So Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in the Mad Max saga, came out over the weekend…
Straight up, this shit got me hard. Not literally, but listen: Holy fuck. It was tremendous.
I guess that’s my spoiler-free review? I’m serious, I liked this movie more than Age of Ultron and have now seen it twice in theaters. If you like action films, incredible stunts, beautiful cinematography, and all sorts of ass-kicking, go check out this movie ASAP.
Now, I’m going to talk about the film and some plot points. I’ll steer clear of major spoilers, but if you want to avoid knowing anything about this movie heading in, now would be the time to check out and go see it. OK, we all good? Let’s get into it.
First off, the cast was excellently selected and they all did a great job. Tom Hardy as Max conveyed a haunted, reluctant hero who is dragged into the story against his will. I really enjoyed how Max was willing to leave Furiosa and the women in the middle of the desert, then was even willing to be taken back to Immortan Joe just so he didn’t have to help them. He starts off completely selfish, wanting no ties to anyone. It’s actually a pretty fucked up place for our title character to be starting out. He was pretty much willing to go back and be a blood bag and allow the women to be taken again to be used as baby machines just so he didn’t have to help them.
But he does help them, and the chase continues! And it does not stop, save for a few moments, the entire rest of the movie. The 2 hour runtime just flies by. Max kicks ass, Furiosa kicks ass, Immortan Joe is a fucking lunatic, and Nux is surprisingly complex. Everyone does a great job in this film. I was even impressed by Rosie Huntington-Whitely, whose performance allowed me to forgive her for being in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
I mentioned how great Max was, but the heart of the film lies with Furiosa and also, surprisingly, with Nux. Furiosa is the driving force behind everything that happens in the story. She steals the wives away from Immortan Joe to deliver them to the Green Place and attempt to find some sort of redemption for herself. And Charlize Theron brings the pain in this film. She is a captivating presence and is easily the level of action star that Tom Hardy’s Max is. Then Nicholas Hoult’s Nux shows us another side as someone who starts off as an antagonist, but turns and instead illustrates just how brainwashed and lost the followers of Immortan Joe are. He is a fascinating character who shows that even the war boys are not as simple and crazy as they seem.
But the real draw in this film is the incredible stunt work that is done. It’s films like this that make you realize just how over-used CGI is these days. You’re watching this film and see actual cars with actual people on them, driving and leaping and fighting, and it is so much more exciting than watching computer effects. I was eagerly anticipating this film just knowing that as much stunt work was done practically as they possibly could, and I was right to be. It’s amazing, this film has made me retroactively like other, CGI effects-laden, films less.
Though, of course, there were some computer effects used, but they are used sparingly and are done so well that you question sometimes if they even were effects. Enough real stuntmen hurl themselves off of moving vehicles that you have to wonder “was that a real person who did that?” even in the most incredible situation. Then the obvious effects, such as the sandstorm, are so awe-inspiring that you’re swept away by the spectacle as opposed to being annoyed.
Though, I do admit that there was one CGI effect that got under my skin. It’s an effect that is so obviously there for the 3D visuals that it took me completely out of the movie. And it happens at such a very crucial moment in the film that I just have to shake my head in disappointment. I’m so done with 3D, if we could stop it with that nonsense already, I would be very much appreciative, Hollywood. But that really is the one gripe I had with the effects, and really with the movie as a whole.
And I have to mention the music in this movie. The score, by Tom Holkenborg, AKA Junkie XL (awesome), is absolutely gorgeous. Appropriately heart-pounding or poignant in the right moment, the music in this film is spot-on perfect. You’ll feel the drums in your chest during chase scenes, it’ll impart gravitas during moments of awe, and it’ll give you a lump in your throat during moments of pain. Point is, the music is really good.
So, if you haven’t gathered yet, I’m a huge fan of this movie. George Miller (director of Babe and Happy Feet) has truly created his masterpiece, returning to this world after 30 goddamn years. He hasn’t missed a step in the time in between and really has created something momentous. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is something that should be seen on the biggest screen possible. You will not regret it.