In the pre-title sequence, there is mention of something called the “Rabbit’s Foot”. Ethan needs to get the Rabbit’s Foot and bring it to Davian. In this clip, this scene, Benji speculates about the Rabbit’s Foot, even describing it as the anti-god. The Rabbit’s Foot is a MacGuffin. Although many of you will know this term, others might not. A MacGuffin is a device used in a story which serves as the driving force for the action. It often has no explanation as to what it is. Its definition isn’t important to the plot. Just its existence is. Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps was one of the first spy films to use a MacGuffin, but many more films use the MacGuffin as a technique to have something upon which to base the action of the film. Some examples include the briefcase in Pulp Fiction and Ronin, the Holy Grail in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the statue in The Maltese Falcon. J.J. Abrams uses MacGuffin’s in "Alias" as well with the Rambaldi Artifacts.
This mask scene spills into the title sequence. The title appears to be designed to further hook the TV show fans. First, there is Lalo Schifrin’s wonderful Mission: Impossible Theme song and the lit fuse which instantly brings the viewer back to the TV series. Lalo’s awesome theme: It’s back. The next part of the title sequence keeps the nostalgia going. As the music plays and the opening title credits are shown, snippets from the rest of the movie are shown. This lets us in on who some of the characters we will see are, as well as giving us a glimpse of some of the upcoming action. Not too much, just a tease. The TV series did this as well in its opening titles. It’s a nice touch they carried over for this film but unfortunately didn’t carry it over to Mission: Impossible II and Mission: Impossible III. We wonder why they didn’t, but they brought it back starting with Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. One thing about the snippets that hits home for me is how it feels like an overture to the movie, much like a Broadway musical usually has an overture to get you familiar with the music and make you want to hear more. This title sequence gives the audience a taste and makes us want more.