As a blacktress, I have taken a range of classes to improve my craft. In several, there has been one rule that was stressed time and time again: Keep It Simple, Stupid! In other words: Don't spend half the time hinting at ideas that your scene partner -- and the audience -- won't be able to decipher. Don't add on layer upon layer of complex backstory that no one will remember. Don't use a paragraph of dialogue where a sentence will do.
Tom Cruise, an actor with a long and illustrious career -- and control issues, to boot -- must have heard this adage many a time. Why then, was Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, structured like an unsatisfying game of Sudoku? Granted, it was moderate-level Sudoku, but Sudoku nonetheless.
I've been attacked for my lack of love for MI4 -- and Lord knows I wanted to love it. Hand-to-hand combat, quick editing, gadgets and disguises -- it's enough to make a gal swoon. But why, then, did the writers decide to dilute the fun with energy-sapping subplots that offered little to no payoff?
"What do you expect?" I've been told over and over. "It's an action film -- don't make it more than it is." But guys, I'm not the one making it more than it is!!! It's the writers! MI3 was released more than 5 years ago. I don't know about you, but I didn't go into the latest film still reeling from the previous one's effects. So when Brandt makes his big confession and Julia Mead gives a gentle wave, it felt forced.
"But Tom Cruise did his own stunts!" the lynch mob has cried. (OK, it was one person, but in my head it's a lynch mob. #dramaqueen) "That's AMAZING!"
Yes, it's amazing what one can do at a high Operating Thetan level. So why take away from the action with Jane Carter's completely uninteresting side plots? Two minutes of a girl fight and some gorgeous saris don't make up for convoluted and lagging subplots.
Perhaps it's because movie tickets have gone up to a rage-inspiring $13.50 in some places. If a studio wants to get people away from their Netflix and into a theater, a film has got to be worth it. You know, 2 hours and 13 minutes. If that's 2 hours and 13 minutes of explosions I could never see in real life; stunts I couldn't even pretend to do; and the wittiest of banter; then I'm all for it. If it's a Nicholas Sparks novel on steroids, well... not so much.
Look, I can't tell you the number of times I've initiated ghost protocol in my own life -- sometimes you gotta wash your hands of a situation and avert your eyes. I get it, IMF. I'm on your side. But why couldn't I have more Benji Dunn, more moments of defying gravity, and less forced melodrama? After all, it's an action film, right? Why make it more than it is?