Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, Movie Review

Review by Stacey Tuttle

“I was numb until a new idea crossed my mind:  What happens after the world ends?”

Ever wonder what motivates the bad guys?  Interestingly enough, at least in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, it’s
a combination or boredom and curiosity.   The bad guy was numb.  He was bored.

It reminds me of Ecclesiastes.  Solomon had been there, done that and tried everything to find satisfaction in life.
What did he find?  Repeatedly he says, “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for
all is vanity and a striving after the wind.”[1] Other translations say “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

So, the bad guy is numb because, like Solomon, he too has been there, done that and tried everything to find some satisfaction, some adventure in life.  He had done it all.  Nothing scratched the itch.  It all fell short in some way or another, it was all meaningless, a chasing after the wind.   Until he thought of the one thing he hadn’t thought of before—the world’s end.  “What happens after the world ends?”  He didn’t know.  That was one thing he had not experienced or seen, or even considered.  And causing the world’s end was the one evil deed he hadn’t yet attempted.  It was the one mystery still remaining to him.

So, of course, he plotted the end of the world. Fortunately, the world has Ethan (aka Tom Cruise) to save it from certain destruction and the bad guy will never know the answer to his question, “What happens after the world ends?”  Poor, unfulfilled bad guy!  The irony is, the answer to his question isn’t that hard to find (granted, it may be a tad hard to understand).  It’s already been written about in the book of Revelation.  (Of course, had he simply read Revelation to answer his question, it wouldn’t have made for a very interesting, or impossible, mission.)

Solomon’s quest for meaning and pleasure in life brought him to a different conclusion.  He didn’t try to end the world—Solomon was known for his wisdom, and attempting to destroy the world isn’t exactly on the list of “wise things to try once in your life”.  Solomon’s conclusion to the boredom and meaninglessness he felt in life was this, “The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”[2] Solomon recognized that all of mankind will have a reckoning with God.  Man will be judged by his Creator, and has a duty to that Creator while on the earth.

Meanwhile, while man is on the earth, obeying God’s commands, Solomon exhorts him to enjoy his life, his youth, his wife…the many pleasures that life has to offer.  (Enjoy them within the confines that God has established.)  The very meaninglessness of life’s pursuits (things like money, fame, success, etc.) should help us to get a proper perspective and get more fulfillment out of them.  If youth fades and in the end is a vain pursuit, then all the more reason not worry about keeping hold of it, but enjoy it while you have it.  The same is true of money or fame, etc.  Enjoy it, but know that it’s ultimately meaningless, so you don’t need to concern yourself with fears that you might lose it.

In the end, it is all meaningless.  All of it, that is, except for our  relationship with God.  Why?  Because at the end of the world, what does happen is that we stand before our Maker.  He will judge rightly all of our deeds.  Fame, wealth, youth, success…all will be lost, and all that will remain is our relationship with the Lord.  Therefore, what we do on earth with that relationship is of utmost importance; it is the only thing of lasting importance.

Questions for Discussion

  • Have you felt numb or bored with life?  Have you felt that everything was ultimately meaningless?
  • What things have you tried to find satisfaction and meaning in life?  In what ways did they help or fall short?
  • What do you know about what happens at the end of the world?
  • Are you like the bad guy in MI, searching for the next thing to take away the numbness, without considering whether or not that particular thing is wise?
  • Are you like Solomon, who finds that the only purpose in life is found in your relationship with Jesus?

[1] Ecclesiastes 2:17

[2] Ecclesiastes 12:13-14