Video Blog: 'Ghost Protocol' Burj Khalifa IMAX Footage is Incredible
by Alex Billington
October 27, 2011
I love IMAX. Well, I truly love IMAX when it's shot in IMAX, which happens every so often. Thankfully, we have Brad Bird's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which features a number of action scenes shot in 70mm IMAX, coming up the end of this year. A week ago I was invited down to the Rave IMAX in LA to see roughly 20 minutes of footage from Ghost Protocol in IMAX - which just got a fantastic new trailer. We saw most of the Burj Khalifa outside scene and later sandstorm escape. If you haven't already guessed, I loved it, the footage was as thrilling, breathtaking, and just plain awesome, as you'd expect, especially in IMAX.
While director Brad Bird was not in attendance (I did interview him and will be posting that later on), the footage was introduced by producer Bryan Burk, who showed us two scenes. The first was the arrival and outside scenes at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, where Cruise goes outside 100s of stories up and later jumps between windows. Most of the footage was in IMAX, but occasionally switched back to 35mm like The Dark Knight. The second scene was a chase, but this is also where the sandstorm, seen in the trailers, kicks up and comes in, and it becomes a chase in cars, on foot, and all over inside a sandstorm while in IMAX - it was awesome. It really was, and I expected nothing less from Brad Bird and Bad Robot.
Following the screening, which was attended by a few other members of the press, I recorded a video blog with my friend Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) from SlashFilm discussing the footage. We recorded outside the theater, so there's a bit of noise, but we both had very emphatic things to say. Here's the video:
While I've been excited for this new Mission: Impossible simply because Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) is directing, now I know that he can deliver some intense action in live-action. I had a feeling he'd do this, as he is talented as crafting action sequences and it's truly thrilling to see here. The sandstorm chase, which we've seen very little of in public yet, was very cool. The atmosphere he creates when there's sand blowing around everywhere — you can hear it in the speakers all around you, and it fills the IMAX screen with dark color and grit, all at an insane resolution — it's an incredible experience. And I think that's exactly what Bird was going for, the experience of watching this, which is why they brought us in to actually see all this footage in IMAX - the way it was made to be seen (so make sure to see it that way!).
With the footage we saw we also got a hint at the characters and story. Ghost Protocol seems to focus mainly on Tom Cruise—Ethan Hunt as the team leader of a rogue IMF group with Jeremy Renner as Brandt, Paula Patton as Jane Carter, and Simon Pegg as Benji, the tech specialist and comedic relief. The four were working together to disrupt a meeting happening at the Burj Khalifa in only a few hours. The villain that Cruise chases after through the sandstorm was definitely Michael Nyqvist, but that was only revealed after he tore off his face mask. I was starting to put together pieces of the story, as Léa Seydoux also plays an intriguing role, but with all Mission Impossible movies, they're tricky to figure out until you see everything.
Be sure to watch the latest trailer if you haven't yet, as that gives you another glimpse at some of the scenes we saw and the action I'm talking about (and a lot more, too). After getting this early tease of footage, I really can't wait to see the entire thing, but I'll definitely be seeing it in IMAX. There's nothing like that experience and the thrill that comes from watching the entire humungous screen filled with the most high resolution look at Tom Cruise hanging thousands of feet off of the ground in Dubai. Bring it on, Brad Bird! Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol hits IMAX first on December 16th, before a wide release on the 21st.