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Mad Max: Fury Road – Joint Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 15 May 2015 [USA]
 
Director: George Miller
 
Writer: George Miller - Brendan McCarthy - Nick Lathouris [Screenplay]
 
Cast: Tom Hardy - Charlize Theron - Nicholas Hoult - Hugh Keays-Byrne - Josh Helman
 


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Posted May 14, 2015 by

 
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Mad Max: Fury Road – Joint Review

Nick’s Perspective:

It has been decades in the making and on Mad Max fans’ minds for the last year or so. Mad Max: Fury Road comes to our cinemas on the 14th May (UK) and 15th May (USA) this week. Featuring the ultimate method actor Tom Hardy, the show-stealing Charlize Theron and an increasingly popular Nicholas Hoult, to name a few, this explosive and intense action adventure becomes a visual masterpiece created by George Miller.

It is 45 years on from the fall of the world and freedom and life supplies are controlled by the evil Immortan Joe (the original’s Toecutter Hugh Keays-Byrne).

Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), known as the infamous ‘Road Warrior’ is a troubled man, on a personal battle against his heart-wrenching loss of his wife and child. He finds himself on the run from Joe’s goons and eventually teaming up with the strong and determined Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who is desperate to escape from Joe’s clutches with some of his prized possessions; the young girls he holds captive and impregnates, and find a promised land where civilisation still exists.

“I wanted a chase that starts as the movie begins and continues for 110 minutes” – George Miller

This film acts as the fourth instalment in George Miller’s envisioned apocalyptic universe. Taking the reins from Mel Gibson, Tom Hardy does a fantastic job as the crazy and brutal Mad Max. Strangely though this Hollywood A-lister is sometimes dwarfed by the sheer size of this film and even has the focus taken away from him due to Charlize Theron’s impeccable performance.

Apart from the non-stop, adrenaline-fuelled action in this summer blockbuster, the music also blows the viewer away. Other than one of Immortan Joe’s crazed goons, who spends the entire film excessively shredding on his electric guitar, the feature is full of an original score from Tom Holkenborg, which pays homage to the likes of the TERMINATOR trilogy, THE BOOK OF ELI and although I have not seen the original three films, most likely the MAD MAX franchise.

As an uneducated Mad Max viewer, I can safely say that I will be re-visiting the tales of Mel Gibson’s original trilogy in the coming weeks. As a spectacle, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD does not disappoint and if you have the opportunity to witness it in IMAX 3D, it is one I would definitely take.

“What a Lovely Day!”

iMDb rates: 9.3

Real-time Write-ups rates: 8.8

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD reaches UK cinemas this Thursday 14th May and on Friday 15th May in USA.

Written By:

2b2b770

Nick Price
@RTWriteUps
Real-Time Write-Ups!
Freelance Contributor

 

Michael’s Perspective:

I can remember watching Mad Max: The Road Warrior at such a young age I could not understand what the characters were saying to each other. But I knew what an exploding muscle-car sounded like. The night before I saw Fury Road, I reacquainted myself with the Road Warrior and afterwards I felt a little worried. “Have I set the bar too high?” “Will Fury Road live up to The Road Warrior?”

Fury Road’s plot is as simple as its predecessors. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is a trusted lieutenant of the revolting war lord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, originally the Toecutter). Sent on what was meant to be a trade mission for gasoline, Furiosa veers off-course, having secretly rescued Joe’s prized Wives and seeks to get them to safety at the fabled “Green Place.” Discovering her betrayal, Joe rallies his War Boys and begins the movie’s obsessive pursuit. One eager and anemic War Boy named Nux (a difficult to recognise Nicolas Hoult) takes the lead of the charge with his personal blood-donor chained to the front of his hot-rod. The donor, “Mad” Max Rockatanksy (Tom Hardy), has had lovelier days than this.

From the get-go, the visuals are stunning, from Immortan Joe’s Monument Valley-inspired Citadel to the winding canyons plagued by Buzzard Bikers and the twilit Bog (strangely reminiscent of a World War One No-Man’s land) with its unexplained stilt-walkers. The sheer colour sets this movie a great distance apart from other post-apocalyptic films with their desaturated palette.

Several of George Millar’s old-fashioned quirks show. It was charming to see fade-to-black cuts again and the manic frame-rate speed-ups run throughout. This is certainly George Millar of old (70 and looking fabulous).

You’re in for vehicular ballet. There are the War Rigs, massive mobile fortresses. The Bigfoot, capable of clearing any terrain. The Peacemaker (which is everything but) is top-half car, bottom-half tank. There are the Buzzards, who drive cars covered in scrap-metal spikes (you’ll need a tetanus shot just for looking at them) and the Polecats who swing from the backs of trucks. Last but not least, the Doof Wagon. Imagine a Lordi rock-concert on wheels. There are flame-throwers, exploding spears, crane-mounted buzzsaws, harpoon launchers. And best of all? Most of it is all practical effects! So much so that the rare CGI scene sticks out like a sore thumb. As for the nuclear sandstorm scene, CGI or not, it is breathtaking. Chances are the global warming from this movie’s production alone caused it for real.

The movie’s music matches it’s desperate pace, put together by Dutch instrumentalist and producer Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg). In the score’s quieter moments, there is a strong harking back to Brian May’s (No, not the Queen one. Yes, there were two Brian May’s) original Mad Max themes. But it is the screaming violins, the howling guitars and pounding drums that will take over your blood flow and rewire your brain. The percussion would make Hans Zimmer break a sweat.

