Four Letter Nerd

4LN Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Overview:
Let me start this review by saying that this IS the one movie I have been looking forward to for the entire summer. All the 4LN guys have been waiting for Avengers: Age of Ultron (Stephen & Cam) and Paul Blart 2 (Why Cody? Just… why?), but I’ve been patiently waiting for Fury Road to hit theaters. I’m a big fan of the original series, I even love Beyond Thunderdom and that movie is just… terrible. In almost every interview with comic writers I’ve done on this site, there has been some sort of Mad Max question found in the Lightning Rounds. I remember growing up Mad Max seemed to always be playing in our house, and I have no clue why. Maybe TNT or USA played the movies a lot in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. When I think of my love of film, I can’t imagine that passion without the wonderful series that writer/director George Miller gave us.

According to MadMaxMovie.com:

From director George Miller, originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary “Mad Max” franchise, comes “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky.

Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

I wanted to share my thoughts on some of the things that make the madness of this film come alive and I’ve asked my fellow 4LNer (and probably the only other one who’s even familiar with Mad Max) Stephen Andrew to share his thoughts on the film as well. Enjoy!

Casting:

Bill –
Max Rockatansky AKA Mad Max is played by the great Tom Hardy who played Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, but, in the original series Max was played by Mel Gibson (they were his first movies, and put him on the map as one of the greats), so Hardy had some big shoes to fill, and let me tell you, he IS what I picture as the modern day Max. He plays the role flawless as a great anti-hero who is haunted by his past, he does his best to only look out for himself, because he doesn’t want anyone else to die because of him.

Imperator Furiosa who is played by the amazing Charlize Theron steals the show. After watching Fury Road, I find it very interesting how the star of the movie isn’t Max, but rather Furiosa, who’s name actually contains “fury” in it. It’s really interesting how Max plays second fiddle in the movie that stars him. Theron and Hardy make a wonderful post-apocalyptic team.

Hugh Keays-Byrne plays our terrible antagonist Immortan Joe, who is the type of villain who makes your skin crawl countless times during the film. Immortan Joe is the ruler of Citidal, controls everything from the water and “milk” supply, to the protection of the Citidal with an army known as War Boys. I saw a youtube review where they summed up Immortan Joe perfectly as a lovechild between Darth Vader and Skeletor. This is honestly the best way to describe Joe. Furiosa helps 5 sex slaves who “belong” to Immortan Joe escape to the “Green Land,” and Max’s teams up with them along the way.

Stephen –
The casting in the movie was definitely spot on. While I can’t say I think this is Hardy’s best role (*cough* Bronson *cough*), he was certainly the most perfect choice for Max. He brought that same brooding, quiet inconvenience that Gibson created some 30 years ago. I gotta say though… every time he talked… it totally sounded like Bane to me. At one point I looked at my brother, who I saw it with, and said, “You know, we all gave TDKR a lot of s*** for Bane’s voice but maybe that’s just how Tom Hardy talks…”

I agree with Bill regarding Charlize Theron’s Furiosa. She was FANTASTIC. I as well realized at one point that the movie felt more about her than it did about Max, but I don’t really care. Honestly, if they’d just called this movie “Furiosa”, I still would’ve watched the hell out of it. Theron is always an amazing actress, but she hasn’t been this much of a bad ass in YEARS.

Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge Nicholas Hoult. For me, he was the real show-stealer (show-thief?). His role as Nux the Warboy was so much more layered with depth than Hardy’s Max or Theron’s Furiosa, and I feel like people are gonna miss that in all the comotion and insanity. He has to play a brainwashed, indoctrinated soldier in the bastard army of a crazed megalomaniac and his character legitimatly goes on a journey of enlightment, and none of the other characters really do that. They all kind of start out exactly who they are, but he evolves. I was extremely impressed with how he made me so much more interested in his character than any of the others.

Cinematography:

Bill –
The great thing about this film is that the majority of the trailer happens within the first half hour of the film. The trailers have been great for this movie, and a lot of times great trailers seem to give away great plot, this film seems to be the exception. There wasn’t a slow moment in the movie, from start to finish, this was one hell of a crazy ride. One of the really interesting things in the film was the first couple minutes, everything seemed speed up 1.5x faster, it wasn’t overdone, but it was a shock to see everything speed up in the beginning.

I had a friend ask me what my least favorite part of the movie was, and I really had to think about it. In a weird way, my least favorite scene was also my favorite scene. At one point, Furiosa drives her War Rig into a Super Sand Storm in hopes to get the war party off her flank, while Nux (a War Boy) tries to destroy the rig with his vehicle with Mad Max stuck in the back of the car. While all of this is happening, the storm is raging with colors flashing all over screen from black, orange, blue, and white. This was pretty much the only overly CGI scene in the entire movie, and it was extremely intense. By the time this scene had ended my eyes were almost burning and my brain felt completely voided. When the next scene starts, it’s an extremely peaceful shot of the vast wasteland. My friend I watched this with looked over at me and said the perfect statement for what we just witnessed “Oh good, I break from chaos. I’m already emotionally drained.” THAT was one of the most insane insane scenes in the movie, it was absolutely beautiful but left my eyes burning from all the flashing lights. If you have epilepsy or flashing flights bother you, you may want to look away during this scene. (Think of the drug scenes from Requiem For A Dream but times like 50)

Another thing I absolutely loved about the cinematography in the film were the scenes filmed at night. They used a blue tint on the camera’s that gave it a very James Bond: Skyfall feel to the movie. I thought this was a really unique way to show darkness in the wasteland without it being pitch black since there is no form of electricity left. This was an amazing way to show darkness but still able to see. I thought it was one of the truly unique ways to helping paint a scene of darkness without having to look at a black screen and struggle to see what’s going on.

