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Jittery 'Mission Impossible' a sprint from start to end – 2 1/2 stars
With "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," director Brad Bird makes his live-action feature debut, having made a name for himself and a few hundred million for Disney/Pixar with "The Incredibles" and one of the freshest comedies of the last few years, "Ratatouille." It's obvious but probably needs restating: Live action is a different beast from animation. Audiences perceive acts of violence and outsized physical punishment differently when presented with actors getting knocked around. At the same time, a great deal of digital animation today has effectively erased the notion of stylized unreality and sensorial distance. When a mole whacks another mole with a hickory stick in "Rango," for example, the photorealistic quality of the image renders the act unfunny. It's not slapstick. It just hurts.
December 15, 2011