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Blu-ray Reviews: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Blu-ray 3D

Originally published in Sound and Image, July 2012, v.25#06
Last updated 23 February 2013

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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
2011 - Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) Pty Ltd
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Michael Nyqvist

Movie: Picture: Sound: Extras:

Mission: Impossible is the movie franchise that became a cusp in the career of Tom Cruise. Already amazingly successful, the first instalment, released way back in 1996, shifted him from being just another incredibly wealthy $20 million per movie salaried actor to a $70 million or $75 million per movie 'gross participation' actor. While not quite at those heights any more, Cruise still pulled down $12.5 million plus a percentage for the fourth instalment: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

And this version also marked a shift in direction, so to speak, for its director, Brad Bird. Previously a Pixar man (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), this is his first live action piece.

And clearly the franchise benefited from it. It has made seven tenths of a billion dollars internationally, and while the previous three scored, in order, IMDB ratings of 6.9, 5.8 and 6.8, this one gets 7.5.

Of course, as a Mission: Impossible piece Cruise's Ethan Hunt pulls off, well, the impossible. Assisted by new sidekick Simon Pegg -- who manages an excellent mix of comic relief and appropriate seriousness -- he bounces from situation to situation with superhuman speed and capability.

Which is precisely what you expect in a MI movie. An actual plot is provided, along with an extremely intricate mission, and a little bit of heart at the end. It's like many another action/spy movie, but with a first class seamless, smooth style. It's not quite as dark as MI3, but nevertheless reasonably serious.

And be aware that at least part of the time it was Cruise himself on the wrong side of the glass in that horribly tall building.

The review version was the 'Triple Play' pack. That had two discs: the Blu-ray plus a DVD, which is always convenient to have. Plus there was a code for a Digital Copy version. That is the DRM-protected, reduced size downloadable form suitable for playing back on a portable device. Both iTunes and Windows Media versions are available.

Unlike the 34.8GB of the Blu-ray movie, the iTunes version of the download is 1.87GB in size, but it looks pretty nice on an iPad. As with all such movies, navigation puts the Blu-ray version to shame. You just drag the control slider to the spot that you want for instant access. As this movie is presented in 2.35:1 aspect, you can also hit a zoom button on the screen which upsizes the picture, pushing the black bars off the screen, along with the edges of the picture.

The actual Blu-ray itself receives flawless picture treatment with a healthy average bitrate.

The sound is the usual modern high quality immersive experience we expect with action material. Unusually it is delivered in Dolby TrueHD rather than DTS-HD Master Audio. I was beginning to think that everyone had moved to the latter format for everything. It's a full 7.1 version, 24 bits deep, with a massive 4+Mbps data requirement.

If you have a pre-HDMI home theatre receiver, the embedded audio you will get is Dolby Digital at the maximum possible density of 640kbps. Which ought to be perfectly satisfying to most listeners.

Running time: 133 minutes
Picture: 2.35:1, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 26.75Mbps
Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 24/48 3/4.1 @ 4492kbps (embedded: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps); French, Spanish, Portuguese, English Audio Descriptive: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps
Subtitles: English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: Digital copy; DVD version; Bookmarks; 3 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (1080p24 - 5 mins); 4 Featurettes (1080p24 - 36 mins)
Restrictions: Rated (Australian rating); Region free

The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.8:

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