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Movie review – Mad Max: Fury Road

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On paper, Mad Max: Fury Road is not my kind of movie. Little sounds less promising to me, movie-wise, than “it’s basically just one big car chase”.

Mad Max: Fury Road is, basically, just one big car chase.

But somehow, the visuals and the pacing of this thing make it work. Visually, everything looks so amazing. Like this dude:

Flame-throwing guitar player in Mad Max: Fury Road

This character has no lines, and bringing him along on this chase makes no sense. (“What, they couldn’t just play a CD?”) But man, did he look cool. (And boy, could he play guitar.)

I read in Wired that the action sequences were, as much as possible, actually filmed rather than just being CGI’d against a green screen. Apart from enhancing the visuals, I think it also heightened the sense of danger the characters were in, motivating this constant motion against their pursuers.

The story, such as it is, has Max getting kidnapped by these white-skinned people who live in a compound where bad guy Immortan Joe rules the population by controlling the water supply. The action begins when Furiosa (Charlize Theron), secretly stashes away Immortan Joe’s “wives” in her armed vehicle on a purported fuel supply run. Furiosa is reported as having gone off-route, and then the women are found missing. Immortan Joe gathers his troops (including the guitar player) to get them back. Max is taken along as unwilling blood donor.

Mad Max in Fury Road

Mad Max, living blood bag

A crash allows Max to join Furiosa’s side, despite mutual suspicion. Interestingly, despite his titular status, Max remains pretty much her sidekick through the movie.

Is this a feminist movie? You can make a case for it. The women are not just supporting the men’s story; they aren’t just victims or girlfriends. And yes, that was kind of refreshing.

Furiosa

Furiosa, hero

And the violence level? Well, nothing that especially upset my delicate sensibilities. Maybe it all went by too fast.

Now, Jean did complain that much of the movie didn’t really make sense, plot-wise. “It was kind of a bad movie, wasn’t it?”

Yet the next day we had a big old discussion about it, aided in part by this article in The Toast: Welcome to Your Steampunk Future. Sorry There’s No Water, but We Did Put Skulls on Everything. (And read the Comments on this article, too. Yes, really — it’s OK. Comments are moderated at The Toast.) And we had did come to agree that while much of what happened was a bit mystifying, that didn’t really matter. They didn’t go on and on talking about this strange world and its ways, and you didn’t have to understand all the details to follow what was happening.

So yes, it’s an illogical movie that is basically one long car chase. Nevertheless, it provides plenty of food for thought.

*** (out of 4)

Your movie may be cool, but it will never be Mad Max: Fury road guy playing a flamethrower guitar cool

5 thoughts on “Movie review – Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. Coincidentally, we watched this movie this weekend as well. After reading so many positive reviews and seeing people rave about it on Twitter, I guess I was expecting a lot more. I was actually getting quite bored with it mid-way through. The sound was really uneven — the chase parts super loud, so we had to turn the sound down, but then when there was the odd bit of dialogue, we couldn’t make out what anyone was saying, so we’d turn it up, only to have to turn it down immediately again when the action would resume. I’d rate it a big “Meh”.

    • We saw it at the theatre — in 3D — and the sound level was fine. Jean saw it more the way you did (not so impressed), but I think reading The Toast article made us both like it more. 🙂 Maybe just cause of the fun discussion that ensued.

  2. Pingback: Oscar round-up | Cultureguru's Weblog

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