Mad Max: Fury Road

“I think this is the movie I was most looking foward to this summer. Hopefully that doesn’t mean we peaked really early, but rather that the rest of the summer movie season is filled with some great surprises. Now that I’ve seen this, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s so unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in the action genre that I love so much.

I was excited for this because from the trailer, it looked utterly insane. Just completely mental, off the wall bonkers, high on action and adrenaline, low on sanity. And Max delivered. Especially in some of the early scenes, it was non stop insanity. Max is put thru some extreme physical situations while having nightmarish hallucinations interrupting him. I didn’t think it could keep up that pace for the whole movie, but for the most part, it did.

As an action movie, it did keep up the pace. The majority took place on the run on the road, centered around the big rig that Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa drove. All sorts of baddies with wheels would attack, people would be crawling all over the outsides of vehicles, things would be exploding everywhere, and we just kept on driving full throttle. I read that the storyboards for the film were drawn up before the screenplay, planning out all of the stunts and sequences in a film that would end up with minimal dialog. Even better, the majority of the effects were practical rather than computer generated. The few that were CGI were maily around Furiosa’s prosthetic limb and removing wires and such that aided the stunts.

From my crash course in Mad Max last week, I’d noticed that I had a hard time getting into them because they were minimal on dialog and had endless driving sequences. Fury Road fit right in with that, and as I predicted, I was able to focus in on it much more easily when in a darkened theater free of distractions. There were some early ones that I thought may have gone on too long, but once the story and the purpose started rolling, it was easier to roll along with everything.

The action is all well and good (moreso even) but that’s not why this movie is sticking with me, or at least not the only reason. I found so much substance and layers in what was on the screen. It wasn’t just action for action’s sake, but we had developed characters with tangible intentions. The best of which was Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa.

In the week or so leading up, I’d been hearing that Furiosa was an incredible character. Much more substantial and fleshed out than most characters in this genre, especially for a woman. In fact, she’s such a strong independant woman, that there’s been a minor backlash from some backwards thinking anti-feminists out there. All the more reason for me to want to see her. And she really was all that I was hoping and more. This woman needs to be remembered alongside Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Buffy Summers.

And she wasn’t just a token woman in there to fill a quota or pass the Bechdel test. There were a few other gals with great potential, and they each had something to differentiate them. It wasn’t just one lead girl and some silent followers, but instead all of them had moments to shine in the spotlight. And I’ve never seen an action movie pass the Bechdel test with such flying colors, or at least I can’t think of one right off.

I actually found it quite interesting that for a film named Mad Max, Max didn’t do a whole lot. I mean, he did, but Furiosa’s part was at least equal if not superior to his as far as size and focus. I applaud George Miller and team for not trying to cater to the uninitiated in all things Max and not trying to rewrite/reestablish history with backstory. Instead we just dove right in to the here and now.

Seriously, I am still so in awe of this movie. I hear that Tom Hardy is signed on for 3 more, and I can’t wait to see them. If this was just the beginning, I can’t even imagine where we’ll go next

Mad Max: Fury Road – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

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