What to Expect From Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's Wild IMAX Action Sequences [Plus: Watch the New Trailer]

This Dec. 16, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol premieres in IMAX five days in advance of its general release. Why exactly? Probably to encourage fans of the Tom Cruise franchise to see the picture in the large format director Brad Bird intended when he shot thirty minutes-worth of the fourth Ethan Hunt film in IMAX. To convince journalists that the large format is indeed worth higher ticket prices, an advance release date and a little early buzz, Paramount screened about 20 minutes worth of wild action sequences at the Rave 18 theater in Los Angeles last week. Ahead, the stomach-flipping details (and very mild spoilers).

Producer Bryan Burk (Lost, Star Trek) introduced the footage by explaining that "there's nothing Tom loves more than making these movies. [...] He gives 110 percent which is daunting because I really, on my best day, give 5 percent. He loves doing stunts and being a part of it. Literally, every single shot you see is Tom Cruise. There are no stuntmen involved. He did have a stuntman who would go out and test wires and things. [The stuntman] is literally fearless -- except for one fear which happens to be heights. Fortunately for the rest of us, Tom didn't have that."

With that disclaimer, Burk threw to the first sequence which begins in a jeep as Tom Cruise's IMF agent Ethan Hunt and his team (comprised of Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and, supplying the comic relief, Simon Pegg) speed towards Dubai. "They are literally on ghost protocol which means the entire agency is shut down -- it does not exist," explained Burk beforehand. The foursome heads to the highest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa to "to stop a meeting between two people who should not be meeting."

Once set up inside -- with Patton's character surveying the appropriate floor in disguise -- Renner, Cruise and Pegg's characters figure out how they will infiltrate an impenetrable suite high above them. The only option they have, it seems, is for Hunt to scale the building with high tech "sticky gloves" that can support his weight and adhere himself to the building. The only problem? They, being such new technology, occasionally malfunction -- when the film's hero is nearly a half mile above ground. The entire sequence is shot in dizzying IMAX with sweeping establishing shots showing a picturesque city -- and then the insanely high building that Cruise climbs. One particularly stomach-churning shot pans up the building before flipping over the tower -- looking down -- and keeps going. Another impressive shot runs down the side of the building, giving viewers the sense that they are riding a roller coaster.

Without giving too much away, the tension-filled sequence -- during which Ethan Hawke's life is at risk multiple times -- ends with the perfect comedic button from Simon Pegg. The levity was, as Burk explained, something that was not part of the Mission Impossible franchise beforehand but something that director Bird felt passionate about infusing into the fourth installment.

The second sequence shown was a high-pace chase scene that occurs during a sandstorm. Audience members cannot see anything except sand granules whipping at them and Tom Cruise, who is forced to chase a baddie using a GPS tracker device only since he cannot see more than six inches in front of him. Oh, and did I mention that part of this chase occurs in vehicles racing at high speeds? The scene ends as the sand storm does -- the haze and sand fall away and Cruise is left staring at his target as he speeds away.

So yes, if you are going to make a trip to the local IMAX theater this holiday season, maybe consider Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Tom Cruise only risked his life to give you these death-defying movie thrills.

Watch the new trailer, courtesy of Yahoo:

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