Wednesday, December 21, 2011
At the multiplex
We caught a couple of big holiday films this past weekend, and enjoyed them, one a bit more than the other.
Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol opened in wide release yesterday (December 20), but opened a few days earlier in the IMAX format, which is the way we saw it last Saturday. It was a terrifically entertaining film, though during the movie I started to think that they probably came up with the several action sequences first and then cobbled together some kind of plot to stitch them all together.
But, hey, I won't quibble, as the action scenes are first rate, including a wonderfully choregraphed prison break at the start of the film (happening right off the bat before the opening credits- they don't waste time!), a great hand-to-hand fight in a futuristic parking garage near the end, and- smack in the middle of the movie- a generous sequence with Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt climbing and swinging outside the world's tallest building in Dubai. Even people who don't like the rest of the movie all that much acknowledge that this particular scene is one for the books, and I agree. And, boy, did it look good in IMAX.
Then, on Sunday, we caught Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the sequel to the surprise 2009 hit starring Robert Downey Jr. as the world's most famous fictional detective. We found the sequel to be a perfectly watchable adventure, but never quite escaping a "more of the same" vibe.
To be fair, you do get a more notable villain this time out (classic Holmes' nemesis Professor Moriarity), and there's a very good sequence on a train that features all kinds of entertaining intrigue and action. But in the end it just didn't seem sufficiently different than the first film in the series.
Still, if you liked the first movie, with its unique take on Sherlock Holmes (that is, classic Holmes elements combined with a big action movie plot), you could do worse than catching this new installment on the big screen. Like I said, we liked it, but just wanted to like it more.