I’m often skeptical of a lot of films, especially reboots. There’s something truly terrifying about big corporations ruining your favourite film franchises just to make money from it, and to start off with, this was my mindset for the new Mad Max. They went pretty in-depth with the marketing, In which I feared that the excitement I had for this would not reflect the quality of the film. Any film can create hype, it’s a question of if they can maintain it all the way through to the big screen. RoboCop is a great example of how marketing can cause an audience to expect great things and then be horribly let down, only to make the credibility of the franchise worse. Overall RoboCop got a 49% rating on rotten tomatoes.
However I’m not here to talk about the ultimate failure of Robocop, I’m here to discuss Mad Max: Fury Road. If you have ever watched any of the previous Mad Max’s then you know the plot line, although for the benefit of others I’ll briefly explain the story of the trilogy. The films are set in an apocalyptic Australia. Law, order, and government have broken down and small communities of gangs form for survival, but also for power. Max, an ex-police officer sets out to stop these violent and insane tribes. The plot line follows for Mad Max: Fury Road although with an interesting twist that differentiates itself from the originals. To sum it up Max and this other gal named Furiosa work together to escape the ‘War Boys’ to find asylum. and throughout there is a lot of fighting, explosions and insanely tricked out cars!
First of all, let me say that the story was thrilling. It did not require you to watch any of the previous films and got straight into the action, not many films keep me interested, however, this one certainly did. Introducing a list of insanely intriguing characters and sweet, yet crazy looking rides. Just like the cars, each character was individual, from their appearance to their personality. Even the white-faced, skinhead War Boys each had a different nature to their crazy ways and each a separately-similar look to differentiate themselves. Although I stated that the story was slightly different from the originals I still felt that It had the same basis. Yet that isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s what makes the series what it is and I’m glad they didn’t completely up-hall and alter it.
George Miller is the guy behind it all, and you can tell that he treats it like it’s his only child. From the trailer alone you can see how much effort and consideration has gone into every last detail, from the dashboards of the cars all they way up to the villain’s appearance. Detail was key to this film and Miller understood this, wanting to give the franchise a new lease of life while maintaining the original feel of the films. It was the little details, like the return of Max’s leather jacket and the sawed-off double barrel shotgun that he wielded throughout the film. The cars were even more bizarre and impractical than those in the previous films giving a feeling of fear and danger, none of them looked safe to drive and in all honesty – they probably weren’t, which added to the psychotic thrill.
But along with good directing, comes good acting. You could really feel the passion and commitment all the actors shared in this film, making it feel as if you were truly experiencing it first hand. it was enjoyable and mesmerizing, you could lose yourself in how good it really was. There were times where I forgot I was watching the film and in fact stood alongside Max and his crew. This was the first Mad Max film not to star Mel Gibson as Max, this role had been taken over by ‘inception’ star, Tom Hardy. I expected many fans to be shocked and even disappointed that this British actor had taken over from the ever loved style that Gibson portrayed. Max is a man of few words, therefore his actions are presented through body language and facial expressions. Hardy played this character very well, in which I would argue that he is a great replacement for Mel Gibson.
Charlise Theron played the lead female role – ‘Furiosa’, in which you could tell she was devoted to, shaving and dying her hair caused her to become a completely different person that suited the essence of the film. I was hard not to enjoy this character, she was different. She felt like the female counterpart to Max. It was a breath of fresh air to see someone as skillful as the Madman himself. Her lack of trust caused her to become absent from the rest of the characters. Her main goal was to find her childhood land, a place of prosperity that she could then share with like minded individuals that wanted a break from the cruel lives they lived.
No action film is complete without a villain, and Mad Max is no exception. The best way to describe this character is a mix between Darth Vader and Paull Stanley, his intriguing armour and ridiculously decorated life support mouthpiece made him stand out from the rest. From the get go he struck fear into the audience’s eyes, yet to the thousands he commanded he was seen as a god. Played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, ‘Immortan Joe’ is probably one of the scariest villains of 2015. Unlike ‘Ultron’ from The Avengers, this mammoth bad guy is way too scary to approach, so much so that even his followers lack confidence around him. It is without a doubt that Hugh was the perfect choice to play this role.
The cinematography was as good as expected for a high-budget, big-screen film. A great range of shots and smooth transitions that helped tie in the story nicely. However, the magic came through with the use of practical and special effects. I love films that use practical effects; if there done right they can give a whole different atmosphere to a film. And I was ecstatic when I heard that they had tried to use as many practical effects as possible. it’s incredible that every vehicle is drivable, that every stunt was real and that every character’s cosmetic features were done by the use of make-up. There were a lot of explosions in this films which caused my adrenaline to start pumping, some of the fighting and racing scenes actually made me cheer at the screen in excitement. All together practical effects made up 80% of the film, but that doesn’t mean that the other 20% of special effects ruined the film, in fact, it was quite the contrary. I loved the use of special effects in Mad Max as it made scenes look grander and much more ominous. They didn’t overuse CGI unlike films such as Pacific Rim, in which you could tell that the majority of that film was produced in front of a green-screen.
However, this film did share a few political and moral issues. One of them being the diversity between freedom fighters and a communist society. it really makes you understand the importance of government to keep society in order, but it also presents an idea of us not having to be constantly controlled by the powerful. Immortan Joe is portrayed as a god, yet behind the facade, he is a cruel man that is obsessed with power and wealth, in which he relies on his army to gain for him. if that isn’t a communistic society then I don’t know what is.
Thousands worship Joe, so much that the dress like him, act like him and want to be him. He always promises his army that they will go to the heights of Valhalla to spend the rest of their lives, immortally. This reminds me of a well known suicidal cult “heavens gate”. A religious organisation that offered a ticket to a place ‘higher than heaven’. In fact before the ‘War Boys’ kill themselves in name of their beliefs, they spray their teeth with a silver substance. This symbolic gesture is similar to Muslim extremist preaching there God’s name before they kill themselves. Miller wanted to present these religious and political issues that we face in modern society to prove that the importance of both balance each other out.
Overall Mad Max: Fury Road was a great film and an astonishing reboot which is why it currently has a 89% rating on IMDb. I definitely recommend that you watch it if you have the chance. 10/10 Would watch it again.