Review: Mad Max Fury Road

My childhood was filled with big movie franchises from the 70’s and 80’s despite my 90’s birth-year. I remember The Terminator and Alien filling my head with wild sci-fi fantasies, and Indiana Jones and Star Wars appealing to my boyish sense of adventure. Last year, around October, the first trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road hit the internet. Being the film fanatic I am, I try to keep up with upcoming movies, and trailers are an excellent way to determine whether or not you’re interested in seeing the film. But all of you know this, it’s why they make trailers in the first place (although there are some pretty universally bad ones). The reason I bring this up, is because I watched that damn trailer at least one hundred times. The trailer itself was packed with as much action as an entire season of Game of Thrones. Watching that trailer over and over again, I knew I was seeing something special, but I couldn’t quite place my finger my on it.

That’s when I started digging. I had heard about the original Mad Max series starring Mel Gibson, but had never had any real interest in seeing them. The reason for this was because I had already seen Lethal Weapon, and honestly did not care to watch any more of Mel’s early stuff. Now things had changed, I needed to know what I was looking at in this trailer. I watched the original Mad Max and immediately put on The Road Warrior as soon as the closing credits started rolling. The experience made me feel like a kid again, watching an action movie without having to worry about whether or not what I was seeing was real, not having to think about overly-complicated plots, not having to be concerned about if a character was actually good or bad. George Miller made these films to be nearly as simple as possible, but what he created was a masterpiece. I could not wait for Fury Road. It was the only film I cared about seeing this past summer; forget Jurassic World and forget The Avengers, this was the sequel I wanted to see. The real special thing about Fury Road was that it delivered everything it had promised me. Without a doubt, this is the film I want to see walk away with the Best Picture award at the Oscars. George Miller, you sir, are a genius.

 

Story: 9/10

The over-simplified plot of this film is part of what makes it a masterpiece. You can call it “deceivingly complicated” if you really want, but I would still score it at a 9. Miller said in an interview that his dream was to make a 120 minute car chase, and that’s just about what he gave us. The plot can be boiled down to this: [Possible Spoilers] they drive one way for a while, and then they turn around and drive back [End Spoilers]. It’s genius. The amount that Miller was able to accomplish with this oh-so simple plot line was phenomenal. It has good characters, it’s emotional, it’s gritty, and it’s just the greatest thing to happen to film this year, as I’m sure many people have stated before me.

 

Acting: 9.5/10

Hardy and Theron were absolutely perfect together, as I’m sure you’ve been told many times. With them alone, however, I would probably just give this an 8 and be done with it. The reason i gave it a 9.5, is because the real heroes and heroines in this cast are the stunt actors and actresses. The realness of the action sequences are really what make this film so exciting and fun to watch, and the stunt work plays a huge role in accomplishing that.

Quick FunFact: the actor who plays Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) also plays the antagonist in the original Mad Max movie. He had just as great of a voice back then as he does now. He’s also an excellent villain.

 

Visuals: 9.8/10

I purposefully changed the name of my “Cinematography” score specifically to let you guys know how special and important this part of the film is. Not only should this film be praised for slaying the beast of CGI that plagues action movies nowadays, it is also an excellently shot film, even rivaling one of my other favorites of this year, Sicario. Everything is shown in great wide angels, and the scenery is stunning. The action sequences flow seamlessly, and the action itself is a spectacle that seems to have been forgotten by Hollywood in its long obsession over CGI. I may write a rant on CGI at some point in the future, but hopefully this movie will cause a huge trend for films to revert back to real stunts and action sequences, and I won’t have to bitch about it anymore.

 

Music: 9/10

Before seeing the film, this was the element I was least excited for. Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) is a superstar in the world of electronic dance music…or, so I’m told. For the most part, I’m not a huge fan of synthesized music, be it on an actual keyboard or on a computer. I didn’t really see how his style would fit with the flow and tone of the film. Holkenborg surprised me with an excellent score. You can tell he was influenced heavily from working with Hans Zimmer (one of my favorites), and that influence is exactly what he needed for this film. The score is fulled with fast-paced, heart pounding songs. The heavy drums, quick strings, and booming horns pair surprisingly well with the pulsing synthesizers. The score is also filled with surprisingly emotional songs as well, showing of Holkenborg’s range, and that he can make much more than fast paced action/dance songs.

 

X-Factor: 8/10, There’s a giant speaker truck with a guy who has a guitar-flamethrower

 

Overall: 9/10

I said in my review of Sicario, that it was my favorite film of the year. I must apologize, because I’m not sure I was thinking clearly when I wrote that. I have seen Fury Road more times this year than any film that has come out in the past 5 years. It doesn’t really get old. With Fury Road comes the hope of a new era of action films and films in general. If this doesn’t take the award, The Revenant surely will. Fury Road also has 9 other awards up for grabs this year, which is great. Personally though, I prefer Go-Pro footage of Tom Hardy driving his car around in the desert to Leonardo DiCaprio taking a shit in the woods, but that’s just me, and I can be rather picky.

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