Release Date(s)2011 (June 26, 2018)
Studio(s)Bad Robot/Skydance/TC Productions (Paramount Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: B
When an IMF mission to intercept stolen Russian nuclear codes goes wrong, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are called in to infiltrate the Kremlin in order to identify a man known only as “Cobalt,” an apparent Russian nuclear strategist who wishes to purchase them. But this mission goes wrong too, resulting in a massive bomb going off in the Kremlin, an attack for which the IMF is blamed. Hunt and his team – the entire IMF, in fact – are immediately disavowed per “Ghost Protocol” by the President of the United States. Ethan learns this personally from the IMF Secretary, who assigns one last mission before he’s killed in an attack in Moscow. Ethan and the Secretary’s chief analyst, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), survive the attack and suddenly find themselves on the run from both the Russians and the Americans, with only fellow agents Benji (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton) to help them find Cobalt and stop him from triggering an all-out global nuclear war.
It’s hard, watching this, to believe that Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was director Brad Bird’s first live-action film. Because he nails it. This film is deftly shot and edited, with a strong script and steady pacing. Cruise performs another death-defying stunt himself, there’s another fine vehicle chase or two, and the action is audacious across the board. In terms of the cast, Pegg becomes a full member of the IMF team here, providing comic relief as well as technical expertise. Renner is new to this franchise, but his character matches well with Cruise and he adds nicely to the mix. Patton is solid too, as are Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist (as Cobalt), Anil Kapoor (as an Indian media baron), and Vladimir Mashkov (as a Russian agent tracking Ethan’s team). There are a couple of nice but uncredited cameos too.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was shot on film mostly in 35 mm, with one scene shot in Super 35 format, and approximately 30 minutes of footage shot in 65 mm using Panavision, Arriflex, IMAX, and Iwerks cameras with anamorphic lenses. It was finished as a full native 4K Digital Intermediate, given high dynamic range grades in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and is presented here at the 2.39:1 wide release theatrical aspect ratio (note that, like the Blu-ray before it, the Ultra HD does not offer variable framing for the IMAX sequences). The image quality is terrific, especially the large format footage, where the clarity is spectacular and fine detail and texturing abound. During the rest of the film, the native 4K DI makes a real difference. Grain is mostly very light and the HDR and wide color gamut really kick things up a notch over the regular Blu-ray with deep blacks, boldly bright highlights, and rich, highly-nuanced coloring. This image is essentially reference quality from start to finish.
Audio on the 4K disc is offered in the same 7.1 English Dolby TrueHD lossless mix that was included on the previous Blu-ray edition. It was reference quality too, when first released, and it remains so now, featuring an impressively wide soundstage, terrific immersion, and exceptional dynamics and clarity. Bass is robust and muscular, dialogue is clean and natural, and the Michael Giacchino score has never sounded better. Additional audio options include English Audio Description, along with 5.1 Dolby Digital in German, Spanish, Latin Spanish, French, Canadien French, Italian, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese, with optional subtitles available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, German, Spanish, Latin Spanish, French, Canadien French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, and Swedish.
In terms of bonus features, there’s good news to report. But we’ll get back to that in a minute. Paramount’s 4K disc is movie-only. The package also includes the film in 1080p HD on Blu-ray, which is also movie-only. Now, here’s the interesting thing: When it was originally released, the wide-release Blu-ray contained a limited set of extras. But there was an exclusive Best Buy version of the Blu-ray that was a 2-disc set, with Disc One movie-only and Disc Two loaded with the wide-release special features and an additional hour of Best Buy exclusive bonus content too. And that’s exactly what you get in this 4K package. That second BD disc adds the following (all in HD):
- Mission: Accepted – Suiting Up in Prague (17:58)
- Mission: Accepted – Heating Up in Dubai (17:36)*
- Mission: Accepted – Vancouver Fisticuffs (12:01)*
- Impossible Missions: The Russian Prison (11:49)
- Impossible Missions: Shooting in IMAX (3:33)
- Impossible Missions: Art Department (2:56)
- Impossible Missions: A Roll of Film (2:33)
- Impossible Missions: Life Masks (1:40)
- Impossible Missions: Stepping into the Storm (2:02)
- Impossible Missions: The Sandstorm (3:06)*
- Impossible Missions: Dubai Car Crash (8:15)
- Impossible Missions: Lens on the Burj (:57)
- Impossible Missions: Props (3:07)*
- Impossible Missions: Composer (10:42)
- Theatrical Trailer 1 (2:24)
- Theatrical Trailer 2 (2:30)
You also get Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by director Brad Bird (8 scenes – 15:02 in all):
- Alternate Opening: Hendricks Practices His Speech (1:48)*
- Mission on the Train (1:35)
- Confusion in the Van (2:09)*
- Benji Almost Caught in the Kremlin (1:14)*
- Hendricks and Leonid in the Hangar (3:35)
- Arrival at the Burj – Original Version (1:21)
- Ethan and Jane in the Jet (2:51)
- Wistrom and Chips (:26)
The items marked with an ‘*’ are the ones included on the wide release. The rest is previously Best Buy-exclusive material which will be new to many of you. The content is all quite good, if a little more impressionistic given its brevity. A full-length audio commentary with Bird is missed, however, but one was apparently not recorded. Naturally, you also get a Digital Copy code on a paper insert in the package, which comes in its own cardboard slipcover.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a just damn good film, easily the best entry in the franchise up to this point… which makes it all the more impressive that the next film in the series, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (reviewed here in 4K), is even better. Paramount’s new 4K Ultra HD release delivers a reference image and sound experience, the best of all five films on this format and a notable upgrade from the already outstanding Blu-ray edition. And you get all of the retail exclusive extras too. This Ultra HD is very strongly recommended for both fans and A/V enthusiasts alike.
- Bill Hunt