Stephen –
The movie is f***ing gorgeous. Like, sincerely. There were so many shots that just consume you and take your breathe away. And still, there are other scenes that are very minimalist and the most creative component is the color balance. There is one scene that I swear to you plays like a Benny Hill sketch, but with 3 people beating the living hell out of each other instead of running away from a group of bobbies. It’s hilarious and awesome.

The imagery that Miller uses is also extremely emotionally inciting. For me, I loved it. All of it. But there were scenes that I thought to myself, “Oh so many people are gonna HATE this.” That’s what art is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you feel things, and sometimes those things are disgust and discomfort. After Babe and 2 Happy Feet movies, people may have forgotten, but in case they did, this movie solidifies George Miller as a brilliant f***ing artist.

Music:

Stephen –
I’d like to just briefly mention the use of music in the movie. There is nothing more amazingly ridiculous than a heavy metal guitarist riding into battle, alongside an army of deranged derelicts, on his own rig of speakers and swinging from suspension wires. Every movie soundtrack from now on will be inferior.

Bill –
There was a guy strapped to a truck playing metal riffs for the entire movie. I’m into punk, metal and hardcore. No band will ever be as metal as that crazy mother f**ker. Period.

Final Thoughts:

Bill –
This movie was insane. The only word that truly captures the feel of this movie is “madness”. From the very beginning, to the very end, it’s pure chaos. This film is the embodiment of anarchy and destruction. It’s not an action film for the average movie goer, and that’s the ONLY reason Pitch Perfect 2 beat it in the box office opening weekend. This movie isn’t a date night movie, it’s a guys night out. Get pizza, drink beer, and watch Max and Furiosa fuck shit up. I am SO glad I didn’t see this with my girlfriend, she would have hated it because it’s so out there. There isn’t a category you can fit this film in, it’s not your average action film. It’s so much more. There is no underling theme, it’s about freedom, vengeance, and equality. It’s not “Feminazi ideology” (If you think that’s what this film is about, please, I beg you, never frequent this site again). You don’t need to see the original series to understand this film, it’s a solid standalone film, but don’t deprive yourself of the GREATEST post-apocalyptic series ever made. This is not Mad Max, this is not Road Warrior, we aren’t fighting for survival in a Thunderdome, we are racing against death in Fury Road. Go see this film. Know it’s bat shit crazy, and let the madness take hold.

Bane…?

 

Stephen –
Fury Road is great. It’s probably the most intense, weird, thrilling, and insane movie I’ve seen in a decade. There’s no real moral to it. There’s no philosophical message. (There are some people out there making claims of “feminazi propaganda”, but the thing is, bad ass women exist. That’s just a thing that happens. It’s not “propaganda”. It’s just a fact. And there are some of those bad ass women in this movie.) Fury Road simply is what it is. Bad stuff happens and the characters deal with. Some of them do what they do because they’re inherently good, some because they’re inherently bad. You’re not gonna leave this movie thinking, “Wow. That gave me a whole new outlook on life.” You’ll probably leave thinking, “I’m not sure what I just saw, but I loved/hated it.” Which brings me to my last point….

If you appreciate films with really dark, really bizarre imagery, then you’ll love this movie. But, if you have not seen the Mad Max movies, and you don’t appreciate films with really dark, really bizarre imagery, then you will most likely NOT love this movie, and you will probably even have a hard time tolerating it. Trust me on this. If you just “like” actions movies, this is not for you. This isn’t just an action movie. It’s something much more epic and maniacal. For those who understand what the movie is, it’s 100% worth seeing and you will be so satisfied. But for those of you who are just like, “Oh, Tom Hardy/Charlize Theron is in that, I like Tom Hardy/Charlize Theron.” or “This looks fun!”, you’ve been warned. This is not a film for casual movie-goers, or even for casual fans of action movies. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Well if you can handle it then I can handle it.” Let me explain my point like this… I don’t like hot and spicy foods. If someone who loves spicy foods was to tell me, “Don’t eat that burrito. It has habanero chilies on it and they will light you up.” I would listen to them and spare my mouth and stomach from a merciless onslaught of painful heat that I’m incapable of withstanding. The only reason I say all of this because I feel like this movie is gonna have a high number of people leaving the theater very uncomfortable and saying, “That is not what I was expecting AT ALL.” And they’ll be right. It’s not what they’re expecting… it’s something much, MUCH more insane. That is in no way a negative statement, but if you can’t handle the insanity… you should stay out of this Thunderdome.

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Bill Clark

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