Mad As Ever – Mad Max Fury Road

madmaxfuryroad

For those seeking any semblance of stability and honor of traditional core values in today’s world; look no further – Mad Max has returned,  The Post-Apocalypse is in full bloom; filled with the crazies, stark landscape, magnificent vehicles and a villain with a warped singular focus on the hoarding of a natural resource.

Producer, Writer and Director George Miller (Dead Calm, Babe, Flirting, Happy Feet) provides a fourth installment of his road show that is true to its predecessors and mad as ever.  George does not need no stinking word or packaging phrase like ‘re-boot’ or ‘brand’ accompanying this film.

With Fury Road, Miller – who wrote the rule-book on Post-Apocalypse film-making – returns in full stride without feeling the need to provide viewers references to previous installments or character updates.  Miller demonstrates to all how weak, uninventive and almost unwatchable today’s summer blockbuster have become.  Thanks Hollywood and Marvel.

At 120 minutes runtime, Fury Road is paced to perfection. The sequences of exhilaration are thrilling and the moments of pause feel logical and natural. And then there are the vehicles…oh…oh the vehicles may very well be the stars of Fury Road and at a minimum worth the price of admission in and of themselves.

And the natural resource you ask?  There are two; water and mothers milk.  In a different take, the resources are the desire of the villain but not its heroes.  Escape to a better place is their motive.

Cinematically, John Seale (AA The English Patient, Rain Man, The American President) offers a presentation in terms of color, texture and point of perspective that is nothing short of stunning.  The mix of color and light create a screen presence that at times is simply gorgeous.  If I have one complaint, and it is a big one, it would the choice of having Fury Road edited and presented in alternating jagged stop-action, regular motion, jagged speeded-action forms.  While arresting and distinctive – and a popular style for the moment especially in fight scenes – its presence had me seriously considering leaving the movie theater early in the viewing.  While I am happy to have stuck it out, the implication is that Mad Max – Fury Road will most probably be a one viewing film for me instead of the repeater and member of my film library it otherwise deserves.

True to all the Mad Max films the supporting characters are quirky and perfectly balanced in terms of being completely out of place and in place – simultaneously.  In this incarnation think Runway Models riding in reconstituted water transports filled with mothers milk.

In Fury Road Max Rockatansky, played by Tom Hardy (Layer Cake, Inception, The Dark Knight) is not a talker, but one of thought and expression. Hardy performs well on this front.  Max is also not the star or hero in Fury Road. Imperator Furiosa is the star. Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron (AA Monster, 2 Days in the Valley, The Italian Job) is the person making the bold move and taker of calculated risk.  Theron’s character is cool and calm under pressure and Charlize fits the role well.

Miller also includes a group or band that are the heroes of Furiosa and have been casted against type.  It includes the exotic looking Megan Gale (Water Diviner).

Another nice aspect to Fury Road is the inclusion of Nick Hoult (About A Boy, The Weatherman, A Single Man) in the role of Nux.  The role of Nux is a different one for the Mad Max series and a pleasant surprise.

Ultimately the real star of Mad Max Fury Road may be Location Manager Carl Wood (Unbroken, Australia) and the Locations.  Fury Road was filmed on two separate continents – Namibia in Southern Africa and New South Wales in Australia.

 

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