Tag Archives: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

My thoughts on: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

Where to even begin on a film like this? Let’s start with something simple: Mission Impossible: Fallout definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. While it is the sixth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise, it feels as fresh as the first, with twists and turns around every corner and a climax that left me wide-eyed until the very end.

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Fallout is a direct sequel to Rogue Nation and sees Ethan Hunts dealing with the consequences of capturing Solomon Lane alive at the end of that film. Similar to Ghost Protocol (the fourth film), Ethan must again stop nuclear weapons from being unleashed on the world, but this time the enemy is everywhere. One thing I really loved about this film is how it keeps you guessing as to what’s really going on. Most of the characters seem to have their own hidden agendas and just when you think you understand the status quo, the story gets turned on its head (in fact this happens several times throughout the story, my favorite instance coming just before the final act of the film).

Due to commitments to the MCU, Jeremy Renner’s character Will Brandt is absent from the story, but is hardly missed due to the awesome work done by Henry Cavill playing August Walker (more on him in a minute), a CIA agent assigned to work with Hunt. Simon Pegg returns as Benji Dunn and I think this is the most we’ve seen of Luther (Ving Rhames) since MI:2 but I could be wrong. Rebecca Ferguson also returns as Ilsa Faust and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in the series. Sean Harris returns as Solomon Lane and is brilliant throughout. He actually doesn’t say that much compared to his appearance in Rogue Nation, but his words are never wasted.

*WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW FROM THIS POINT*

As I mentioned, the story is full of twists, one of the biggest involves the true identity of a rogue agent known only as “John Lark.” The moment August Walker begins convincing his CIA boss that Ethan is this rogue agent, something in me just knew that it was actually Walker the entire time. It’s an old trope, but a good one: the true villain sets up the hero by ascribing his own actions to someone else. The scary thing is, while I knew Ethan was innocent, there was a still a small voice in the back of my head that whispered “but it really could be him.” And that voice is right, Ethan could have easily done these things, as Walker says, he’s been disavowed and betrayed so many times, it’s a wonder he hasn’t snapped yet. And that makes me wonder if the dialogue was meant to serve as a set up for a future film where Ethan finally does go completely rogue. He’s almost crossed the line several times and it would be interesting to see what would push him over the line.

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Another scene that I loved was Ethan (posing as Lark) meeting an arms dealer known as the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). She was holding a gala in honor of her mother and I bolted upright when she referred to her mother as “Max.” If you don’t know, Max was the name given to an arms dealer/terrorist that Ethan worked with all the way back in the first Mission Impossible film in 1996. According to the trivia, it is indeed the same Max being referred to, making this one giant Easter Egg (and you don’t see that many that reference the first film). It’s also slightly mind-boggling that we’ve now gotten to working with the grown children of characters introduced in earlier films (sometimes it’s easy to forget that this franchise is 22 years old). Assuming the series continues, I have a feeling the White Widow will be returning; she was set up as one of those enigmatic figures that can pop in and out when necessary to the plot.

As for the ending…I won’t spell it out but for a split second, when the screen went white, I really thought the filmmakers had pulled an Infinity War on us. Luckily it turned out to be a colossal fake-out but for a minute I was completely wide-eyed thinking they’d actually gone and done the unthinkable. And speaking of the climax, once it gets going, you will not be able to look away until its over.

The score for Fallout was composed by Lorne Balfe (Penguins of Madagascar; Pacific Rim: Uprising), who does an excellent job with creating and maintaining tension throughout the film. There’s an especially powerful moment that comes at the conclusion of a long chase through London when Ethan is standing on top of a tower.

So in conclusion, where does Fallout fall in the ranking of Mission Impossible films? Well, based on what I saw, the new ranking is as follows:

  1. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  2. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  4. Mission Impossible
  5. MI:3
  6. MI:2

What do you think of my new ranking? What do you think of Mission Impossible: Fallout? Did it live up to the hype? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Music 101: Sidelining

In film music production, sidelining refers to when musicians appear onscreen in a film or television production. They will usually appear with their musical instruments, though they may or may not actually play on them.

Sidelining has occurred a lot over the course of history, so I will only select a few examples to show here.

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The Jazz Singer-1927

During the famous scene where Al Jolson sings, a small orchestra is seated behind him. This movie is often considered the first “talkie” (that is, a film with synchronized sound).

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Gone With the Wind– 1939

During the Confederate ball scene, there is a band on stage.

It’s almost not fair to include this movie since it’s about a group of musicians, but I couldn’t resist!

The Blues Brothers-1980

Practically any movie with live music in it is considered an example of sidelining, so there are too many examples to count. Another good example comes from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) during the scene in the opera house.

For more Film Music 101, see also: Film Music 101

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See also:

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

In movies there are two kinds of music: diegetic and non-diegetic.

Diegetic music refers to music that occurs onscreen, in the universe created by the movie. A great example is seen in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (which came out in the summer of 2015). Without spoiling too much, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) ends up fighting some bad guys in the staging area of the Vienna Opera House while a performance of Puccini’s last opera Turandot is going on below (see the picture).
Throughout the fight, you can hear the performance going on and this serves as the “background music” to the drama happening onscreen.

Non-Diegetic music, by contrast, refers to music that is being played by an offscreen source, namely an orchestra, and most film music is considered to be non-diegetic. To record the music, the film plays on a screen while the orchestra records and it looks rather similar to the image below.
 
And there you have it, a little look into some of the terminology of film music. Expect another installment next week! Hope you enjoyed it.
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