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CRUISE CONTROLLED

Tom Cruise has had a very chequered career in recent years thanks to his association with Scientology. Mission Impossible is a series of films that still appeals to the worldwide cinema audience and I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the latest instalment in the series. Cruise returns as agent Ethan Hunt in a story that’s helmed this time by director Brad Bird (The Incredibles). The IMF is shut down after they are implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, forcing them to go on the run to clear their names. Ghost Protocol is being shown in IMAX and sometimes this gives the action scenes impressive impact (the sequence where Hunt has to climb onto the world’s highest building in Dubai is a piece of genuine exciting cinema) but the script is quite weak. Ghost Protocol feels like a film where the production company have come up with a number of impressive setpieces before the script is even written and so it lacks cohesion. The script feels a little old-fashioned and anachronistic, like an Eighties Bond film. Jeremy Renner as Brandt doesn’t ring that true as action man material but Simon Pegg as comic relief Benji does what he always does on screen in that annoyingly likeable fashion. Cruise is rather bland and unengaging but sometimes, like in the opening prison break sequence, he works rather well. The other problem with the film is that, despite Bird as director, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol feels like a star vehicle for Tom Cruise. It passes the time pleasantly enough but feels pretty forgettable. It’s bound to do well at the Christmas box office as it’s pretty review-proof. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a pleasant enough piece of fluff but it doesn’t stay with you once you leave the cinema…

High-2Bres

SUPERHEROIC BEHAVIOUR
The Incredibles is arguably one of Pixar’s best films of all time. There’s also an argument that it is perhaps the best superhero movie of all time. At last you can enjoy it on Blu-ray as it’s released this week. I was lucky enough to get a review copy of it. Pixar’s films almost seem designed for the format and the transfer here is very nice indeed with the colours looking super-sharp, rich and vivid. Seven years after its release at the cinema, Brad Bird’s The Incredibles still holds up wonderfully well. The Parr family, father Bob, wife Helen and kids Violet, Dashiell and Jack Jack are forced to lead a normal suburban existence after superheroes are outlawed in Metroville. Bob (Craig T Nelson) holds down a dull job in insurance while Helen (Holly Hunter) tries her best to be a typical housewife. But Bob can’t quite pack in the superhero lifestyle and spends one night a week while he’s supposed to be out bowling with best friend Frozone (Samuel Jackson) sitting and listening to the police scanner. Then one day Bob gets drawn back into the world of costumes, contacted by a mysterious figure. He gets kidnapped by the grown-up super villain who Bob rebuffed when the villain was a kid. So the rest of the family are forced to come to his rescue. Blu-ray brings everything to life and actually gives The Incredibles the opportunity to attract a whole new audience. The sound gets an extra boost with the transfer to Blu-ray and the voice talent really shines especially Nelson and Hunter. The extras include a intriguing roundtable with the key players of the movie including Bird and producer John Walker and short Jack Jack Attack, which is entertaining. For anyone who’s an animation aficionado, The Incredibles Blu-ray is a must-buy…