Friday May 15, 2015
The Secret Compass crew went to see the first advanced showing of the new Mad Max movie that screened in Fort Collins last night and I was really happy with how this turned out. As a huge Mad Max fan, I have waited 30 years for this film! Before I start, I’d like to share a few points regarding the production of Fury Road.
-Mad Max: Fury Road is not a 4th installment in the franchise. It is not a continuation of what takes place after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It’s a reboot of the entire story, but this is not your usual run-of-the-mill Hollywood rehash and I say that with certainty because the guy rebooting the franchise is none other than George Miller himself. This is the guy that dreamt up Mad Max to begin with, and considering that the blue van spinning around in the opening sequence of the first Mad Max in 1979 was his personal vehicle, I’d say his name is a name we should already be familiar with. If anyone would have the street cred to reboot the Mad Max franchise, let it be the original mastermind himself. Supposedly, Fury Road is the first installment in a brand new trilogy. AWESOME!!
-Supposedly, all car crashes and stunts in this film were filmed as is, no CGI. The production team used CGI for explosions, weather, and other special effects, but all of the basic crashes were executed by professional stuntmen and real vehicles, custom built and then run into the ground. After seeing the film for myself, there are a couple of vehicle-related scenes that I don’t think could’ve been filmed but all in all, this could very well be true. I’m really looking forward to the bluray and whatever documentaries/behind-the-scenes clips come with it. George Miller’s cred just went exponential!
-For once, the trailers did not spoil the movie. All of the footage that I saw prior to the release was mostly featured in the first 20-30 minutes of the movie.
OK, I will start with a basic synopsis and then get onto my highlights.
Max (played by Tom Hardy) is captured in a post-apocalyptic wasteland at the beginning of the film and imprisoned in a compound know as The Citadel, run by a ruthless warlord named Immorten Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who actually played Toecutter, the villain in the first Mad Max film). Enter Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron), Joe’s right hand lady who is the driver of the big rig that does the fuel runs from the Citadel to “Gas Town” and back. Little does Joe know, Furiosa has other plans for this run, specifically to escape with Joe’s most prized possessions.
-For starters, I was bummed to see Max’s Interceptor get trashed within the first few seconds of the film. His car was such a highlight in the first two installments and I was hoping that the Interceptor as we knew it would have had more screen time. I think this may be my only complaint!
-Tom Hardy was simply amazing as the new Max. This is a Max unlike what we saw in the first films, 1979 – 1985. We knew that Mel Gibson’s Max was suffering from the trauma he experienced in the first film in 1979, but Fury Road brings this character to a whole new level. Tom Hardy’s Max is straight up hallucinating and the voice(s) inside his head are translating to the physical world. This makes for a glitchy, somewhat psychotic Max that was brought to life in the best way by Tom Hardy. George Miller picked the right guy.
-The stunts, crashes, and action make this a thrill-ride from start to finish. There’s been so much of this in film since CGI took over 20-25 years ago that our senses have been dulled, but Fury Road delivers and delivers in a big way. I was frozen in my seat through most of the film.
-I normally do not like comic relief in my dark, dirty, gritty sci-fi, and initially thought little of the guitar soloist, but the more I saw of him, the more I laughed. This guy is a real professional! He brings it down to a slow, mean chug when the chase slows down, and then whines it back up into a lickety-lick whammy bar solo frenzy when the chase picks back up again. Man, does this guy know how to conduct an orchestra!
-I really liked the plot. ***SEMI SPOILER ALERT but not really***
This is not just a smash-em-up with no thought. Like all the other Mad Max movies, the viewer is presented with critical thought and I came away from this turning over life’s bigger questions in my head. I like the suggestions that a post apocalyptic world would have the stronger controlling the weaker by controlling the resources, and the stronger would be treating their women as property, because realistically, if our world really did go to hell, that’s exactly what I think would happen. I like the thought process behind Furiosa being motivated to take the fertility out of the Citadel, back to her homeland where she was kidnapped from as a child. YES I agree with some of my more critical friends that saw the film with me: having Max come upon “5 hot chicks showering in the desert” has a bit of a blockbuster feel but hey, we all knew this wasn’t an indie film :) I also like the thought process behind Furiosa’s tribe of aging women holding onto the last seeds of humanity, in hopes to one day plant them again. This is all a masterful play on the warmongering you see in our world today, and the exploitation of the resources and natural habitat our Mother Earth offers us. There are numerous articles going up this morning, calling for boycotts of the film due to the “feminist propaganda.” Here’s one headline:
Mad Max: Fury Road enrages Men's Rights Activists who claim they are being duped by action sequences into watching 'feminist propaganda'
OMG are you guys serious? Sorry, but if you meatheads can’t be bothered with a reminder that humans are collectively wiping their asses on Mother Earth and all that she gives us, in the middle of your supposed guy-fest action movie, maybe you should rethink your priorities in life, and the challenges our planet faces in recovering from the toxicity we have created in the last 100 years. Hello, global warming? Melting ice? Rising sea levels? Nukes pointed at each other? Wow, you guys are geniuses.
-The ending. ***MAJOR CONFIRMED MEGA CHAINSAWS OF DOOM SPOILER ALERT***
Loved it. It was similar to other Mad Max endings with some of our beloved characters heading towards a somewhat more favorable position than they saw themselves in earlier in the film, and Max retreats to the wasteland. As Tina Turner once proclaimed, “We don’t need another hero…” and Tom Hardy’s Max is still no hero.
All in all, I was really, really impressed with the film. As usual, George Miller has me thinking long and hard about not only the post apocalypse, but what would cause it, and what it would it take to restore hope. I sincerely appreciated all of the little tributes to the first three Mad Max films and sincerely appreciated the hard work and dedication that went into finally bringing Fury Road, which has been in the works for more than 15 years, to light. If you like action films that also make you reflect on the world we live in, go see this film!