Movie Reviews from a
January 13, 2012
First of all, I want to say how much I enjoyed both movies. What I discovered in watching these two movies a few weeks apart from each other, is that both movies contained main characters who are men who have both had to deal with tragedy, but take the important steps needed to ensure that everything and everyone around them continues to thrive.
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol begins with a prison break and the action never really slows down. I found it interesting that the character himself, Ethan Hunt, is as tightly wound and always in control, as the main character, Matt King, in The Descendants, is visibly falling apart and at a loss as to his failings as a husband and father. Of course, we know Ethan Hunt is going to be a tough act to follow but there are moments in the Mission Impossible movie where we are wondering if he is really going to be able to pull things off. He has an excellent team to work with, and of course, they all have their own personal “issues” but overall, Agents Jane Carter, Benji and then later, Agent Brandt are all there to give support and balance to the IMF team headed by Ethan. This in a sense is Ethan’s family, as we come to know them because Hunt has since lost his wife whom we met in the last Mission Impossible sequel.
Matt King is played by George Clooney, is a lawyer whose wife is on life support following a boating accident. We find him at a loss as to how exactly proceed with his life as he is trying to re-connect with his two daughters, Scotty and Alexandra, after having left most of the child-rearing up to his wife for most of their marriage. His daughters are now 10 and 17, respectively, and throughout the movie, he seems to be trying to come to grips with his new role as a “hands-on” single parent of two strong-willed girls. He is also trying to decide what to do with a huge parcel of land that he is trustee of as a result of a family inheritance.
Ethan of course never seems to lose his cool or allow his personal life to interfere with this work. He has definitely made choices to keep the two aspects of his life separate. I can appreciate the way Ethan handles his life – he functions at such a high level that we forget that he has endured real sacrifices in order to maintain his mysterious persona. The Mission Impossible movie is really excellent in showcasing Tom Cruise, who is really in his element in this movie. We have confidence that somehow Ethan Hunt and the MI team is going to pull it out in the end, and it is one exciting ride from beginning to end. (The scene where Ethan climbs up the tower in Dubai with magnetic gloves is worth the price of admission alone)
On the other hand, Matt King is just trying to keep his head above water. Through most of the movie, I felt like I was going through the struggles of life with him. First, he finds out his wife’s condition, and then he is made aware of his failings as a husband and a father. It seems his life and work cannot help but be intertwined. Sometimes that’s how life “happens,” so it may seem, because as one thing unravels, it tends to reveal another personal issue that needs attention. By the way, George Clooney is excellent in a role that he doesn’t usually play – someone who is openly vulnerable, broken and trying to find his way. In this movie, we are never really sure about Matt, if he is going to really come through and make the right decisions. It isn’t until the end that things begin to look promising and that he is going to move forward with what needs to be done with his life, his daughters and ensuring the legacy of his family’s future.