L ast week we were lucky enough to visit the IMAX in Darling Harbor Sydney; for an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming Brad Bird directed/J.J Abrams produced: ‘Mission Impossible 4.’
And wow.We were shown two scenes; both action. Although we weren’t shown a lick of story or character, the two lengthy set pieces were enough to go gaga for the film. So, we were shown two parts: First was the – already infamous – Burj Khalifa Tower stunt sequence, and second was a foot/car chase through a epic sandstorm that hits Dubai – presumably taking place almost immediately after the tower scene.
Now, we’ve all seen the youtube footage of the stunt work that Tom Cruise does on the top of the 2,717 foot tall building (the tallest in the world) – but that was all from handi-cam footage shot from buildings across the way. Nothing will prepare you for the feeling of vertigo and the sheer-audaciousness of the scene as it is – all shot in the full IMAX aspect ratio – for those uninitiated; the IMAX frame is basically twice the height of your average film. So if you see ‘Mission Impossible 4’ in the regular cinema you’ll essentially be losing ‘Half’ the image.
Want to hang off the world’s tallest tower for real? IMAX get’s you pretty freaking close!
Director Brad Bird’s camera swings way out into the void, pointing squarely at the ground…and you just feel the terror. I think this set piece may go down in the annals of film history as one of the greatest performed. And although you know that Cruise is wired the whole time; the fact that he’s still really doing it, and that there are real cameras up there, and the only CGI is the removal of the wires…it’s just something else.
I lied; there is some more CGI, and it’s a HUGE sand storm that is heading towards Dubai – which will hit in twenty minutes, giving Ethan only that amount of time to complete the ridiculously awesome exercise.
The sequence slowly builds from the team planning, to the plan going wrong forcing Ethan Hunt to manually climbing up the tower with magnetic gloves (instead of the planned elevator of course). The scene begins to peak with Ethan losing one of the magnet gloves and well…I won’t ruin it for you. Let’s just see it involves running around the building…and lot’s and lot’s of hanging, being held, and jumping for dear life. And wow it is high up.
The scene reduced me to childish glee, and I apologize for the previous three paragraphs: it’s hard to not simply write: ARRRGHHHH! Some nice pluses to the scene are Simon Pegg’s hilarious one liners, and the way in which the team constantly puts down “the help:” who is played by Jeremy Renner.
The next sequence we were shown; opened cold on Cruise sprinting ahead of the before mentioned oncoming sandstorm; in pursuit of an unknown character. Of course the sand storm catches up with them and envelops the action. In the midst of this mess of blown dirt Ethan has no choice but to rely on a phone tracking system, kind of like a radar. The scene was just as incredible as the tower sequence: beginning on foot, and slowly progressing to stealing/hanging off of cars and so forth. You can catch a glimpse of this scene in the trailer; in which the car is flipping through the sandstorm – if you look closely you’ll see the makeshift handkerchief mask on Ethan’s face.
The amazing thing about this scene is that even though it’s a massive sand storm, and everyone is almost blinded – we the audience understand the geography perfectly. And when your sequence is 90% whirling sand, the fact that it flows seamlessly is a pretty great achievement on Brad Bird’s part. Actually, I found Brad Birds direction of the two scenes, incredibly confident and fluid.
Brad Bird, had directed the animated films ‘The Iron Giant,’ ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Ratatouille,’ and when he was announced for ‘Mission Impossible 4’ a few people scratched their heads. Many were excited, because ‘The Incredibles’ is one of the best films of the 2000’s – but there was of course a few people doubting whether he was capable of making a solid transition to live action material.
What we were shown was selected from the first half an hour of the movie. I can’t even begin to imagine what follows. If anything, it just made it clear that Brad Bird was the perfect choice for the franchise.
All in all, it comes down to that one scene: with that darn tower. It should be enough reason for you to see the movie alone. And if I didn’t convince you during this article, then just wait till the movie is out – I guarantee you there will be so many people praising this set piece; that you’ll just have to relent, and check it out for yourself.
I for one, will be seeing this in IMAX. I hope you do too. It was just phenomenal!
PS. We also pretty much got confirmation that an 8 minute ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ trailer will play before Mission Impossible 4 all throughout the IMAX’s in Australia.