Mad Max: Fury Road is Well Beyond Thunderdome
30 years has gone by since Tina Turner ran Max out of Bartertown. Now he’s off to a new adventure well beyond Thunderdome.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Directed by: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Hugo Weaving
It’s been 45 years since the collapse of civilization, and resources such as water, food and oil are scarce. Survivors cling to life at the Citadel, a fortress controlled by the tyrannical Immortan Joe. When Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads a band of rebels on a daring escape through the Wasteland, she forges an alliance with haunted loner Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). Together, they embark on a high-speed race through the desert, pursued relentlessly by the gangs of the apocalypse.*
From the man who brought you the Witches of Eastwick (1987), Babe (1995), Babe 2: Pig in the City (1998), Happy Feet (2006), and Happy Feet 2 (2011) comes the thrilling, high paced, post-apocalyptic smash of the summer: Mad Max: Fury Road. Ok, ok, ok, he also brought us the first three Mad Max movies. I just think it’s funny that most of the king of Ausploitation car movies only other notable work has been kids’ movies and, well, Lorenzo’s Oil (1992).
A lot of people are talking about this movie having a political agenda. Some people are complaining about it while others are praising it. Still others say that there is no agenda and the public is overreacting. If you think that any of the Mad Max films weren’t social commentary on some political talking point, you’re ignorant. These movies come from Australia and to get an idea of what Mad Max is truly about, just look at what was going on in Australia, and the world, in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Go ahead, look it up on Wikipedia. I’ll wait… (Suggested listening for reading said article: Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning.)
In Fury Road the issues being addressed are women’s rights. I have to say, this movie does a great job of conveying the issues. Furthermore, Charlize Theron’s character is a bad ass, strong female. In fact, she is really the main character. The movie focuses on her, and Max just tags along for the ride. The best part is—it works. At least for me it did. I didn’t find it insulting to the franchise at all because if you look at the series as a whole, Max is often a passenger in the ride that is the story.
If you like the Furiosa character you should be excited to know that it’s been confirmed that the next Mad Max movie will focus on, and be titled Mad Max: Furiosa. I think it’s a great step in the right direction. Now if only more female film makers were involved in the production.
I want to talk about the visuals and 3D effects for a second. Honestly this is one of the best 3D films I’ve seen in a long time. The medium wasn’t just used to add depth. This is one of those 3D movies where things fly at you. It actually adds to movie in a significant way. The CGI was for the most part exceptional too. The only weakness this movie held for me was some cheesy hallucination/flashback scenes. In fact, the whole opening sequence is cheesy. Once the title credits come up, the movie takes off.
The characters in the film are bigger than life. Much as you would expect from a Mad Max movie. The villains are large, grotesque, and demented. While the heroes are rugged, strong, and relatable. And the wastelands the movie is set in puts you out of your comfort zone. You feel the pain the characters are feeling and the action is moving so fast you don’t have time to refrain. Your heart is beating and you’re on the edge of your seat till the very end. I’m not a fan of high action but Fury Road does it right!
Miller’s direction in this is in top form, and the editing is solid as well. Wardrobe, props, soundtrack, art direction all great. The only part of production I had a problem with was the cinematography. Cinematographer John Seale went from decent to generic sometime in the mid 2000’s. I honestly think when you only use two color tones (orange and blue) you could be replaced by a computer.
George Miller wrote the book on post-apocalyptic nightmare worlds and he has not lost touch with his roots. Mad Max: Fury Road is every bit as exciting and groundbreaking as the original series. Is the movie perfect? no. Is it worth seeing in theaters? In 3D? Absolutely YES!
*Official synopsis from Warner Bros.