When the curtain dropped on Mad Max: Fury Road's Cannes film festival berth, the roof was subsequently blown open. George Miller's wildly anticipated follow up is exactly the insane, ecstatic spectacle we had all hoped it would be, and is sure to leave audiences in a state of wide eyed awe when it hits cinemas tomorrow. As it stands, 2015's action cinema pretenders already look to have their work cut out for them to keep up.
Here's my top five reasons why:
1.) It Lives Up to the Hype
And how crucial - not to mention rare - a thing this is. Sure, the trailer looked incredible. Sure, all the promotional material supported that too, but so many felt the same way about Gareth Edwards' Godzilla last year only to be left relatively non-fussed when the picture was released. George Miller has delivered exactly what those trailers promised: relentless, breathtaking, furious action for two whole blink-and-you'll-miss-em hours.
2.) It Wears its R-Rating With Pride
We can only shudder a guess how often studio execs have watered down great movies in order to reach those PG-13 dollars. Fury Road has simply refused to compromise. Much like the first two Mad Max incarnations (maybe even Thunderdome, too), the villains of this world really are terrifying. I mean like Cormac McCarthy's The Road terrifying.
It's also important to note that this is the first top budget film in a while to wear that rating with pride. In fact, only four R-rated films in history have commanded a higher budget than this. Once the dust has settled with Fury Road, however, we expect that wont be the case much longer. Just imagine...
3.) It Is a Marvel of Production Design
Shooting for a reported 120 days, Miller is said to have brought 150 stunt performers, not to mention members of Cirque Du Soleil, to the Namibia shoot. It's alleged that the director showed the story board to production designer Colin Gibson a full 15 years ago. Gibson is also said to have began principle design on Fury Road's awesome range of vehicles back in 2003. The results, as the trailers suggested, are awesome.
4.) You Will Believe in the World He Has Created
The greatest - and perhaps most difficult - trick of science fiction is to make the audience believe in a world outside the confines of the story. That the world was there before the film started and that it will go on being there when the credits have rolled. George Lucas knew it, Ridley Scott knew it, and Miller has always known it too. There are so many wonderfully unexplained things going on. An enormous unexplored oil city sits tantalizingly on the horizon; the people of the citadel seem to worship the V8 engine; and fully fleshed out and detailed clans of people are thrown at us with little backstory at all.
The result is a sensation that we are seeing this world through an operatic little keyhole. Whatever happens with Fury Road, finding subject matter for a sequel will not be a problem.
5.) There Is Beauty in the Chaos
Remember how it felt seeing those skydivers drop in Gareth Edwards flawed Godzilla last year? The flares; the clouds; György Ligeti's haunting Lux Aeterna on the score. It was one of the year's great jaw droppers, but Miller might even have topped it.
The director clearly sees beauty in the madness. Miller dots his action with quiet, weightless moments, as if the whole film is coming up for air. The best, most beautiful perhaps, of these involves the raging, electric sandstorm...
It is beautiful. We'll say no more.