Mission: Impossible IV - Ghost Protocol

Michael Giacchino

" Probably has the best version of the title theme since Elfman's. "

Written by Anthony Cornfield - Review of the regular release

This is the biggest, loudest, dumbest Mission of the lot. Virtually no plot to speak of, underdeveloped characters, no tension, an incredibly light tone and probably the strangest score of them all. That said, it's a brilliantly paced bit of popcorn nonsense, and one of the best examples that if you keep exposition to a minimum and action to a high it really doesn't matter.

Michael Giacchino was telling the truth when he said this was nothing like the third score. Whereas that was a gritty, aggressive action score throughout, the fourth follows the tone of the movie and is far less serious, and sounds more like Giacchino's previous work on Speed Racer or Alias. If you've seen Alias, you'll probably have noticed the score uses every musical cliche in the book to accompany the globe hopping story. And it's the same here too - a Big Russian choir for a sequence in the Kremlin, a Lawrence Of Arabia parody for Dubai, and weird (terrible) Indian music for Mumbai. The sad thing about it is Giacchino takes it to the extreme, and there is some really, really cringe-worthy stuff here.

There are perhaps two or three references to M:I III's score. A tiny bit of Disguise The Limit is incorporated into "In Russia, Phone Dials You" and "Hendrick's Manifesto", part of Giacchino's suite, "Schifrin And Variations" makes it into "Love The Glove" and "Light The Fuse" (that string countermelody is back!), and Ethan & Julia's theme appears in "Putting The Miss In Mission". There aren't really any new themes to speak of - the baddie gets a totally underwhelming two note motif, there's a new action motif which irritates the heck out of me, and the Russian choir theme is annoying as well.

While, like the movie, I have an issue with the tone throughout (far too light-hearted), there are some exciting action cues. "Knife To A Gun Fight" is about as Giacchino-y as you can get, "The Express Elevator" has a great version of the M:I theme towards the end, and "World's Worst Parking Valet" is a brass heavy 5 minute-er (though I remember it being much more exciting (and longer?) in the movie).

The two best cues however are the insanely fun "Railcar Rundown" which contains a playful version of the main theme, and Giacchino's version of the title theme in "Light The Fuse". It's an incredibly jazzy (and much slower than expected) version of the main theme that I did not see coming, and amidst the rather messy rest of the score it's the one piece I keep returning to.

The movie is well worth seeing and it's a brilliant way to spend two hours. I got comfortable to the way J.J. Abrams handled things in M:I III and did not expect this in the first sequel that actually tries to carry on the continuity. It's not a bad effort, but it still leaves something to be desired.

The score is fun in the movie, and aside from the horrible location-establishing music it packs a good punch in the action sequences. Definitely, DEFINITELY get "Light The Fuse", as it's probably the best version of the M:I theme since Elfman's. As for the rest of it, see the movie first and make your decision. It lacks the subtle details of Giacchino's best scores, but then again, I'm not sure what subtle is for "traversing the Burj Al Khalifa with a fire hose and magic gloves."


1. Give Her my Budapest (1.57)
2. Light the Fuse (2.01)
3. Knife to a Gun Fight (3.42)
4. In Russia, Phone Dials You (1.40)
5. Kremlin with Anticipation (4.12)
6. From Russia with Shove (3.37)
7. Ghost Protocol (4.58)
8. Railcar Rundown (1.11)
9. Hendricks' Manifesto (3.17)
10. A Man, A Plan, A Code, Dubai (2.44)
11. Love the Glove (3.44)
12. The Express Elevator (2.31)
13. Mission Impersonatable (3.55)
14. Moreau Trouble than she's Worth (6.44)
15. Out for a Run (3.54)
16. Eye of the Wistrom (1.05)
17. Mood India (4.28)
18. Mumbai's the Word (7.14)
19. Launch is on Hendricks (2.22)
20. World's Worst Parking Valet (5.03)
21. Putting the Miss in Mission (5.19)
22. Mission: Impossible Theme (Out with a Bang Version) (0.53)

Total length: 76.31
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 15 votes - average 3.63/5)

Released by

Varèse Sarabande 302 066 128 2 (regular release 2011)

Conducted by

Tim Simonec

Orchestrations by

Brad Dechter, Michael Giacchino & Tim Simonec