ⓘ Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol


ⓘ Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a 2011 American action spy film directed by Brad Bird and written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. It is the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, and also Birds first live-action film. It stars Tom Cruise, who reprises his role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt, alongside Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor and Lea Seydoux. Ghost Protocol was produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. It saw the return of editor Paul Hirsch and visual effects supervisor John Knoll from the first film, and is also the first Mission: Impossible film to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras.

Released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on December 16, 2011, the film went on to become the highest-grossing film in the series, with $694 million, until it was surpassed by Mission: Impossible – Fallout. It is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2011 as well as the second highest-grossing film starring Cruise. It was followed by Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which was released in July 2015.


1. Plot

IMF agent Trevor Hanaway is killed in Budapest by assassin Sabine Moreau, who takes his file containing Russian nuclear launch codes so she can give them to a man known only as "Cobalt".

IMF agent Ethan Hunt has purposely become incarcerated in a Moscow prison to acquire Bogdan, a source of information on Cobalt. With help of Jane Carter, Hanaways handler, and newly promoted field agent Benji Dunn, Hunt and Bogdan make their escape. IMF tasks Hunt to infiltrate the Kremlin to gain more information on Cobalt. During the mission, an insider broadcasts the IMF team about a supposed detonation, thereby alerting the Russian guards. Hunts team aborts the mission just as a bomb destroys much of the Kremlin. Carter and Dunn escape, but Hunt is captured by SVR agent Anatoly Sidorov and charged with destroying the Kremlin.

Hunt escapes and meets with the IMF Secretary in Moscow on other business. The Secretary tells Hunt they had to initiate "Ghost Protocol", disavowing IMF, but secretly orders Hunt to continue to pursue Cobalt. Sidorovs forces catch up to Hunt, and the Secretary is killed. Hunt escapes along with the Secretarys aide and intelligence analyst William Brandt. Regrouping with Carter and Dunn, Brandt is able to identify Cobalt as Kurt Hendricks, a Swedish-born Russian nuclear strategist, who seeks to start a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia. Hendricks used the Kremlin bombing to cover up his theft of a Russian launch-control device, and now is planning a trade with Moreau at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to gain the required launch codes.

The team travels to Dubai. On the 119th floor of the hotel, they create deceptions using their various gadgetry and disguises to make Moreau believe she is meeting with Hendricks, and vice versa, when in fact they are interacting with the IMF team. Moreau discovers the deception, and in the ensuing chaos, Hendricks manages to escape with the launch codes, evading Hunts pursuit in the midst of a dust storm. As Moreau tries to escape, she is knocked out of a window by Carter and falls to her death. Brandt accuses Carter doing this as retribution for Moreaus murder of Hanaway, thus compromising the mission, but Hunt recognizes that Brandt has also been keeping secrets from them, having shown combat skills atypical of a mere analyst. Hunt leaves to meet with Bogdan to get more information on Hendricks, while Brandt tells the others that he had been assigned to secretly protect Ethan and his wife Julia in Croatia. Julia had been killed by a hit squad and Brandt feels responsible for Ethans loss, which is why he stopped being a field agent.

Bogdan directs Ethan towards Mumbai, where Hendricks is set to negotiate with Indian telecommunications entrepreneur Brij Nath to gain control of an obsolete Soviet military satellite. The IMF team splits up to stop Hendricks; Carter sexually seduces Nath to get the satellite override code, while Hunt, Brandt and Dunn try to stop Hendricks from using Naths broadcast station. They are too late as Hendricks has sent the launch codes to a Russian Delta III -class nuclear submarine to fire a single missile at San Francisco and disabled the stations computer systems. Brandt and Dunn race to get the systems back online to send the override code, while Hunt pursues Hendricks, eventually having a brutal brawl with him face to face in an automated car park. Hendricks, with the launch device, jumps to his death moments before the missile is set to land. Hunt then uses one of the cars and takes a dangerous fall to use the device; he barely disables the missile before it strikes. Sidorov, who has followed IMF from Dubai to Mumbai, arrives and realizes that the IMF is innocent of the Kremlin bombing.

The team meets in Seattle after Ethan accepts a new mission from Luther Stickell. Brandt confesses to Ethan about his failure to protect Julia. Ethan, however, reveals that her "death" and the murder of the Serbians were part of a plot to give her a new identity and enable Ethan to infiltrate the prison. A relieved Brandt happily accepts his mission, and becomes an agent once again. Meanwhile, Julia arrives at the harbor. Ethan and Julia gaze at each other from afar before Ethan departs for his next mission.


