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New 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' Trailer + IMAX Preview

Paramount today unleashed a new trailer for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the fourth chapter in the blockbuster action saga. We got a chance to check out some IMAX footage from the film last week. Check out the trailer below, and read on for our recap of the IMAX preview:

""So that's why they're releasing it early in IMAX.""

Such was the consensus reaction last week after Paramount screened footage from its upcoming big-budget action sequel, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, for a group of local journalists at the Rave 18 IMAX in Los Angeles. The studio had surprised many in Hollywood when it announced in September that it would be releasing the Tom Cruise tentpole five days early in IMAX theaters, but shortly after the presentation began, the logic behind the decision became abundantly clear: Director Brad Bird has fashioned this film to be seen on as large a screen as possible.

Paramount screened two scenes, the first of which was the clear highlight. It takes place shortly after the IMF has been shuttered by the president after some sort of cataclysmic event. Superspy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his IMF refugees, played by Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton, are en route to Dubai's Burj Khalifa -- the tallest building in the world - where, we are told, two very bad people are scheduled to meet. With limited resources and time running short, they hastily concoct a scheme to prevent the meeting that, naturally, calls for the most hazardous and complicated approach possible. Using a pair of high-tech adhesive gloves, Hunt attempts to scale the side of the building to access a room above him, but things go awry and he's forced to improvise.

This scene has already been teased in M:I 4 trailers and this featurette, but it is staggeringly cool when glimpsed on the large-format canvas. Most impressive to my eyes was the establishing shot of the building, a sweeping aerial dazzler in which the camera soars up to and then over the towering edifice, slowing down at the top and peering directly down at it. The moment, in which we are essentially suspended 2,700 feet in the air, is positively knee-knocking.

Also evident in the scene is the sense of humor of Bird, who made it a priority to bring a degree of levity to Ghost Protocol. The interplay between the characters crackles with a wit not seen in previous Mission: Impossible films, but without feeling forced or tonally inappropriate. Renner's character, at least in this footage, seems positioned to be the comedic whipping boy.

The second clip depicted a chase scene that begins with a low-angle shot of Hunt running from a building in pursuit of a fleeing bad guy as a massive sandstorm approaches. Seen on an IMAX screen, Cruise's trademark stride becomes almost freakishly intense. As the blinding snowstorm sets upon them, the two careen through the streets of Dubai, first on foot and then in BMWs, the diminished visibility adding another layer of suspense to the chase.

All told, Bird shot nearly 30 minutes of footage for Ghost Protocol using IMAX cameras, and if what I saw is any indication of what to expect when the film opens in IMAX on December 16, it should easily become the format's most successful release to date.