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Soundtrack review: Mission: Impossible – Ghost protocol (Michael Giacchino – 2011)

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Soundtrack review: Mission: Impossible – Ghost protocol (Michael Giacchino – 2011)


JJ Abrams wasn’t back for the fourth movie in the ”Mission: Impossible” series, titled “Ghost protocol”. Brad Bird was chosen instead and aside from being a very interesting choice it was ok for film music fans because he is the other director that uses Michael Giacchino as a composer all the time. So finally a composer was getting the chance to continue his work and develop his ideas from the previous movie. “Mission: Impossible III” had an awesome score and this one could match it. I saw the movie at the cinema and enjoyed its antics, even if it felt like the lightest of the four. Simon Pegg is a very welcomed addition to their team.

First off, I love this version of the Lalo Schifrin main theme best. Michael Giacchino goes all big band with it in “Light the fuse” and makes the perfect combination of old school and modern. It sets a tone that I remember from the film. But even without that celebratory main theme getting into the vibe of “Ghost protocol” would have been easy. I love the feeling of a Michael Giacchino action score. It feels as if I’m vacationing in one of the most familiar and comfortable places for me. Maybe vacation place isn’t the best analogy though; I should go with amusement park. I love going on the rides that this composer creates because the thrills and surprises will be worth it, even if I’ve been on quite a few of them already.

I like the bonus of the Russian influenced cues. Giacchino went all in and even used Russian choirs for it. “Kremlin with anticipation” just fills me with joy and motivation. It’s funny and thrilling in the same time. Plus it ends with the “Mission: Impossible” theme so it’s the perfect cocktail. This will be the cue to beat for this score. On the other hand, I didn’t care much for the Indian influenced cues.

It also feels refreshing and rewarding to hear this bonanza of orchestral music. I can just close my eyes, detach the music from the movie or story and just pretend I am in a concert hall. Or at the recording sessions, same thing. Attending a recording session for a Michael Giacchino score is on my bucket list and for now I can just fantasize about looking at every member of the orchestra and at every instrument being played, then marveling at how well they come together. When “Mission: Impossible – Ghost protocol” shines, it’s just symphonic music at its best. Just hear “A man, a plan, a code, Dubai” soar to wonderful heights it its first section.

I also got a bit of “Lost” nostalgia in the emotional “Putting the miss in mission”. I felt as if I was bathing again in the Hawaiian waters which shored on the mysterious island. All in all “Ghost protocol” was a solid Michael Giacchino score which will please all of his fans. I could have been shorter than 77 minutes though. For the rest of you it’s as good as any for a sample of what this composer can do when he’s on his game.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 38 / 77

Album excellence: 49%


Give Her My Budapest

Light The Fuse

Knife To A Gun Fight

Kremlin With Anticipation

Railcar Rundown

A Man, A Plan, A Code, Dubai

Moreau Trouble Than She’s Worth

Out For A Run

World’s Worst Parking Valet

Putting The Miss In Mission

Mission: Impossible Theme (Out With A Bang Version)




Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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