2. Production

Despite Mission: Impossible III earning less than its predecessors at the box office, its critical reception was much better than the second film and Paramount Pictures was keen on developing a fourth in the series. In August 2009, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec were hired to write the films screenplay. Because of other commitments, J. J. Abrams said that it was unlikely for him to return as director but made note that he will produce the film alongside Tom Cruise. By March 2010, director Brad Bird was in talks of directing the film with Cruise returning to star as Ethan Hunt.

The film was originally announced with a working name of Mission: Impossible 4 and code-named Aries during early production. By August 2010, title considerations did not include the Mission: Impossible 4 name, and thought was given to omitting the specific term Mission: Impossible ", which Variety compared to Christopher Nolans Batman sequel film The Dark Knight. In late October 2010, however, the title was confirmed as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Christopher McQuarrie who later directed Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout did an uncredited rewrite of the screenplay, explaining that:

On Ghost Protocol I came in on the middle of the shoot to do a rewrite of the screenplay, though they had already started the movie. I had to communicate with the entire staff to determine what I could and couldnt change, what sets had been built or struck, what scenes I could or couldnt reshoot. I learned so much about production being right there. The script had these fantastic sequences in it but there was a mystery in it that was very complicated. What I did was about clarity. The mystery had to be made simpler. Its like reaching into a sock and pulling it inside out. Its still a sock, still all the same pieces, but all put together in a different order.


2.1. Production Filming

The film was partially shot with IMAX cameras, which made up approximately 30 minutes of the films run time. Bird insisted that certain scenes of the film be shot in IMAX, as opposed to 3D, as he felt that the IMAX format offered the viewer more immersion due to its brighter, higher quality image, which is projected on a larger screen, without the need for specialised glasses. Bird also believed that the IMAX format would bring back "a level of showmanship" to the presentation of Hollywood films, which he believes the industry has lost due to its emphasis on screening films in multiplexes as opposed to grand theaters, and vetoing "first runs" in favor of wider initial releases.

Principal photography took place from October 2010 to March 19, 2011. Filming took place in Budapest, Mumbai, Prague, Moscow, Vancouver, Bangalore, and Dubai. Tom Cruise performed a sequence where Ethan Hunt scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower, which is the worlds tallest building, without the use of a stunt double. Although Cruise appears to be free solo climbing in the film with the help of special gloves, in reality, he was securely attached to the Burj Khalifa at all times by multiple cables. Industrial Light & Magic digitally erased the cables in post-production. Following Cruises example, Patton and Seydoux also chose to forgo the use of stunt doubles for their fight scene at the Burj Khalifa where Carter exacts her revenge upon Moreau for Hanaways death.

Many of the films interior scenes were shot at Vancouvers Canadian Motion Picture Park Studios, including a key transition scene in a specially equipped IMF train car and the fight between Hunt and Hendricks in a Mumbai automated multi-level parking garage which was constructed over a six-month period just for the film. The films climax scene was shot with in the Sun Network office in Bangalore. The films opening Moscow prison escape scenes were shot on location in a real former prison near Prague.

Bird, having directed several Disney and Pixar films and short films, incorporated the trademark "A113" into the film on two separate occasions. The first is the design print on Hanaways ring during the flashback sequence, and the second being when Hunt calls in for support and uses the drop callsign, Alpha 1–1–3.


3. Soundtrack

The musical score for Ghost Protocol was composed by Michael Giacchino, who also composed the music for the third film and collaborated with Bird on The Incredibles and Ratatouille. As in previous installments, the score incorporates Lalo Schifrins themes from the original television series. "Lalo is an amazing jazz writer. You know you cant write a straight-up jazz score for a film like this but you can certainly hint at it here and there," said Giacchino, explaining the stylistic influence generated by Schifrins history with the franchise. A soundtrack album was released by Varese Sarabande on January 10, 2012.

All music is composed by Michael Giacchino.


4.1. Distribution Marketing

In July 2011, a teaser trailer for Ghost Protocol was released illustrating new shots from the film, one of which being Tom Cruise scaling the worlds tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Moreover, prior to its release, the studio presented IMAX footage of the film to an invitation-only crowd of opinion makers and journalists at central Londons BFI IMAX theater. One of the many scenes that were included was a chase scene in a Dubai desert sandstorm.

