Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton
Directed By: George Miller
Good God. First of all, while this isn’t a perfect film, it really doesn’t matter. If you enjoy film, especially action movies, then you just have to see this film. There’s no question. And see it in theatres. What George Miller has done here with practical effects (mixed with some computer generated ones), as well as his amazing stunt team, and the score underneath the film is incredible. It’s one of the most visually stunning films I’ve seen… probably ever. I can’t imagine this not winning some Oscars, but probably all in technical categories… which is fine. Technically, it’s near-perfect. And this coming from the man who has spent the better part of the last two decades directing shit like Happy Feet 2 and Babe: Pig In The City. Yes, Mad Max Fury Road was directed by the same dude who did the sequel to Babe.
What is there to say about Mad Max. It starts off with a bang, and it just keeps rolling. Literally. Most of the film is comprised of chase sequences (seriously, like 75% of the film), and stunts done on vehicles while in motion. Surprisingly, this film needed very little character development. There really isn’t much, just slight changes in most of the characters. Max is pretty much the same person at the beginning and the end, and so is Furiosa (Theron). Really, Nux (Hoult) gets the most character development, as he gets the Oz trifecta (heart, brains, courage). The girls (Kravitz, Huntington-Whiteley, Keough, Lee, and Eaton) all grow a bit stronger. There isn’t a lot of exposition, or backstory. That’s actually where my sole problem lies…
Considering how little this film explains the Mad Max universe to its audience, it is a surprisingly great film. I did need more backstory though. You didn’t really reboot Mad Max, you kinda just made a sequel. There are references to things that have happened to Max in the past, and we see a ghost girl frequently, along with some fleeting flashbacks, but none of it is ever explained. It’s been 30 years since Thunderdome, and the one thing missing here was just a little more foundation in the story. Where the fuck are we, first of all. There wasn’t much talk of a continent, or why Gastown and Bullettown were so close by in the first place. Why were they gearing up for the drive, when it looked only a few miles down the road? Max talks about being hunted in the beginning, but when he’s captured, there’s no special mention of “Oooo, we got Max, FINALLY”. He’s just some random dude they found to use for his blood. What’s up with the deformities? Radiation? Lack of water? Nux clearly has tumors on his neck, but we don’t know why or how long they’re there. There’s a whole lot that should be explained in this film that isn’t. I don’t normally believe that franchises need to explain everything, because usually sequels don’t come 30 years later. But in this case? You needed a bit more exposition.
But I still had a ton of fun. It’s one of the best action movies I think I’ve ever seen, just in terms of what I’m seeing visually on the screen. The stunts, the direction, the effects… I really do love me some practical effects… are all of the highest caliber. This is that movie you’ll regret watching at home, because you know how fantastic it would have looked on a giant screen. Like, the biggest screen possible. Enjoy every single effect in its full glory. This is very much George Miller’s masterpiece. His Magnum Opus, if you will.
And it does a lot to showcase Tom Hardy as a viable action star. We all know he’s awesome, but can he bankroll a movie? The goodwill he’s getting from this film should pour into his next film, and if that’s good… we have a contender.
Definitely a must-see film. Even if I do have to give it an A-.
FINAL GRADE: A-