Fury Road’s human performances become key gears in a massive machine. The script is minimal, dwarfed by the physical demands on each actor. This is where Hardy and Theron shine.             Hardy’s accent is a nationless growl and watching him angrily yet silently filing off his hated face grill is enjoyable (you would think Bane’s face mask has given him a hatred of those things).

Theron however steals the show. With a crop-cut, black grease-smeared forehead and a metal prosthetic arm, you’ll be convinced Imperator Furiosa has a led war-torn life and paid for her rank in flesh and blood. She cuts a furious image indeed.

Nicolas Hoult’s Nux is the audience’s way into the War Boy’s ideology. With a manic, naïve and fascinating character, his goal in life is to be “witnessed” going out in a blaze of glory in service to the revered Immortan.

Hugh Keays-Byrne’s Immortan Joe is quite the improvement on Mad Max’s Toecutter, a villain I was never intimidated by. Joe is something else, mightier, uglier and surprisingly, shown to be caring at times (despite despicable reasons). In one scene he holds off firing his weapon when his pregnant bride stands in the way, only to yell, “That’s my property!” Joe certainly has a way with the ladies.

The movie’s McGuffin’s are the Wives, five young women saved by Furiosa from Joe’s horrible breeding programme. With scenes sparse among them, somehow they all become established characters, quite the feat when the vehicles alone were likely to leave the humans looking two-dimensional.

Now, I was a little late to seeing this movie and over the days I had to wait I began to hear tell of an elephant growing in the room. Click-bait zipping around, claiming, “Mad Max: Fury Road is feminist propaganda!” An under-informed shriek made up of negative connotations, that’s all that article could have been. The dialogue may be light in Fury Road but the lore is rich. The movie jabs at religious extremism as much as it dismantles the macho of the blockbuster action movie. It was self-destructive machismo that killed the world and the sight of elderly dictators leading fanatical youths into certain death shows that man has not learned from his mistakes in the wastelands. Several times in Fury Road it is highlighted that the lengths Joe goes to reclaim his women are disproportionate and overly costly. Fanaticism (and a supercharged V8) moves faster than the speed of logic. It is the women of the wasteland who question and reason. Soon, even Max must shirk his lone wolf ways and team up with Furiosa and the Wives if he wants to survive.

Fury Road is what happens when you give a mad genius all the time and money they need to make their dreams come true. Two hours sitting on your ass will never move as quick. Your retinas will burn, your ear-drums will burst and your breath will be held over the absolutely death-defying spectacles. And if you came to watch Mad Max only for the gender politics, you fucked up.

Written by:

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Michael Keyes
Silences Band
@mkjk1990
Full Contributor

 

Theo’s Perspective:

I wouldn’t be able to talk about “Mad Max : Fury Road” as a continuum of the three other movies : it’s been a while since the last time I’ve watched them, and I did have any opportunity, lately, to watch them again. So I’ll talk about the movie for itself, right after a few words of introduction.

Georges Miller made a name for himself in 1979 with “Mad Max”, considered to be the first of a new genre called “Post-apocalyptic” : the idea is to show the world, or at least a part of it, after a dramatic turn of event, mentioned as is, or subtlety alluded. Although criticized for its rough violence, the movie gained such a popularity that Miller had to make a sequel, and another, before letting Mad Max enter the Hall of Fame of Cinema. Interestingly enough, he worked on the two part of “Babe” as well as the two parts of “Happy Feet”, quite different from the universe he gave birth to. Finally, in 2012, the shooting of a fourth Mad Max starts, for the outmost joy of fans around the world : still, they had to wait until this year to see what became of Max, and what madness lies on the Fury Road.

Max (Tom Hardy, from “RocknRolla”, “Bronson”, “Locke”) faces imprisonment after being captured by the men of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, also from “Mad Max” but not as the same character!), leader of a Citadel in the middle of the desert : the Citadel is maybe the last place within hundreds of miles where you could grow crops and access water, but only as he will allow it. Thus is Immortan Joe acclaimed as a deity by the people living there, since its survival depends only of his good will. As a deity, he commands an army of “War Boys”, promising them access to Valhalla if they prove themselves to be worthy ; he also enjoys –who wouldn’t – the company of women, mostly used for his pleasure and to ensure its descendants. Well… The whole story is about these women who succeed in fleeing of their golden jail, thanks to Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron, from “The Devil’s Advocate”, “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion”, “Prometheus”). Furiosa’s plan was to accompany the women to the Green Land where, legend has it, other women found shelter over the years. But her plan is discovered, and Immortan Joe sends his War boys after her, promising them fame and glory if they were to retrieve his wives. And that’s it. Max is practically absent of the plot, serving absolutely no purpose in Furiosa’s journey, but, here he was : a prisoner of a numb War boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult, from “About a Boy”, “X-Men : First Class”, “Jack the Giant Killer”), who managed, during the chase, to free himself, and, from the kindness of its heart, help the women through their ordeal. Period.

So, it’s quite dumb, really. There’s no plot, no “Max” character, which is a shame given that Tom Hardy is a truly talented actor in my opinion… What does remain, thought, as the sole interest of the film, is the visual contents, as much as in the way 3D is treated and exploited, as in the way the cameras are moving around the action, and as in the small details that spices up the dish (such as my favorite, the flame-throwing with double fingerboard guitar). So it is fun, the rhythm is rather intense (if you put aside the sequence during the night), it’s visually amazing, but I found it hard to say that “Mad Max : Fury Road” is an absolute must-see. No doubt people will enjoy it, though, but it’s not a Mad Max movie to my opinion : it’s an “Imperator Furiosa” movie, with Mad Max involved as a taciturn sidekick. It’s really disappointing…

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 15.21.38

Theo Tessa
@Theo_Tessa
Full Contributor

 

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