Skip to main content

Tom Cruise Defies Gravity And More From Our Mission: Impossible 4 IMAX Preview

It's a shame that filming in IMAX isn’t nearly as popular as filming in 3D. As Christopher Nolan proved when he filmed select scenes of 2008’s The Dark Knight using the larger format, IMAX brings epic filmmaking to a whole new level. While Nolan’s incredible achievement hasn’t made the impact that it should have, one director paying attention was Brad Bird, a filmmaker largely known for making animated films such as Pixar’s Ratatouille and The Incredibles. Hired to direct the fourth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Bird decided to film two of the movie’s biggest action sequences using IMAX cameras, and having seen the footage I can tell you that audiences are in for a real treat.

Late last week I was invited to a small screening of 20+ minutes of IMAX footage from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in Los Angeles. Before the airing of the footage, producer Bryan Burk talked a bit about the development of the movie and how star and producer Tom Cruise first pitched the idea. According to Burk, the plan from the beginning was simple: make it bigger than the last, have a stronger team, and make it an international film. While the first two will be determined when we see the final cut of the movie hits theaters in December, the new Mission: Impossible most definitely has an international feel. The production went all around the world, filming in locations like Dubai, Prague, Mumbai, Russia, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, and even has a diverse international cast including Simon Pegg (who returns as Benji Dunn), Tom Wilkinson, Léa Seydoux, Vladimir Mashkov, Michael Nyqvist and Anil Kapoor. As for what sticks around in the new movie, the incredible masks, the theme and hero Ethan Hunt all remain the same, but everything else is liable to change.

But what about the footage? During the screening we got to watch two full scenes from the movie – the thrilling adventure of Ethan Hunt as he climbs the side of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building, and a dramatic chase in the middle of a huge sandstorm. The first thing I’ll mention is that the IMAX truly adds to the experience. Towards the beginning of the Burj Khalifa scene there is a shot that travels over the very top of the building (if you’ve seen the trailer you know what I mean) and I literally began to experience vertigo as I felt as though I was going to fall into the screen. As for the sandstorm, because the screen fills your entire field of vision, you feel like you are right there with Ethan in the desert fighting the elements. It’s an effect I can’t imagine will work nearly as well in standard format theaters.

What also took me pleasantly by surprise is the humor. While the Mission: Impossible franchise has never taken itself too seriously, the banter between the new group – which includes Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner, and Simon Pegg – actually caused me to laugh out loud a number of times. Even the scenes on the side of the building (which had Cruise doing all of his own stunts) played around with some physical and nervous humor that earned a reaction from the audience. As the second clip was almost completely dialogue free, it wasn’t as humorous as the first, but still chock full of action.

Even before I walked through the theater doors or received the invite to the event I was excited for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the footage I got to see did nothing to change that. The film will be debuting five days before its official release date on December 16th in IMAX theaters around the country. I would recommend taking advantage of that.

Stay tuned here on Cinema Blend for more from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and to learn about the movie be sure to head over to our Blend Film Database.

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.