Every once in awhile there will be a film that everyone is absolutely raving about. It’s everywhere you look, all of the people you know are squishing your face between their hands and breathing heavily as they tell you, “You must see this movie!”, and then when you see it, it’s really disappointing and not as good as the hype made it out to be.
Mad Max: Fury Road does not fall into this category. It exceeded expectations. The hype was absolutely justified, as was the heavy breathing.
If you have not seen Mad Max: Fury Road, what are you doing please go watch it, and also tread lightly because there are spoilers ahead. Please take a minute to look at the trailer, because this alone should tempt you. Its also a great refresher for anyone who did get to see it.
First up, I should confess. I originally had very little interest in seeing this film. I thought I would probably see it eventually, but when it came out on DVD. Wasn’t planning on making a trip to see it at the movies. But then, I started seeing a lot of hype about it, mainly that MRA’s (that’s Men’s Rights Activists, for those of you who are luck enough not to know) were boycotting the film because they felt they had been tricked (by explosions and fire tornadoes) into watching a feminist propaganda film, and were insulted at Hollywood’s continuing attempts to undermine traditional masculinity.
So of course, now I had to see it.
The reason these whiny babies were so upset was because this lady stole the show –
Furiosa! Since its been a while since Mel Gibson was relevant, and Mad Max is now played by the wonderful Tom Hardy, it made sense for this, the fourth Mad Max film, to shift its focus from Max a little, to the people he comes across in his travels. In doing so, it also made the film more accessible to a wider audience, to those who probably have not seen the first three films. Max is captured and brought to The Citadel, the crib of ultimate bad guy/dictator Immortan Joe. Joe, however, is a little distracted because Furiosa, one of his Imperators, has just stolen his five wives/baby makers from under his nose and is currently fleeing across the desert to take them to freedom, or more accurately, The Green Place. The Green Place is Furiosa’s birthplace, and is the home of the Many Mothers, a matriarchal community.
No wonder the MRA’s were crying.
In addition to being ‘feminist propaganda’ (this film is literally just like all other action movies save for the fact that the ratio of male to female roles is better, and none of the females are sexually objectified, the bar has never been so low), this film has some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in a while. It is insanely gorgeous.
I don’t know about you guys but in recent times I have felt myself getting very tired of apocalypse films, and it wasn’t until seeing this film that I figured out why. Its because they are so devoid of colour. They’re dark, gritty, and hopeless. Depressing. Fury Road, on the other hand, is so bright. The colours (and colour contrasts) in the film are truly breathtaking. The majority of the film is daylight, and they are literally fleeing across a desert, but the light never feels washed out. Its warm in the literal sense (its a fucking desert) but also in the emotional sense, if that makes sense. (Ha!)
This is highly contrasted with the scenes at night which are an amazing royal blue. Unlike a lot of action or apocalypse films – Hunger Games, I’m looking at you – the cinematography in Fury Road feels so effortless. It’s clever without trying too hard to impress.
The editing and pacing is also incredible. The film as basically a two-hour-long high-speed, high-stakes car chase, but you never get bored. It had me on the edge of my seat the first time I saw it, and it was still just as intense when I went back and saw it again the next day.
Now. The soundtrack. THE SOUNDTRACK. I am a sucker for epic instrumentals. Fury Road has that AS WELL AS face-melting guitar shredding. Which actually plays a part in the film. Immortan Joe has a posse that includes a vehicle made out of speakers, with drum boys keeping time while a blind guy plays a flame-thrower guitar to psych up the war boys for a fight. Don’t believe me? It’s true –
In relation to the other Mad Max films, this one is obviously very different, though I would not say that’s a bad thing. For one, you have to remember Fury Road is made 36 years after the first film. Technology has changed a lot in that time, and this film also clearly has a much larger budget. That being said, the spirit of the Mad Max films is definitely the driving force in Fury Road. Its still a film about people looking for hope in a hopeless wasteland, and finding it in each other.
In the words of Nux – “Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!”