Yeah, just confirmed the first movie did it too, though the editing was a little quicker and more chaotic than Fallout at least. So you could make a case that Fallout and the later movies do give more away than they need to, but the montage has been a staple of the franchise.
Okay, they had montages in 1, 4, 5, and 6. No montage in 2 or 3.
It’s crazy how giddy I still am about this movie. I honestly feel like some kind of Jehovah’s Witness, since I feel like going around to everyone I see and ask them “Have you heard the good news? Please go see Mission Impossible: Fallout.”
So if you guys have someone knock on your door when you’re having dinner, that’s probably me. Have you heard the good news, you guys?
I really enjoyed this and I’m glad it was my first IMAX experience ever. I haven’t watched a Mission Impossible movie since that terrible John Woo one with the Limp Bizkit soundtrack, so I was pleasantly surprised by how terrific Fallout was. The set pieces were inspired. No one can match Cruise’s absurd dedication as a movie star.
There were four scenes in the movie that really stuck with me even more than the action scenes.
Scene 1 spoilers
- The planning version of the prisoner capture in Paris. The sun-drenched way they did the photography of this scene, the way the soundtrack takes precedent and there’s no sound effects, no gunfire, and it slows down as it moves along, slipping into slow motion as Ethan gets out of the van and slowly walks up and executes the last police officer in cold blood. Just the way they did this scene, it really sinks in, oh my god, no, Ethan would never go with this plan.
Scene 2 spoilers
- The scene where they’re out of the boat and open the garage door onto the Paris street, and there’s a young female Police Officer there. This is the other side of that scene above. This is exactly the situation that Ethan wanted to avoid, and it’s just done so well, from the almost comedic start to the scene to the sudden action, to the close-up shot where the look is exchanged between the cop and Ethan.
Scene 3 and 4 spoilers
- Ving Rhames was so good in both the scenes with the two main women in Ethan’s life. He’s the perfect character for this since he’s been in all the movies and has been with him since the beginning. And Ving Rhames really sells it so well. These two scenes were the emotional core of the film.
I’m only about halfway through so far, but yeah, wow. Some if it’s literally unbelievable. I’m not here to call McQuarrie a liar, but surely he’s embellishing a little bit, right? He’s got to be playing up the mythology of the franchise and Cruise, or else everyone involved in making this movie is literally insane.
Yeah, I bet he did have ideas in mind, but I completely believe him when he says that stunts and locations come first - that he just tells the location people to find cool places, and they’ll figure out what to do with it after they find it.
He was a screenwriter long before he started directing, so he’s probably more comfortable flying by wire. Whereas a more traditional director would probably panic without having a script.
And it really does sound like he and Cruise are simpatico in terms of thinking. Cruise could literally get his pick of directors, and he sticks with McQuarrie.
These movies are nothing but ridiculous McGuffin chases at the end of the day. No one goes for the plot. It’s all about the insane stunts that Tom Cruise will pull at this point. It just really helps that the action and stunts are so real (because they mostly are), as well as the fact that they have a great cast and know how to use each cast member’s strengths perfectly.
The fact they left Solomon Lane alive makes me think he’ll be back one more time. This felt like an Empire Strikes Back type middle part of a trilogy. They didn’t bring in the Apostles, just Lane. The Syndicate seems like a larger threat still. Maybe MI:7 brings all this to a close?
Emotionally, this felt like a really appropriate ending to the whole series to me. They really used Ving Rhames and Michelle Monahan and Rebecca Furgeson well to tie up loose ends and really bring everything together..
The funny part is that all the stuff he fills in between the action scenes, the stuff he supposedly writes on the fly while they’re out there, is really good stuff. And the way he describes it, it makes sense. They’re constantly changing the action setpieces themselves because of circumstances, and then writing the script for the scenes in between that explain why those action scenes play out the way they do. I bet that’s why so many other action movies have all these niggling little things that don’t make sense, and you think “why didn’t they just add a line here and there to better explain that?”
It’s funny how he describes either him or Tom doing just that. “The audience will be confused if we do it this way, we should change it this way”, and both of them agree. I wonder if this is the best way to do action movies after all? And you’re right, it probably wouldn’t work at all if McQuarrie wasn’t a screenwriter as well.
With that said, he seems to have gotten way better at it with each successive movie. I felt that the scenes he wrote at the end of Ghost Protocol that brings back Ethan’s wife, they had no real emotional connection. His scene with Jeremy Renner and describing how the Chechens didn’t really kill his wife after all, it was all too much tell, not show. Even Rogue Nation, while being really good with the action set pieces, felt more dutiful and did the bare minimum to tell the story of how you get from action piece to action piece. I feel like with Fallout, he finally nailed it. Both the emotional core of Ethan and the toll it takes on a man to be the savior of the world, and the actual saving of the world that goes on throughout the movie.
Btw, McQuarrie’s rule of thumb that he rattled off in that podcast that if you make a billion dollars for the studios, then they let you make whatever you want, I hope this is the movie that makes a billion for the studios so that McQuarrie gets to make the WW2 film he wants to make or whatever else.
(His example was Nolan making a billion for them with The Dark Knight, which is why he got to make Dunkirk).
McQuarrie did an awesome podcast with Empire for Rogue Nation - 2h39min!! - longer than the actual damn movie and it really lays out his methodical approach to constructing that movie and creating a well rounded female character, that is not a damsel or just a female playing a “male character” or other stereotype. (among lots of other things) You get a great insight into writing scripts, characters and constructing summer action movies.
I just finished watching Fallout and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next Empire interview. Seems like its 2x 2.5 hrs ?? nuts! Its great to have a director so willing to let you look behind the curtain.
Yeah, he really, really is. I also like that he is trying to stay focused on script writing process when he’s talking to writers-directors.
I would recommend to listen to his other Q&As and since Rogue Nation isn’t off-topic here, his Rogue Nation Q&A with McQuarrie was also great, albeit a bit less focused cause it featured Tom Cruise as well.