Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road - Movie Review

Mad Max: Fury Road is the latest installment of the iconic franchise created by writer and director George Miller. The movie features Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Josh Helman, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Zoƫ Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, Richard Carter, and Angus Sampson.

The Story:
In the future there is little to be had as the planet has been ravaged by apocalypse and left as a barren wasteland where the most valuable commodities are water, gasoline, bullets, and blood. Max Rockatansky (Hardy) has survived many an adventure although his skills are put to the test when he is captured by a warrior tribe and ends up in the middle of a mutinous plan hatched by Imperator Furiosa (Theron). After she uses her nearly indestructible war machine vehicle to attempt an escape back to her homeland across dessert plains and through deadly caverns, three separate battle groups join forces to bring her back along with some very valuable cargo that belongs to the one and only Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne).

The Review:
If you've at least seen the trailer for Fury Road, you are aware of one particular scene filled with chaos and a swirling dust storm where Nicholas Hoult's character gleefully declares it to be "a lovely day." This one moment exemplifies what you can expect out of this film as it is truly a non stop, action packed thrill ride the likes of which you have never seen before. George Miller has clearly had this story on his mind for some time and decided to throw out all the stops in creating one of the most impressive action movies I have seen in some time. The world he created back in the 70's with Mad Max and The Road Warrior has never looked better, weirder, or nearly as intense as it does in this new entry into the franchise. No, this is not a reboot, it is a continuation of the story and furthers the adventures of Max by taking it to all new heights.

Visually, Fury Road is stunningly beautiful and is filled with tons of iconic imagery that sticks to your brain long after you have left the theater and leaves you wanting to make a return trip as soon as possible. What's really impressive about the production value is the almost exclusive use of practical effects over relying on computer generated imagery to tell the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a CGI hater, but the end result of how this film was made could never have been achieved or recreated by digital means. I would also have to give a special nod to cinematographer John Seale for keeping such a sharp eye on exactly where the camera needed to be at all times. I have seen a video piece on how Miller wanted each shot framed and centered perfectly so the viewers eyes could follow the action in a fluid and easy to track manner. For me, this is very much preferred compared to the shaky, free flowing camera techniques that are supposed to put you as a viewer into the action, but actually do a better job at covering up flaws and deficiencies more than anything else.

If there's one thing I would look at as something to pick on, it is the inclusion of a brilliant actor like Tom Hardy and then not really giving him much to do outside of stunt work and fight scenes. I was really hoping for a more crazed and dynamic performance out of the man who has logged in some truly iconic performances in movies like Bronson and Warrior, and of course as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Outside of his subdued role, we do get to see some really impressive work turned in by Nicholas Hoult as Nux, one of the War Boys who believe they are destined to die in glorious fashion, and Charlize Theron as Furiosa who is simply the most bad ass female character we have seen on screen in some time. This role really should take her career to a new level and could also establish her as a serious player when it comes to landing big action roles.

Have I mentioned this movie looks absolutely amazing? You seriously can't take your eyes off the screen with all of the awesome stuff happening and you'll be on the edge of our seat from the opening moments all the way to when the credits begin to roll. Mad Max: Fury Road is easily one of my favorite movies to come out this year as it has everything you could ask for in a science fiction, action movie and is a film you will want to watch over and over again.

I have seen the movie in both 2D and 3D and would recommend going with the upgrade just because it's fun with all the cool stuff going on although I would not say it is essential to enjoy the movie. I did not see the movie at any IMAX theaters so not able to provide any input about whether or not you should check that out. Instead, you can read my handy guide on when and when not to watch movies in "IMAX" theaters by clicking HERE.


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