action sequences and the film is all the better for it.

Like him or not there is no denying that Tom Cruise owns this franchise and he is, yet again, superb as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. But he doesn't carry the film alone with several other great characters. Simon Pegg is great as Benji Dunn and his comedic background is used superbly in this film. Sadly Ving Rhames apparently couldn't come to terms with the filmmakers over his salary so hasn't returned in this film, but Jeremy Renner is fantastic as William Branch while Paula Patton is equally impressive as Jane Carter.

Being an international spy thriller this film takes us all around the globe with sequences in Budapest, Dubai, Moscow, and Mumbai however it's the action sequences in these locations that simply astounds from Tom Cruise doing his own stunt work on the exterior of the world tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to a stunning car chase and action sequence in a desert storm, to sneaking into the Kremlin and so much more that will have you on the edge of your seat.

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It's the all-new IMF team with Ethan Hunt.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is certainly the best in the franchise, another great movie from Tom Cruise, another strong feather in director Brad Bird's cap. Most importantly this is a very entertaining movie and well worth checking out.

It must be said that the video transfer on this Blu-Ray is simply astounding with a wide range of locations and visual eye candy on offer. The video has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (a little more on that in a moment), and the transfer is filled with plenty of fine detail, great shadow detail, and impressive and consistent contrast levels.

Unfortunately we have two very minor niggles with the video on this release - one artistic and one technical. From the artistic side it was disappointing to see that despite many scenes being filmed in IMAX format (a much taller image), unlike Christopher Nolan's second Batman film The Dark Knight, this disc retains a 2.40:1 aspect ratio throughout so some of the "spectacle" of the opened up, and stunning cinematography, is lost. This is certainly apparent in the Dubai scenes, in and around the Burj Khalifa with the helicopter flyover and brilliant stunt work.

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This scene in the Kremlin is superb.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is presented on Blu-Ray with a gorgeous, reference-quality Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track that will blow your socks off. No, it's not just loud, but the sound design in this film is absolutely top- notch with aggressive use of surround sound channels, great sound prioritization and clear dialogue at all times.

One thing I've always loved in movies, but as a music generally, is that Russian styled operatic music. You know, like that used extensively in The Hunt for Red October and other movies - it is played in some of the Kremlin sequence in this film and just sounds so magical. That's not saying other music in the film isn't impressive either - the classic Mission Impossible theme is used as well and composer Michael Giacchino hits all the right notes and tones when required.

Beyond the primary English track this Blu-Ray includes French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks at 640kbps as well as an English Audio Description Track with the same parameters. We sampled each of these briefly and despite the drop in quality from the Dolby TrueHD track they are more than acceptable. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Again, we sampled the English track and found it to be quite accurate to the on- screen dialogue.

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Jeremy Renner has a major role in Ghost Protocol.
There are a few extras on the Blu-Ray release of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which are of very good quality, but ultimately given the size of this film (budget, box office, and scope) one can't help feel a bit disappointed with what's on offer. Furthermore the Australian release contains only some of the extras found on the American disc. Upon starting this disc a couple of trailers will stream from the internet, annoying but skippable.

Mission Accepted (29:37/HD): This featurette contains two parts "Heating up in Dubai" (17:36) and "Vancouver Fisticuffs" (12:01). "Heating up in Dubai" starts up annoyingly as an advertisement of Brad Bird's love of Apple, but soon turns into one of the most fascinating looks at one of the best action sequences put onto film - that being the sequence shot on the worlds tallest building - the Burj Khalifa. The second segment "Vancouver Fisticuffs" looks at the fight sequence that takes place in the circular car park in the film.

Impossible Missions (6:13/HD): This section contains two further segments "Sandstorm" (3:06) and "Props" (3:07). The first segment "Sandstorm" looks at the action sequence which takes place during a massive sandstorm in Dubai and cuts between on-set/location footage and finished film which is a great way to see how a films look can be altered in post-production. The "Props" segment is a brief look at the prop work that goes into a film, and in this case focuses on a metal, and often not-so-metal, briefcase.

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Simon Pegg offers plenty of comic relief.
Deleted Scenes (5:12/HD): There are several deleted scenes here with optional commentary from Brad Bird. These scenes include "Alternate Opening: Hendricks Practices His Speech" (1:48), "Confusion in the Van" (2:10)and "Benji almost caught in the Kremlin" (1:14). These are pretty interesting deleted scenes and worth a look if only because their reason for omission makes perfect sense. I recommend watching without the commentary first, and then with as Brad talks over the audio in the scenes.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a fantastic film that any action fan should love. The transfer on this Blu- Ray is second to none - well there are some extremely minor video niggles but hardly worth mentioning - and while the extras are a bit light on this is a disc that should be in every collection.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Paramount. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.