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Ghosts and Shadows

by C. Ross Jam on December 27, 2011

Ghost Protocol Poster As promised, I managed to take a little bit of holiday time and catch a few movies.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was pretty much as anticipated. A fun little romp, historically set in Victorian Europe. The big delta over the first Sherlock Holmes is the full introduction of Professor Moriarty, a worthwhile adversary and quality villain. I found the plot engaging and it moved along at a quick pace, never dragging. Occasionally the film gets a little too caught up in bullet time slow motion, but it’s not a major flaw.

An upside of seeing it in the theater is that, as opposed to HDTV at home, Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t come across like he’s mumbling. Although, soft spoken, you can clearly make out what Holmes is saying. More Kelly Reilly please.

The major downside is that I think I got jacked by a 3D bulb on a 2D projection. Roger Ebert clearly outlines the issues but the dang film looked like it was completely shot at midnight. I like the Cobb 12 Theater, but if it happens again I’ll have to ask for my money back.

On a brighter note, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol showed at my nearby IMAX (real IMAX) theater. Memo to self, get to the theater earlier so you don’t have to sit in the second row, leading to a crick in the neck. Other than that, paying some extra shekels for the mega-screen was worth it. There are some scenes involving the Burj Khalifa where my heart literally leapt into my throat. Could have done with without the sandstorm chase scene, but that was made up for by the beautifully gigantic Paula Patton.

This Mission: Impossible was noticeably lighter than the previous two and more human. In somewhat of a return to the television roots, the film relies much less on gadgetry, and more on social engineering. Although I still love Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villain from the last edition. Heck, the iconic rubber masks from the first film are pretty much put out to pasture. And a huge dose of Simon Pegg added plenty of comedic touches.

Bonus. Since my IMAX is real IMAX, we didn’t get any trailers. But that was made up for by six minutes of The Dark Knight Rises prologue. Said prologue deserves a post of its own, but suffice it to say I’m now really looking forward to this film next year.

I can unreservedly recommend both Sherlock Holmes and Mission: Impossible for at least a matinee screening. If you have to pay full fare, you won’t feel ripped off although maybe a bit of buyer’s remorse for overpaying. They’l both make great movies on the home theater.

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