Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
Film: Not every character can just have a new person put into the suit and just take over the role. Sure, Batman and Spiderman and James Bond and Superman have had many bodies in their respective suits, but there are some characters that are almost defined by the person who portrays them.
Jackie Earl Haley had immense boots to fill when he took on the role of Freddy Krueger in 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and even though he is an accomplished actor, having him take a role that is defined by Robert England’s performance was probably unfair, and doomed. I remember clearly hearing about Tom Hardy taking over the role of Mad Max’s Max Rockatansky from Mel Gibson and wondered if he had enjoyed his acting career to date, because the fans of the Three Mad Max films are… well, rabid.
… but something weird happened, and at the risk of burying the lead, this new Mad Max film, Mad Max Fury Road, was an amazing thing.
Written and directed by George Miller (written with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris), Miller came up with the concept of only using illustrations to write the script, which is very much a ‘Marvel method’ thing to do. The Marvel method was the writer would come up with a plot, give it to an artist to draw the comics, and then the script was filled in later. This made the production of the early days of Marvel quite quick so they could publish more titles. Miller did a similar thing with having the storyboards drawn first, and the dialogue, of which there is very little, was done later.
Mad Max Fury Road is a continuation of the saga of the Road Warrior himself, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) who has found himself captured, and used as a blood transfusion device by the horrifying War Boys, the followers of the war boss, a god-like leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).
Meanwhile, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is on he way to other communities to trade for ammunition and fuel, but what Immortan Joe doesn’t realise is that she has kidnapped his five perfect wives (Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abby Lee, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Courtney Eaton) to save them from being farms on his quest for a perfect son.
As one would expect, a despot never likes his stuff taken from him, so a massive motorised war band is formed, full of mutated and drugged up War Boys, and even more mutated automobiles, including the injured Nux (Nicholas Hoult) who is the recipient of Max’s blood.
Eventually, through more action that most movies have in total, Max ends up free from his bondage and becomes Furiosa’s ally, but in a post apocalyptic wasteland, where does one go?
Truly, this film is nothing short of magnificent. Miller is on top of his game with what is basically a 2 hour violent action sequence with a story cleverly weaved in between the scenes of utter carnage. Occasionally these sorts of films, the story gets lost, but in this the whole time you are thrilled by everything.
There isn’t a moment of breathing space.
Miller has also created this series of landscapes that are an absolute feast for the eye. Considering mostly in ‘wasteland’ films, the brown dusty desert is the general visual tone, but here the wasteland changes as the journey is taken, and the images of fire and explosions are so bright that they are almost cartoonish.
The cast is one of the most surprising things about this film. To have Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult are an amazing coup for such a film, especially when they are juxtaposed with Australian talent like Hugh Keays-Byrne, John Howard (The Club), Josh Helman (Jack Reacher), Richard Carter (Two Hands), Angus Sampson (Insidious), Megan Gale (Stealth), Melissa Jaffer (Brides of Christ)… even wrestler Nathan Jones, and A Current Affair darling Quentin Kenihan show up!!!
It would be remiss of me to not mention how amazing the soundtrack is as well! I am a soundtrack collector and Junkie XL features quite heavily amongst it, with his contributions to Deadpool, Batman VS Superman, Alita, Zach Snyder’s Justice League and Army of the Dead. I always find his scores to really add to the action and this is definitely no exception!
This film is just amazing. I rally can’t talk it up enough! I love every minute of it! The only thing wrong with this film is it didn’t spawn 100 Italian knock offs… 2099: The Bronx Warriors anyone?
Extras: The disc opens with trailers for San Andreas, Entourage and Tracers, before we get to the menu. I should point out that with this steelbook edition, it comes with a 3D version, but I don’t waste my time with watching movies in 3D. The extras are all on the 2D disc.
Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road looks at the making of the film, from storyboards, to the car stunts and on to the actual on set filming.
Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels shows off the absolutely ridiculous and over the top designs of the vehicles in the film. (NB: ‘ridiculous’ and ‘over the top’ clearly equals ‘freaking awesome’) The best part is learning that the cars all had names like Cranky Frank, Elvis, Doof Wagon and Buzzard… that’s not true, the best part is EVERYTHING about these damned cars. There’s a few nice tributes to the VW from The Cars that Ate Paris in here too.
The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa had Thomas Hardy and Charlize Theron talk about the unique way that the story was designed, and the lack of actual words to say.
The Tools of the Wasteland looks at the entire design of the world, which looks like a mix of so many things (I got a huge Gorkamorka/ Necromunda vibe from it all… though the influences are probably the other way around, with the games being influenced by the older Mad Max films)
The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome interviews the actors who play the Fives Wives, and their costume design and history.
Fury Road: Crash and Smash is about 4 minutes of raw footage, stunt tests and exploding cars. What a rush!
There’s three Deleted Scenes that for one of the first times ever, I wish had stayed in. Two of them really look at the apocalypse society and the love for Immortan Joe.
WISIA: I forgot how much I loved this film. And now it’s rocketed back up to the top of my regular rewatch list!