Mad Max: Fury Road

by | May 18, 2015 | 0 comments

George Miller Reboots the Series with A Beautifully Entertaining Film

Here’s a question: can an action film ever be considered art? Usually with big blockbusters such as Avengers or the Fast and Furious series, explosions are paired up with corny dialogue. Never do we see a film that treats this genre with respect and is willing to take risks. The last time such a movie, of the action/blockbuster genre, was able to achieve such balance and quality was probably with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. But we have another savior, in the shape of mastermind George Miller; his latest installment in the Mad Max series: Mad Max: Fury Road, might compete to be one of the best films of the series, and I will be bold enough to say that it is one of the best films of the year.

Mad Max: Fury Road achieves such a high caliber due to the incredible simplicity of its plot and the lack of unnecessary sub plots featured in today’s action flicks. Fury Road avoids telling the entire backstory of our main character Max (Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson), and simply jumps straight into the action with Max being captured and held prisoner. We are in post apocalyptic Australia (although the film was filmed in Namibia due to the very rainy season that Australia had). In the original Mad Max films of the early 80s, the main concern then was a nuclear apocalypse, while this film sticks more or less to that apocalyptic theme, one can’t help but look at the dry landscapes and relate them to the climate change epidemic we are facing. With Max prisoner to an oppressive leader of survivors named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), we move on to the story of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who ends up being the true main character of this story. Furiosa is a loyal and celebrated commander of Immortan Joe’s army of War Boys. However, as the story opens we see Furiosa betray Immortan Joe and steal his personal Breeders (women slaves used to feed and reproduce the survivor population). A chase ensues and Max, being used as a blood bag, for an ill soldier named Nux (Nicholas Hoult) is taken along for the ride.

What is most impressive about this film is that the majority of special effects used for the explosions and flying cars were not CGI (according to IMBb 80% of the special effects were live stunts). I think the risk alone of that by the actors is enough to earn my respect. However, the explosions themselves were panned to look beautiful; this paired with the either heavy metal soundtrack or Verdi makes most of the fight scenes feel majestic.

George Miller is an aged director (70); he’s made various great films including the original Mad Max trilogy, and the more family friendly Babe and Happy Feet. What is most striking about Fury Road is the lack of dialogue. Apparently Miller had composed the film using storyboards first, it was only after that that a screenplay was written. And I think it’s the fact that Miller created the story visually first that makes this become a precise spectacle. 

This lack of dialogue also allows our actors to display the frantic paranoia that verges on insanity. The performances from Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are amazing, but the true surprise here is Nicholas Hoult. Hoult is probably better known for his role as Beast in the new installments of the X-Men franchise; in Mad Max he plays a crazed War Boy who has Max as his prisoner and blood bag. Hoult portrays his character with a restricted insanity so that he seems scary enough, but one does pity him. Tom Hardy plays Max with more grunts than dialogue, and when he does speak he uses a voice that recalls his role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. However, after such scarring moments of his past one cannot blame Max’s character for having gone… well, mad. So in that aspect, Hardy does a good job in handling the role. As for Charlize Theron, she plays Furiosa with a composed viciousness; since she is not objectified in this film as the attractive female that she is, she was able to show the range of her acting chops with more ease. In fact the majority of the second half of the film was filled with a womanpower that was appreciated and, in the apocalyptic setting, didn’t seem forced at all. It was only in some points that the actors felt a little lost amongst the chaos so that some character development doesn’t end up being too realistic.

So in conclusion, Fury Road is the perfect reboot/sequel to the Mad Max trilogy. The beautifully created action sequences along with and explosive pace are enough to make one feel goosebumps. George Miller you’ve done it again. 







Visual Aesthetic

What is your favorite Mad Max movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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