Mar 23, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Full Trailer and Expanded Analysis

Yesterday we saw a minute long teaser for TV and a cool poster; today we have the first full trailer for Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (formerly known only as Mission: Impossible 5). Check it out! What follows is a write-through from my commentary yesterday with a lot more to say about the longer version.

There are many, many things to love about this trailer, especially for fans of the TV series. Chief among them is that it delivers—big time!—on the tantalizing promise that concluded Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol: the big screen IMF are now taking on The Syndicate! But this isn't the organized crime Syndicate of sweaty, balding men in bad Seventies suits from the TV show. ("Syndicate" was a popular and more acceptable term than "Mafia" on television back then.) This new Syndicate was introduced (to the delight of long-term fans) at the end of the last movie as "a new terrorist group calling itself 'The Syndicate,'" and in this trailer we learn even more about it. It's the "rogue nation" of the title, an "anti-IMF" with the same extraordinary skill sets. It's so secret that the CIA haven't been able to dig up any intel on them. Or is the implication in the trailer less polite than that? Has the Syndicate infiltrated the CIA? Are they affiliated with them? This version of The Syndicate certainly seems kin to Hydra (as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), SPECTRE (returning for the first time since 1971 to antagonize James Bond in the next movie), KAOS (who earn a subtle verbal allusion from Alec Baldwin in the Rogue Nation trailer) and THRUSH.

With at least three of those villainous organizations active on screen this year (Hydra is set up to return in The Avengers: Age of Ultron), it's clear that evil agencies are enjoying a comeback. Why is this? Is it because of real world terrorist groups like ISIS? (In the face of actual, seemingly insurmountable evil, perhaps audiences crave acronyms that can actually be destroyed by heroes.) Or is it because of increased distrust in our own governments? (Concocting conspiracies of cabals that have infiltrated all levels of government seems preferable to admitting that giant bureaucracies are inherently fallible.) Or is it just because Marvel had huge success adapting a kind of silly SPECTRE rip-off for the big screen and making "Hail Hydra" a $700+ million cultural meme? Whatever the case, I love the idea of reviving The Syndicate in the Mission: Impossible movies. I'm a big fan of the so-called "Syndicate Seasons" from the show's later years, even though that term is really a misnomer. The Syndicate showed up as early as the very first season, and even in the last season it wasn't all organized crime; the IMF was still taking on spies and terrorists as well. And hearing Bob Johnson's tape recorded voice say "The Syndicate" dozens and dozens of times in his mission briefings for Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) conditioned me to crave it in the movies.

The Syndicate isn't the only nod to the original series in this trailer. Best of all is that this movie, like Ghost Protocol before it (but unlike the first couple of theatrical features) seems to follow the team format of the series rather than being "The Tom Cruise Show." The most obscure reference is actually to a script that was never made. The premise of dismantling the IMF comes from George Schenck's sadly unfilmed script for a TV reunion movie entitled Mission: Impossible 1980. That script opened audaciously with Jim Phelps being released from prison(!), identified as "the last of the Watergate-era criminals." He's been paying the price for, as the script puts it, "violating people's civil rights and intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries." (All of which, of course, the IMF of the TV show was most certainly guilty.) But Jim remains confident of his decisions. "Everything I did..." he explains, "everything the IMF did... I believed was for the good of the country."

"But the country convicted you!" argues a journalist. "On six counts of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping, and two counts of refusing to testify before a Congressional committee." Which all sounds an awful lot like the Alec Baldwin character's reasons for wanting to shut down the IMF in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing this interesting premise finally explored on film. All in all, this movie looks great. It clearly draws from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Skyfall, but those are excellent sources to draw from. And their themes can be explored differently in the context of Mission: Impossible. I can't wait to see how it turns out! Based on the trailers, between this and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (and hopefully SPECTRE by the end of the week!), spy fans have quite a lot to look forward to this year.

Read my reviews of the Syndicate-heavy seasons of Mission: Impossible:

DVD Review: Mission: Impossible: The Seventh TV Season
DVD Review: Mission: Impossible: The Sixth TV Season
DVD Review: Mission: Impossible: The Fifth TV Season


Unknown said...

Tom Rocks. Period.

Unknown said...

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is full of incredible stunts, motorcycle chases and daring escapes and is really a solid Summer action flick.

Watch Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Online