Help Ma! This darn thing has set my fuse on fire!
While Harry Williams from Moviehole was over in the UK getting jiggy with Jimmy B – we were treated to somewhat of a tease of the new James Bond film “Skyfall” from Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and director Sam Mendes (read our report here) this morning; thanks to Sony – I was hanging out – if even for as long as the parking meter would take – with fellow spy, Ethan Hunt. Sure, Harry may have gotten up close with the new Bond girls, but I got up close with… a skyscraper-scaling mad-man and his magical gloves (didn’t Jason Donovan star in the off-Broadway version of that!?).
Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Note : Having seen Zucker’s sweet spite flick with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore a bunch of times I thought I knew all about the ‘Ghost’ protocol. Seems not. I definitely wasn’t prepared for this.
It only feels like yesterday (though my gray stubble and old man ‘get off my lawn!’ behaviour reminds me otherwise) that I – and I say I because I believe I was the only one in there; footage was screened for those interviewing director Abrams and actress Michelle Monaghan – was ushered into the diet-cinema (it’s a cinema… with only half the seats!) to preview select scenes from J.J Abrams’ “Mission : Impossible III”. I think it was two scenes I was shown. Or was it three. And it might have been that scene where Ethan Hunt is being flung about in the wind after the car explodes on the bridge. Or it might not have been. Actually, it might have been a conversational scene between Cruise and on-screen girlfriend Monaghan (which would make sense, considering she was the interview subject). But again, I can’t be sure.
Ask me in three years time what scenes I was lucky enough to preview from “Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol” – that’s ‘4’ without the ‘4’; some people just aren’t into 4play, I guess? But who’s counting!? – and I don’t think I’ll have anywhere near as much trouble remembering. Why? the scenes rocked me like a hurricane.
Screened in IMAX, the 20-minute preview was one of the most impressive cinematic teases I think I’ve been privy to. Within the first two minutes of the footage, you’re sold like a cheap, toothless hooker.
Obviously IMAX helped sell the scenes but that’s not any so much a fault of the film as it is a testament to those huge bastard screens.
A movie like “Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol” was born for IMAX.
(By contrast, a movie like “Son of the Mask” was not).
Of the two sequences shown, the first is unarguably the most impressive (and it’s also the one the marketing seems to be fixing on). It involves Hunt doing what he does best – a ‘what the eff!’ stunt; in this case, scaling a monstrous building. The second is a scene set in a sandstorm that begins with Hunt merely trying to get out of harm’s way and ends with him going coolant-to-coolant with the film’s villain in a dusty car chase.
Scene 1 : Scaling the Building
This is the scene you’ve seen teased in the trailer. And is the bit Cruise was captured filming in those tabloid shots.
The scene begins with the four remaining members of the IMF organization (the organization is kaput), Hunt (Cruise), Benji (Simon Pegg) and newcomers Jane (Paula Patton) and Brandt (Jeremy Renner) racing towards the city in a car. There’s some back-and-forth giggles (lots of humour in this installment by the looks; seems director Brad Bird is taking full advantage of having Pegg on a retainer) before a plan of attack – involving convincing two people they had a meeting, when they didn’t, and changing the infrastructure of a building – is discussed.
We then flash-forward to one of the tall buildings we saw from afar. The team are huddled up in one of its rooms discussing their plan to take down the security system. When Benji struggles to do that and it’s discovered the server is, of course, 130 floors up, Hunt is bullied into scaling the building to get to the server room. We then watch as Hunt, complete with some super technical climbing gloves Benji the gadget man has supplied him with, attempts to climb up this freakishly huge building. He loses his grip a couple of times, has trouble smashing open an entrance window, and even finds himself dangling upside down at one point — but of course, he completes the mission. Benji, ever the laugh, re-enters the room after Hunt’s daunting mission and complains only about how difficult his individual mission of swapping a door number on a hotel room was. Gets a good laugh.
The scene works magic, particularly on IMAX, because it captures just how huge the building is and really puts you in the scene. You’re looking straight down! I even felt a little nauseous at one point. Just looking down, you’ll swear one slip and you’ll be road grub along with the Huntster. I don’t believe I’ve felt the ‘depth’ of a movie since James Cameron’s “Avatar” – and a point to “M:I” because it didn’t even require the 3D glasses to dissolve one into the scene as easily as it does.
Here’s a look at how they put together the scene (can you believe it’s actually Cruise, not a stuntman, up there?!) :
Scene 2 : Sandstorm
Hunt is tracking some kind of tablet in Dubai. A huge sandstorm hits. Everyone, including Hunt, runs for cover. He has to keep going though because he’s hot on the tail of a bad dude. A stolen car later and the ex-IMF superhero is cruising through the dust, trying to get to the rogue. The rogue gets away, but not before tearing off his plastic mask and revealing his true identity… Lisbeth-lovin’ Mikael Blomkvis from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”! Not really, but sounded good, right!?
Aside from “The Muppets”, “Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is one of my must-see flicks for the Summer. I was already dead-keen to see it, being a big fan of De Palma’s original and Abrams’ third (shall we just pretend Woo’s “MI:2” never happened?), but even more antsy to get down with the IMF (yeah you know me…) after peeping this punchy preview.