10 Reasons Mad Max: Fury Road Should Be On Your Must-See Summer List
It’s the best reviewed film of 2015. Some critics are even calling it one of the best action films ever made. Of course, I’m talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron, right? WRONG…..This past weekend, the world went mad, as George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road hit the big screen, with an impressive $44 million dollar opening weekend.
Let the doubters keep trying to tell you: “But it’s been 30 years since the release of the last film,” or “It’s just another action film featuring Tom Hardy in a mask for a majority of the film!” Nonsense my friends! It may have taken 30 years of development hell, but as it turns out, Mad Max: Fury Road is the breath of fresh air this superhero crowded movie world we currently live in needs.
Alright, so the critics love the film, but how will audiences react? This is an interesting concern that I can offer some insight to first hand. Last week, at Wizard World Philadelphia, I was able to see one of the first preview screenings of the film. I got the sense the packed house was excited, but at the same time, it HAS been 30 years since the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. My friend Austin, finally asked me, “So what’s this about?”. I thought for a minute and said, “Gas, water, and crazy action scenes.” To be fair, I hadn’t seen the original trilogy in quite some time. I do remember being very impressed with the vision and scope of the second film in the series, The Road Warrior, released in 1981
It’s with this sequel (often considered one of the best, if not the best sequel ever made), where the Mad Max franchise developed its bizarre, unique, almost fetishistic look. Indeed, with Fury Road, George Miller pulls no punches — we’re given a limited backstory (although those familiar should have no problems), an absolutely bizarre villain named King Immortan Joe, who has five Wives, and his bloodthirsty military force, the War Boys, who rule over a totalitarian desert kingdom called the Wasteland.
Also, Tom Hardy barely says a word, and for the first 45 minutes of the film, he’s in captivity. Why would anyone want to see this completely bizarre film?
Well I've got Ten reasons why Mad Max: Fury Road is an absolute must see…..
10. The score by Junkie XL
The life pulse of Fury Road is the absolutely relentless score by a Dutch musical maestro Tom Holkenborg, known to the world as Junkie XL. Mr. XL, no doubt, conjures his music from Miller’s great imagery, but I can’t think of a better action score for this material.
Since Mad Max: Fury Road experienced a lengthy development, multiple composers were attached to the film at various times including John Powell and Marco Beltrami. In October 2013, it was officially announced that Junkie XL would be composing the film’s music. After being contacted by Warner Bros. Senior Vice President Darren Higman, Junkie XL flew to Sydney where he viewed a three-hour workprint of the film and met with director George Miller. Because of his work on 300: Rise of an Empire and his on-the-spot ideas for Mad Max: Fury Road, Junkie XL was hired by Miller and immediately began work on writing the film’s themes. “I got in August of 2013 and we [didn’t finish] until August 2014,” said Junkie XL. “When you’re so early in the game, you have so much room of experimentation.”
Download the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack on iTunes here.
9. The Action is Old School and Thrilling
Even if you're absolutely and thoroughly confused by what the hell is going on, Miller’s brilliantly staged action scenes should help you stay in your seat. This is not action for purely action sake like an over produced, over saturated Michael Bay film — this action drives the plot, and because most of these characters are new, it’s not completely obvious who will survive
8. It’s a Reminder That Action Films CAN Have a Point
The number one misconception regarding this film, rather derisively, is that this is purely an action film. That it’s a brainless exercise in style. This is not true of course. Mad Max: Fury Road is a reminder, believe it or not, that action films CAN have substance. Just look at this gritty choreographed fight scene above.
7. King Immortan Joe is played by the same actor who played the villain in the first Mad Max film.
Give Joe some credit, he has a hell of an ambitious evil scheme going — he plans on breeding the next generation of the human race in his own twisted image. He has covered his horrifically sore-riddled body with a plastic exosuit and breathes through a respirator that would make Tom Hardy’s Bane jealous. It’s all very strange, but the look of Joe is so fascinatingly disgusting that of course we hate him.
However, the best thing about Joe is that he’s played by 67-year-old actor Hugh Keays-Byrne. That name should be very familiar to Mad Max fans, because he played the villain in the very first Mad Max in 1979!
6. Tom Hardy’s Max
The knock against Hardy in this film is that he doesn’t talk much, and for the first 45 minutes of the film he’s rendered in active. However, Hardy is such a good actor that it hardly matters. Much of this is thanks to Miller and Hardy’s ability to show rather than tell.
5. The Wives
Here are five seemingly completely thankless roles that are given life thanks to Miller and the five actresses portraying them — Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough (the eldest granddaughter of Elvis), Zoë Kravitz (daughter of Lenny Kravitz), Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Courtney Eaton. Miller subverts our expectations the first time he introduces the five of them in scantily clad outfits. Instead of making them pure eye candy however, each performance is unique and quirky enough that they’re all pretty well-developed. How they operate as a group is also very interesting.
4. Nicholas Hoult’s Nux
I must admit, I never really thought anything about Nicholas Hoult’s previous work, but here he’s a revelation as a War Boy named Nux. Again, Miller’s writing is a strength here, as all types and kinds of characters get development, and Hoult plays the naive War Boy beautifully. His character goes through a transformation from giddy villain to sympathetic hero.
3. It Was Worth the 30 Year Wait AND it’s Necessary
Fury Road seemingly could represent everything that’s wrong with movies today; looking to recapture the old glory days by making an unnecessary sequel many years after the last film. Wrong again.
It’s a good thing no one working on this film believed the quote Max says at the beginning of the film. Fury Road is not only necessary, it’s a welcome return to classic, big budget filmmaking. A reminder of what big, beautiful action movies can and should look like.
2. George Miller
God bless this man. George Miller never gave up. Not only did he never give up on the idea of a follow up to 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome, but this specific idea for Fury Road first came to him in 1999!
Miller’s films have always had Progressive values, and his latest is no exception. He deserves praise and accolades for his writing and directing in Fury Road. This is his first live action film since 1998’s Babe: Pig in the City, and here’s hoping we won’t have to wait as long for the next George Miller spectacle.
1. Charlize Theron’s Oscar Nomination Worthy Performance as Furiosa
The best performance by an actress I’ve seen so far in 2015 is Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Fury Road. If Max is The Road Warrior, Furiosa is The Female Road Warrior — but unlike that simple, somewhat demeaning characterization, she’s every bit the equal Max is and much more.
I know it’s early still…..but with the absolutely fantastic reviews Mad Max: Fury Road is receiving, I think it’s now relevant to start talking about this film’s Oscar chances — And the number one nomination I'd like to champion is Charlize Theron for Best Actress. With all due respect to Tom Hardy, who’s perfect for Max, it’s Theron’s Furiosa who is the heart and soul of Fury Road. Theron displays a wide range of emotions flawlessly. She’s tough and badass, but thoughtful and vulnerable. The dynamic between Furiosa and “The Wives,” as well as her development with Max is unique and wonderfully done. Bravo to Charlize Theron for her completely engaging, modern-day female heroine performance!