During November 2011, the Paramount released a Facebook game of the film in order to promote it. The new game allowed players to choose the roles of IMF agents and assemble teams to embark on a multiplayer journey. Players were also able to garner tickets to the films U.S. premiere and a hometown screening of the film for 30 friends.


4.2. Distribution Theatrical release

Following the world premiere in Dubai on December 7, 2011, the film was released in IMAX and other large-format theaters in the U.S. on December 16, 2011, with general release on December 21, 2011.


4.3. Distribution Home media

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download on April 17, 2012. The home media releases, however, do not preserve the original IMAX imagery, and its aspect ratio is consistently cropped to 2.40:1 rather than switching to a 1.78:1 aspect ratio during the IMAX scenes. Blu-ray Disc releases such as The Dark Knight, Tron: Legacy, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will switch between 2.40:1 for regular scenes and 1.78:1 for IMAX scenes. The film was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on June 26, 2018.


5.1. Reception Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 238 reviews and an average rating of 7.7/10, The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes calls it "big-budget popcorn entertainment that really works". Metacritic assigned the film a score of 73 out of 100 based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of four stars, saying the film "is a terrific thriller with action sequences that function as a kind of action poetry." Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger wrote "The eye-candy - from high-tech gadgets to gorgeous people - has only been ratcheted up. And so has the excitement." He also gave the film 3.5 out of four stars. Giving the film three out of four stars, Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said "In its way, the movie has old-Hollywood elegance. The scope and sets are vast, tall, and cavernous, but Bird scales down for spatial intimacy."

Philippa Hawker of The Sydney Morning Herald gave the film three stars out of five and said it is "ludicrously improbable, but also quite fun." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly opined that the movie "brims with scenes that are exciting and amazing at the same time; theyre brought off with such casual aplomb that theyre funny, too. Ghost Protocol is fast and explosive, but its also a supremely clever sleight-of-hand thriller. Brad Bird, the animation wizard. showing an animators miraculously precise use of visual space, has a playful, screw-tightening ingenuity all his own." Roger Moore of The Charlotte Observer gave the film three out of four stars; said "Brad Bird passes his audition for a career as a live-action director. And Ghost Protocol more than makes its bones as an argument for why Tom Cruise should continue in this role as long as his knees, and his nerves, hold up."


5.2. Reception Box office

Ghost Protocol grossed $209.4 million in North America and $485.3 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $694.7 million. It is the second highest-grossing film worldwide in the Mission: Impossible series, and the fifth highest-grossing film of 2011. It is also the second highest-grossing film worldwide starring Cruise, surpassing War of the Worlds from the top spot. It was the franchises highest-grossing film and Cruises biggest film at the time of release, before being surpassed by Mission: Impossible – Fallout seven years later.

In limited release at 425 locations in North America, it earned $12.8 million over its opening weekend. After five days of limited release, it expanded to 3.448 theaters on its sixth day and reached #1 at the box office with $8.92 million. The film reached the stop at the box office in its second and third weekends with $29.6 million and $29.4 million respectively. Though only 9% of the films screenings were in IMAX theaters, they accounted for 23% of the films box office.

Outside North America, it debuted to a $69.5 million in 42 markets representing approximately 70% of the marketplace. In the United Arab Emirates, it set an opening-weekend record of $2.4 million since surpassed by Marvels The Avengers. In two countries outside the U.S. in which filming took place, its opening weekend gross increased by multiples over the previous installment: in Russia, more than doubling, to $6.08 million and in India, more than quadrupling, to $4.0 million. It is the second highest-grossing Mission: Impossible film outside North America. It topped the box office outside North America for three consecutive weekends during December 2011 and five weekends in total the other two in 2012. Its highest-grossing markets after North America are China $102.5 million, Japan $69.7 million, and South Korea $51.1 million.


6. Sequel

In December 2011, Pegg suggested that he and Cruise were interested in returning for a fifth Mission: Impossible film. Paramount was also reportedly interested in fast-tracking a fifth film due to the fourth films success. Bird had stated that he probably would not return to direct a fifth film, but Tom Cruise had been confirmed to return. It was revealed in August 2013 that Christopher McQuarrie would be the director of Mission: Impossible 5. Principal photography began in February 2014 in London. Paramount Pictures released the film on July 31, 2015. The plot centers around Hunts IMF team in conflict with "the Syndicate", an international criminal organization first mentioned at the end of Ghost Protocol.