Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

I rarely get to the theater that often but have been fortunate enough that the last few I've seen have been great entertainment for completely different reasons.

Prior to seeing Mad Max Fury Road, I took my girlfriend to see Woman in Gold. Very solid movie, very moving.

My mom is getting on in age but she still loves many genres of music and movies. I asked her if she wanted to see Mad Max Fury Road. She was excited. Last movie she had seen in the theater was Django.

Since she gets out even rarer than I do, I sprung for the 3-D version.

It was well worth it.

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron play broken action heroes in a world that makes no sense and should not exist.

It is a world with beautiful vistas consisting of barren landscapes with a surprising amount of variety to them. If they are not racing through desert sands, they are blasting through rocky badlands. If they are not stuck in mud and rain, they are fighting nature itself surrounded on all sides by tornadoes of sand and lightning of massive size and scope within sandstorms of such fury that smaller vehicles are thrown away like toys from a bored hand.

In many ways, the vehicles themselves are characters. While the introduction, as several previous movies in the series have done, relies on separating Max from his iconic vehicle, we get to see many more of all shapes and sizes. The weathering effects on these would be great for anyone interesting in seeing how metal ages and corrodes.

The visuals are so arresting I'm strongly considering getting the art book behind the movie. It looks like it has a lot of takes on how the world eventually evolved into what I saw in the theater.

Previous Mad Max movies have been filled with characters whose designs and catch phrases are so unique and iconic once seen, that they become meme's long after the movies have been in the theaters. Given that this is 2015, I'm sure that the main villain, Immortan Joe, played by an actor who was in the original Mad Max movie (no relation), is going to have numerous quotes attributed to him as are those who follow him and fight against him.

There are so many unique looking characters, that I'm eager to see Fury Road again. So many unique designs ranging from the 'Half-Life' warriors to the various musicians lead by a guitarist atop moving vehicles shooting fire out of the guitar. The soundtrack, at least the instrumental part, is pulse pounding and keeps the blood racing along with the drivers.

In terms of story and dialog, the film is razor thin. It's not that there is no dialog, but the movie's strengths don't rely on words. It's not that there isn't a story, but it's very basic on the surface.

Rather, the movie is about the action. While there are a few notable exceptions, such as when Max is trying to escape 'The Citadel', most of the film actually occurs on the move. Charlize Theron, playing a piston armed cyborg, Furiosa, drives a massive vehicle and is armed to the teeth. After an initial stand off with Max, the two work to escape from Immortan Joe.

This involves not only fighting off the hordes of Immortan Joe and his strange family, including a son whose strength no man is a match for, as well as his gun totting grand father and accountant brother who keeps a tally of the cost, but the people whose lands they cut through. This allows Max and Furiosa to fight several varieties in mad chase scenes and fiery explosions as opposed to one large showdown.

As someone who enjoys thinking about world building, one of the interesting things here, is that unlike just the pure quest for oil in the Road Warrior, we have a bit of mythology building here. Some weird type of Norse live a violent warrior life forever if you die in combat clashing against say, Max's only goal, that of survival. It's an interesting contrast and reminded me a bit of Beyond Thunderdome where there's a bit of setup and logic in how the people see themselves.

Max Max Fury Road is easily a film worth seeing on the big screen. The explosions, the chase, the characters. They don't have to be seen in a big screen but the experience will only be better for it.