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[personal profile] jencat

How much do I love MI:4? Well, I seem to have seen it twice in a week so far, and today's rewatch was quite possibly the reward I'd been promising myself for surviving an insanely family-intensive Christmas.  I could quite happily watch it again but there's kinda The Artist (and possibly Puss in Boots) to catch first, just to be reasonable.  (I do appear to be watching Knight & Day on dvd at the mo, though, as apparently my brain is craving breezy Tom Cruise action flicks right now.).  I blame Brad Bird.

I have to admit I wasn't counting the days for MI:4 initially... the last one so very nearly worked (and still had the glossy novelty sheen of JJ! Directing Big Franchise! before he finally got it right with Trek) and had an interesting cast, (Kerry Russell cameo! and Michelle Monaghan!)  and the whole Alias history, and lots of cool stuff, but it just didn't... quite... mesh.  The casting for Ghost Protocol didn't exactly make it a must-see (don't think I'd seen Paula Patton in anything so far; Jeremy Renner has been cast in abso-freaking-lutely everything recently, and, er, Simon Pegg was in the last one, right?). But the trailer, which we got treated to about a gazillion times during BigScreen, held up pretty well to repeated showings.  That was kinda cool.

What I didn't realise was that it was filmed in Imax for great big chunks of it... which is approximately rarer than hen's teeth these days.  TDK  was the last thing I saw that did that (missed Transformers 3 in Imax but TDKR will be doing even more of that, yay!), and it makes all the difference... to the point where I literally had to look away during the whole 'dangling off the Burj Khalifa' sequence.  There really is nothing quite like Imax skyscraper shots, and the difference between the full immersion of that and the tinny effects of even the best 3D is quite breathtaking.

So basically it looks gorgeous, but considering it holds up just as well on a normal size screen away from the novelty of Imax, it's not all about the pretties.  It's just plain fun - ridiculous over-the-top daft stunts that are genuinely impressive, played realistic but not po-faced (sod it, actually they're played for as many laughs as they can stuff in. I do unreservedly love that.)

And all the main characters are basically nice people working through various traumas together while reluctantly saving the world from the most retro threat possible - Russian rogue nuclear weapons agogo!  

Back in the day, it seemed such an odd concept - sticking Simon Pegg in the middle of a big actioner as the comic relief tech guy... but then JJ did it twice in quick succession, which has pretty much paved the way to him stealing the show several times over in this one.  It's still pretty much like someone recruited Tim out of Spaced and gave him a gun though, which is what makes it quite so deliciously amusing when he's ordering Tom Cruise or Jeremy Renner to go perform some insanely dangerous death defying feat, completely reliant on Benji's not-quite-reliable gadgets. And, bless 'em, they don't go hunt him down with an automatic weapon when things inevitably go somewhat painfully wrong.  They do, entertainingly, look appropriately shit-scared at the scale of what they have to do. And then they go and do it anyway.  It's a fairly winning combination of low-level snarky bitching and quite adorable team work, and did I mention I love it?

It's fairly simplistic on plot and character motivation (thank god we get to avoid any of the De Palma absurdism.  I have... issues with De Palma.)  and I like that too.  Benji quite possibly shouldn't be out in the field at all yet going by the way he dissolves into geeky Ethan fanboy-ing while they're trying to break into the Kremlin; Jane's having her whole 'pretty french blonde assassin bitch killed the hot guy I was secretly in love with' breakdown (which had a nice throughline - she's scarily efficient at some points but going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge is not conducive to this particular mission.  I adored the whole 'Moreau goes accidentally flying out of 100th floor window' resolution though) and Brandt is... kinda in a whole guilt-spiral that he doesn't need to be in.  Which is all Ethan's fault-but-not-really.  What the hey.  It all ends happily for everyone (except maybe The Secretary, the Crazy Swedes and the French Assassin Bitch.  Oh, and maybe Sawyer out of Lost.).  My point is, it ends well.

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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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