Be sure to come back later this week for Jon’s official review of Mad Max: Fury Road
My name is Evan. My world is film. And WordPress blogs.
Every year, countless, massive, over the top action films flood our theaters, and we as writers… Web, print, tweeting, whatever… We’re the ones who stand before the masses wondering what piece of hot garbage flick they’ll spend 12 bucks a head on for a holiday weekend. Really, though. Who thought Hot Pursuit looked any good?
We’re the line in the sand between the people and the box office.
Well. This future. This Mad Max. I’ve seen it. And before you write it off as just another remake, I’m here to tell you… This shit is totally different. Seriously. It’s awesome.
Mad Max is more than just a cult favorite film series. George Miller’s original Mad Max films did things for apocalyptic action and car chases that were barely imaginable to achieve with the cameras available in the late 70s and early 80s. Not only did it single handedly put Mel Gibson on the map as one of the most badass antiheroes of all time, but was among the top grossing films for decades until Titanic barged through in 1997.
After a lame threequel co-starring Tina Turner brought Max down to MTV’s level, George Miller has come back 3 decades later to his beloved franchise after years of major struggle and ire to get it made. More than the rest of the films this year, Fury Road has a global reputation at stake.
Between crazy Mel out of the picture, and new rising “psycho” performer Tom Hardy in the role, plus a massive production relocation from Australia to Africa, and a looong savored post production process, SOMEHOW Fury Road is the exact revitalization that not only did the Mad Max series need, but I would argue blockbuster films in general need. Here, Miller’s madness pays off in full.
But you might be asking, as an action movie, how is it any different from Fast and Furious? Or, dare I say, Transformers?
Well shut up and I’ll tell you.
In the same way as Mel, Hardy as Max completely works portrayed as a man of few words with enough characterization to be our floodgate into the insanity of the wasteland. The rest of the casts serves as our guides, and when it comes to our other top billing stars, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, the characters, like Max, are defined and grown by their actions.
Speaking of Charlize, the Internet should be quite pleased with her character Furiosa, as she is arguably the hero of the film with courage, smarts, drive and way more to say than Hardy as The Road Warrior.
Instead of a solid, complex plot, Miller makes sure that there is fluidity to the film’s progress as there is 1) always someone being chased from point A to point B, and 2) the cars are not just cars. They’re the film’s sets. Think of the line of bizarre, vehicular abominations as a mobile stage for Miller to set his characters into impossible situations.
The action itself, as I said, leads the direction of the film, and between the exorbitant amount of pyrotechnics and practical effects to offset the CGI and adding Miller’s eye for making insanity look as clear as day, audiences will be left holding their breath by the time the first chase ends. At least, the audience I was in did.
It’s a long and exhausting two hours, yet somehow every frame is rich with madness and heavily detailed world building through production design that we don’t get to see in film anymore.
Despite being a fresh fan of the franchise, I can see how much passion George Miller put into this as much as he did the first films. The same as in 1979, if you know to look for it, you can see how far he tries to push the physical boundaries of what film can capture, and if you look at The Road Warrior back to back with even the trailers for Fury Road, you can see the love and respect he has for the things that made his original work beloved by the world.
For days after seeing it, the only thing I could spew out of my mouth was just that it was “completely, batshit insane, in the best way possible.” How do you explain the craziness of a scene where Max faces off with a guy on a bungee cord playing a fire breathing guitar atop an amplified truck? No. Just no. Words don’t do it justice. Mad Max Fury Road needs to be seen to be believed. There is just no other option.
The only thing left for me to say at this juncture is “I Love You, George Miller”