‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Stunt Featurette’ Fights Against Blockbluster Bloat

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Stunt Featurette
Directed by Paramount Digital Marketing
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Towards the end of a summer-movie season heavy on spectacle but sometimes disappointingly short on truly memorable and well-executed action sequences (especially during the long June/July comedown following the release of Mad Max: Fury Road), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Stunt Featurette arrives as a soothing balm, depicting an airplane-based stunt with cleanly shot (and CG-light) aplomb and fighting against blockbuster bloat by coming in at just over a minute. Star Tom Cruise straps himself to a plane and it takes off—not just an impressive piece of stuntcraft, but a canny a metaphor for the slow but steady ascension of our Obama-era economy.

Stunt Featurette isn’t perfect. Some of Cruise’s dialogue, about his inability to sleep the night before his stunt, along with his terse uttering of “let’s go” just before hooking himself to a real aircraft, is a bit boilerplate, though the actor delivers exposition (“if something went wrong, I can’t get into the airplane until we land”) with typically convincing intensity. It’s a shame that Cruise’s charisma can’t save the continuation of the unfortunate trend begun by its predecessors, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Trailer and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Trailer 2: playing a bare minimum of the iconic and trailer-ready Mission: Impossible theme music. Twenty-two seconds or so in Trailer 2 becomes, at best, maybe two notes in Stunt Featurette.

Still, Trailer Featurette offers plans plenty to chew on. Devotees will parse its intricacies just as they compared the subtle but fascinating differences between previous series favorites Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Official Trailer #1 and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Official Trailer. It remains to be seen whether Featurette will age as well as those trailers, but hopefully it augers a return to featurettes that rely more on practical stuntwork and inventive filmmaking than the usual computer-generated tricks. Even in this relatively austere production, names are displayed onscreen using unnecessary computer effects. As exhilarating as Paramount Digital Marketing’s work is, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Stunt Featurette is little more than a featurette designed to showcase a particular stunt as part of a movie’s marketing plan. What was refreshing ninety seconds ago has since become tired and stale.

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