Mad Max: Fury Road
Time/place: 11am showing at Krikorkian San Clemente
I wasn’t really excited about this new Mad Max venture until I saw the trailer, which entirely embraced a sense of over-the-top madness and elicited “this is nuts and I love it” giggles out of me. I tried making plans to see it with my friends, because this is the rare movie that I’m excited about but would also enjoy seeing with others, but none of that panned out… so, instead of waiting any longer, today I finally saw this fourth movie in the series.
And it was a stinkin’ blast!
I grew up watching the Mad Max movies on TV, especially The Road Warrior, and I loved the insane world, the madness of the car chases, and the fact that those effects were all practical. It was all just really cool 🙂 . Not that they’re mutually exclusive, but I wasn’t a James Bond guy — I was a Mad Max guy. It wasn’t until I was a little older and looked back at them that I really appreciated them as creative works.. and as absolutely nuts. I mean, when I was young, the idea of the Feral Kid from Mad Max 2 was just another part of the movie, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of this world’s madness.
So, here we are in 2015, and I got to see a Mad Max movie in the theater. Similarly to my experience watching last year’s Godzilla, I knew what I was signing up for, and I was rewarded in full with everything I could’ve hoped for. Mad Max: Fury Road is, in every way, a Mad Max movie. George Miller has spent over a decade trying to get this movie done, and what’s come to fruition is a madcap surge of adrenaline and insanity. It’s beautiful 🙂 . The story is simple, as they generally are in these movies, but that doesn’t mean the movie is mindless. Miller mentioned in an interview somewhere, regarding the continuity of this series and whether or not this is a remake, that he thinks perhaps these movies are like different legends being told about Max’s adventures — so, details are potentially missed or added — and I love that notion. Especially considering the tale-telling endings of the second and third movies, the idea that Max is simply a wanderer in the wasteland, inspiring local legends as he adventures around, is not only a really fun one, but one that seems to fit well with the idea of bringing in a new actor and muddling with certain series continuities.
Performance-wise, everyone seems to be pretty aware that they’re in a Mad Max movie, and I’m glad for that 🙂 . The insane are really insane, the jokes amidst the death and carnage are delivered well, and Charlize Theron does a marvelous job in carrying some extra emotional weight with a character that is certainly not just a sidekick. Max is definitely mad here, haunted by his past and biting heads off of things, and Nicholas Hoult’s character development plays out splendidly. I thought it was especially fun that our villain in this movie is played by the same fella who played the villain in the first movie — a welcome inclusion that isn’t evident on-screen unless you’re aware of it. Even the models fit right in amongst this ragtag group of crazies. And yes, the titular Max is played with a perfect level of gruff and wry humor by the always-wonderful Tom Hardy; I’m perfectly happy to see him carry on with the character.
Of course, if you’ve seen the trailer, or any ads for the movie at all, you won’t be surprised at all by what you find in Mad Max: Fury Road. It starts out of the gate immediately and barely slows down. The entire thing is basically one long chase, and it’s fabulous. Things explode everywhere. EVERYWHERE, I tell you! The score is both exhilarating and driving, in a Hans-Zimmer-esque way, while also very beautiful and touching in ways that I wasn’t expecting. The vehicle design (really, though, every form of design) is top-notch creativity, and it all makes sense, too. These cars and trucks are all Frankensteined together for purpose and we see them cleverly used quite often, best-represented in a simple moment in which a semi-truck driver extinguishes flames on the front of the cab. I can only think of one, small thing that I would have changed — a final line for a dying character. Considering that, though, this movie was an absolute blast, and I hope enough of you go see it so that I can get another one!
Mad Max: Fury Road is a figurative and literal blast, exciting me in the very same ways that the original movies did when I was a kid. I can’t sell you on this movie any better than the advertisements already have, so watch the trailer and if that appeals to you.. then that’s that 🙂 .