Let's be honest. Action films aren't what they used to be. Now most of them are just the same movie over and over again. It's all just explosions and car chases and the classic battle of good versus evil. Yet every now and then there are films that break away from the cliches and allow themselves to be unique. This is how I feel about [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445). Out of all the action films that try to make good stories with awkward dialogue and generic characters, Fury Road gives a good story through the action and through characters you're not use to seeing in this genre. It has 2 hours of car chases, uses little digital effects, and the female characters almost make Max a secondary character in his own movie.
It's a 2-Hour Car Chase, But It Works
If you've seen any of the Transformers movies, even if you've just seen the trailers, you know that the biggest fault a movie can make is to fill it with action, and nothing but action. When all you're seeing is explosions and car chases, the movie isn't unique. You're just paying $10 see people running and screaming.
Now, does Mad Max make itself unique, you may be asking? Well, yes it does. How, you ask? By making it a gigantic 2-hour car chase.
Now, I know what that sounds like, but hear me out. It sounds a little hypocritical to what I just said, but believe me, it works out. The producers, director, and everyone else working on this movie knew that when people walk into a Mad Max movie, they're expecting action. And most of all, they expect car chases. Why give them any less than what they expected? So that's what they did. They gave them action, and a lot of it. And it wasn't just explosions and people running around and screaming. There was chaos to the action, as all films of that kind must acquire. But this chaos was beautiful. It reflected the world that the director George Miller had created over 35 years ago.
Almost No CGI, All Real
Part of the reason George Miller's world has captured our eyes is that he doesn't fall back on the use of digital effects. My main concern with the film industry during the digital age is the overuse of CGI. The ability to create the destruction of an entire city, or an 18-foot-tall alien, or even an army of soldiers. All through the use of a computer. Now, of course, I can be a little harsh on CGI. In many cases it's a necessary tool in order to create what a director has in mind for the film, like when James Cameron created the world of Pandora for Avatar. If that whole set hadn't been created with the use of visual effects, the movie wouldn't have been the same. But most of the time CGI is used much in the same way as it was used with Stars Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace: it's made to replace all forms of visual effects just because it's the newest and easiest thing available. And look how that movie turned out. Movies should only use CGI when it's absolutely necessary, when it enhances the visual effects. But it should only be a last resort, in my opinion.
If any movie from this year used CGI this way, it was Fury Road. The only time any digital effects were used was to enhance the apocalyptic world of Mad Max (i.e. Colossal sandstorms similar to thunder tornadoes). Otherwise, everything is real. The car chases, the explosions, the spears that explode on contact, everything! It made me think of the Dark Knight Trilogy in that way. It was nice to know that I didn't have to be convinced that the movie was real. That's real movie magic!
Ladies So Tough, Even Max Steps Aside!
This is what everybody talks about once they've left the theater. Everyone has been so impressed that this movie supports female empowerment in a way that few action films have.
And it's hard to disagree with that. Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa has become a symbol for the female community much like that of Wonder Woman. Many refer to her as the female Mad Max, but there were a lot of scenes where I couldn't stop and think "Holy crap! She's better than him!". They could've titled the movie Furiosa: Fury Road and it would've been the same. And I still would've been the first in line to see it.
It's not like Max is against all this female empowerment. Far from it! I'm recalling to one scene, when Max is about to take a shot at one of Immortan Joe's generals with a sniper. Furiosa is standing next to him, watching him get in the right position and almost cringing at his process. So, Max sighs and hands the gun to her. He knew she thought she could get the job done, and he let her. If that doesn't scream feminism, I don't know what does.
I believe Mad Max: Fury Road is the best action film ever, but not just because it had great action sequences. It's because the director took the project and sought to make a great movie, not a great action movie. That way, he focused on creating characters that the audience was actually invested in. Stories that they hadn't even dreamt of. In a sense, George Miller just wanted to preserve his world for what it was. It was a wasteland, pure and simple. And he didn't want it any other way.