Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s not tip-toe around it – Rebooting a franchise that has managed to muster a cult-like following is a massive challenge. Not only do you need to be true to the source material (in a way that it appeases those cultists), but you also need to successfully introduce the franchise to a modern-day audience. This balancing act is so precarious, that is usually ends in a franchise reboot ending up in two ways: Firstly, modern-day audiences will likely see it as a strangely ‘alien’ piece of fanfare, or secondly, original franchise fans experience it as being so far removed from the original source material, that it just doesn’t do the film’s heritage justice. It’s very, very rare that you manage to find a franchise reboot that has its own unique spirit whilst at the same time, still staying true to the personality and defining aspects of the legacy it borrows from.

Sure, Mad Max: Fury Road, had an advantage in that it was directed by the exact same person that brought to life the original Mad Max trilogy. But if you think this means that you can expect a simple rehash of the original Mad Max recipe, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as the film does an incredible job in revitalising this iconic franchise.
Don't worry, you'll have a similar look on your face throughout the course of the film.
The first thing you’re sure to notice is the viciously distinct and vibrant post-apocalyptic world created by director George Miller. You can’t afford to blink once in this film, folks – it has been painstakingly layered with a tremendous amount of beautiful detail that results in a highly animated world, only equal in grandeur to a massive Steven Spielberg production. The barren and desperate world that Miller creates here is perfectly juxtaposed with the colourful, but mostly displeasing characters that inhabit it, the likes of which can’t be adequately described with words alone. There is so much gorgeous grotesqueness to stare at here, that the film can only be truly appreciated after multiple repeat viewings.
"The barren and desperate world that Miller creates here is perfectly juxtaposed with the colourful, but mostly displeasing characters that inhabit it..."
Another massive accomplishment is the film’s unfaltering and unforgiving grip on its viewer’s throat – there is little to no time to breathe in between the furious roaring of engines and the lavish spilling of blood, all neatly packaged in the form of carefully orchestrated action spectacles. There is a constant, relentless sense of impending doom and dread here that makes each and every scene gut-wrenching to endure, but at the same time, wholly pleasurable. Think of it as ‘a shot’ of high-end drugs, straight into the aorta, leaving you dangling from an unstable tight rope of fear and exhilaration.

Mad Max: Fury Road is an action film in the truest and best sense of the term, with Miller making sure not to waste any screen time on unnecessary dialogue. Due to the nature of the film’s plot, there’s no time for the characters to get lost in long-winded discussions or negotiations. It’s kill or be killed and the film’s main cast follows suit. That’s not to say that Miller doesn’t do amazing character work here – even though dialogue is kept to a minimum, Miller expertly highlights the cast’s non-verbal disclosures to create dramatic tension. Something as simple as a piercing and malevolent gaze between two characters is masterfully utilised to fill the gaps left by the film’s scarce approach to chatter. There’s no time for chit-chat in the world created by Miller and the film’s approach to character development complements this perfectly.
"Something as simple as a piercing and malevolent gaze between two characters is masterfully utilised to fill the gaps left by the film’s scarce approach to chatter"
And even though you shouldn’t go watch the film with the intention of leaving with profound topics to discuss afterwards, there are some very poignant themes that are sure to linger. Some of which are the film’s interesting, but distressful exploration of the repercussions of extreme fanaticism; the effects of desperation on human actions and lastly, how crippling a life devoid of hope can be. Because of this, Fury Road is an unforgiving little bugger, but at the same, such a delight to experience.
You won't be able to look away. 




























In conclusion, Fury Road is arguably, one of the best action films of the last decade. Not only does it successfully reboot one of the most well-loved action sci-fi franchises of cinema history, but it also manages to improve on the original premise in almost every way. A must-see.

Highlight: The final confrontation will leave you gasping for air. It's fucking awesome.