BEIRUT: Unlike the heatwave that is spreading through Lebanon, the summer box office has been rather dull with anticipated titles floundering, and mediocre sequels barely making it through – yet the cause behind this has finally been revealed.
The summer box office belongs to one man, and his name is Tom Cruise.
Back with another high-octane, hold your breath, edge of your seat adventure, Cruise and co. hammer in what is likely one of the best of the Mission Impossible franchise, and they do so with gusto.
Christopher McQuarrie returns to helm his second Mission: Impossible film, and this leads to prove that when one director helms a franchise the results are stronger, better, and most importantly coherent with what came before.
This is in fact what makes FALLOUT so powerful; it knows where it belongs on the macro-level, as well as on a micro-level.
Ethan Hunt’s past, his decisions, his journey have all lead to the consequences that occur in this film.
The narrative written by McQuarrie, takes Ethan and co. on their most difficult mission, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and morally.
During the film’s opening scene, Ethan receives the briefing of his next mission within an old book, that book being HOMER’S THE ODYSSEY, and this is no coincidence but a strategic visual cue laid before the audience.
THE ODYSSEY tells the tale of a man who goes on a seemingly impossible quest to find his way back home to the woman he loves – FALLOUT is an echo of that Greek legend.
All of the elements present in his life are obstacles for Ethan, much like Homer had his share of monsters to overcome.
Erica Sloan the director of the CIA is a representation of the self-serving Calypso, the nymph who kept Odysseus on her island for years; August Walker, Sloan’s henchmen is the Cyclops, a monster who sees the world with one perspective; Julia plays the role of the Sirens, the nymphs who try to keep you living in the past; and finally, Soloman Lane who is Charybdis a monster who devours you gradually, much like how Lane tries to do throughout the film.
This does, however, leave two monsters from the Odyssey: Scylla and Circe, who are essentially represented indirectly through Lane’s Apostles and their arc of wanting more power in the world.
Cinematically, the franchise has had a tendency of making bolder decisions in what type of action set pieces each film will have, but what makes these films – specifically the past three – so powerful is the production’s decision to prioritize practical stunt work and effects over CGI.
As proven via the YouTube featurettes, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, and the rest of the production crew all put in an insane effort into pulling off some of the craziest stunts without the cop-out use of CGI, but rather, the raw reality of the stunts themselves.
This is rather refreshing, and way more appealing to witness in a film, knowing well what other big blockbusters are doing, and frankly it makes other franchises simply look bad.
A case can be made for super-hero films, though the limited use of CGI should be still considered.
Nothing in this film comes off as fake, which directly raises all the stakes and fully engages the audience on all levels – because at the end of the day, these are real people doing the impossible to save the world.
Speaking of the world, like its recent predecessors, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT takes the IMF team around the globe to a series of visually stunning locales.
From Paris where a breathtaking chase sequence occurred around the Arc de Triomphe to Kashmir, which is the location for the film’s third and climactic final act, making the films multicultural adventures that appeal to a global audience.
The score by Lorne Balfe is just as aggressive as the film and does not disappoint at all with apocalyptic orchestral tracks that heighten each moment to its full potential.
Adding to that, the films post-production work is masterful on every level.
From the pace of the edit, to the meticulous soundscape – it is clear that every soul on this film wanted to deliver an unforgettable experience.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT explores a darker and more human side of Ethan Hunt.
In it, we are not only close to a nuclear fallout, but we get to witness the fallout of all of Hunt’s good intentions and herein lies the film’s power and the reason behind its inevitable success.
Running at two hours and twenty-eight minutes, the longest in the franchise so far, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT is relentless, and merciless in its delivery of suspense, thrills, and is the summer blockbuster we’ve been asking for.
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