Tom Cruise is an enigma. On the one hand we have movies from him like The Firm, A Few Good Men, Born on the fourth of July, and Eyes Wide Shut then on the other hand we have films like Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and Jerry Maguire. It seems we have two different actors on our hands with a career spanning decades and such an erratic difference in film choices. The one thing that seems to connect all those years? Ethan Hunt and the Mission Impossible Franchise. Which brings us to the brand new release of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
Following the events of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ethan Hunt is back with a brand new mission. This time possibly facing his most sophisticated adversary yet, The Syndicate. The Syndicate is an organization that has been acting under the radar to control the outcome of major world events, an Anti- IMF (Impossible Mission Force) we are told. This time we are promised bigger stunts,better action, and surprisingly the movie delivers on both. The film opens with Hunt (Cruise) boarding the side of the plane and, in a very real sense, finds himself stuck clinging for his life as the plane takes off. As the movie progresses, we find that the IMF is in jeopardy of being shut down once and for all if Hunt can’t find a way to bring the syndicate to light. Teamed with a few familiar faces, Hunt battles the impossible tasks that lay before him.
The Film 4/5
Much of the film was shot anamorphically on 35mm film giving the film, at some times, an old school grainy texture. Certain scenes of the movie involve a lot of technically complicated visual effects. more than a few times digital background was added for necessity. The underwater scene was shot particularly well using an Alexa 65 with underwater housing. The cinematography keeps the film feeling fresh while still being reminiscent of the original Mission Impossible. This Movie looks great it takes advantage of some old and new tricks of filming making an unforgettable combination.
Picture Quality 4/5
This is one of those movies you will want to crank all the way up and ignore the soft pounding of your next door neighbors asking you to turn it down. This movie has a ton of action and does not quit. The movie was mixed very well. I was worried that I would end up stuck glued to the remote; however, I was pleasantly surprised when that turned out to not be the case. There are a lot of key moments in which the sound is intentionally used to take the story to the next level keeping the audience well immersed.
The packaging for this edition is pretty simple, nothing we have not seen before. What is pretty amazing about this edition is the booklet. The “Impossible Stunts Edition” includes a 48 page booklet including original set photos, storyboards, and production images. The booklet is made with a high quality high gloss paper that is quite impressive. The images pop in such an incredible way, I assure the pictures do not do them justice. The only negative comment I have is that it was impossible to find an edition not ruined by the “spider” anti-theft device they use at Target to secure these.
The edition offers a massive 90 minutes of special features on a bonus disc all of which I highly recommend. The Special Features are as follows:
- Lighting the Fuse
- The story of how Director Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise taking the time to develop the story from an initial concept to final release.
- Cruise Control
- A short about the passion and emotion that Cruise carries for the franchise and how he insists on being involved in every process of the making of the films.
- Takes us through the thought process about the camaraderie that is expressed throughout the film.
- …And Rogues
- Takes us through the collection of villains in the film, some more of a threat than others.
- Top Crews
- A celebration of the tremendous crew involved in the process of making the film. Covering everything from production design to directory of photography all the way to costume design.
- Travel Agents
- A discussion about just how important the different locations are. Each shot was thought of intentionally to transport the audience.
- Opera-tion Turandot
- The massive task of filming the amazing Opera scene. Using a real orchestra and an amazing location to bring to life not only a thrilling action scene but a wonderful Opera.
- Practically Impossible
- The director and crew discuss how important it is to use a combination of real stunts and practical old school visual effects to set the very grounded yet believable tone that has become the expectation for the Mission Impossible Films
- Cruising Altitude
- How the big plane stunt came to be. They shot that scene eight times!
- A fight at the Opera
- The process they went through to re-create the Vienna Opera house backstage with a high level of detail and risk.
- Mission: Immersible
- They face the very hard task of filming the underwater sequence. They include real footage of Cruise holding his breath for six minutes.
- Sand Theft Auto
- Director and crew discusses the immense amount of training and planning involved in filming the car chase.
- Run -Don
- Cruise, McQuarrie, and Stunt Coordinator Wade Eastwood collaborate to create a very different technically thrilling foot chase.
- Cruising Altitude
- Editor Eddie Hamilton takes us through the immense task editing and bring all the incredible shots together.
- Variations on a Theme
- Joe Kraemer takes us through the variations of Lalo Schifrin’s original theme song. Whether it is a homage to the original or bits and pieces inserted throughout we are left with massive tribute to a great legacy.
- The Missions Continue
- Cast and crew takes us through the reasons they believe the Mission Impossible films are so memorable and continue to live on.
Special Features 5/5
By all accounts this is a good movie. It is more than enjoyable from start to finish. The amount of effort that each and every member of the cast went through to deliver the film to the absolute highest quality possible is inspiring. Tom Cruise has decided that these movies deserve his entire heart and the result is truly amazing. I will admit that I thought the whole “over the top stunts” bit was a cheap way to keep people coming back. However after watching the 90 minutes of Bonus Features my perception has changed, there is clearly a passion there that even I do not understand. This film was specifically designed for the fans and it delivered on all accounts and that is something that not many films, even the greats, can boast.