The madness of Max is back, but is it enough to get you to the Thunderdome?
The high octane, insanity inducing sequel to the classic Max trilogy is now upon us and it definitely doesn’t disappoint!
Mad Max follows its titular character Max (Tom Hardy) as he falls head first into a bitter battle between citadel leader, Immortan Joe and big rig driver Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in a post apocalyptic tundra.
Writer and director George Miller has had a varied career ranging from the original Mad Max trilogy in the 80’s, Babe Pig in the city in the 90’s and the Happy Feet films at the beginning of the century. Given his apparent range and change in genre throughout his career, its surprising that such an amazingly mental film has come from the imagination of a children’s film director! Fortunately, Fury Road is a brilliantly told story from start to finish that has modernised a timeless classic rather than reinventing it. Beautifully shot, well paced and intense to the very end, Miller manages to take an old character, ridiculously basic plot and make it simply spectacular! Clearly more on point with his source material than anyone ever imagined he would be, Miller begins by doing what so many directors are afraid to do by dropping you straight in without hesitation. From trailers alone, some would imagine a little background would be needed before embarking on such an adventure, however, it’s pedal to the metal from the get go as were injected with nitrous and told to accept whatever comes on screen in all its twisted reality.
Although leaving me with a little puddle on my seat, this brazen approach seems to add to the experience, removing the audience ability to justify what’s happening and forcing you take in what’s on screen. Although this style of storytelling may not be to everyone’s taste, in this instance its utterly engulfing and consequently a bloody good 2 hours!
Every scene is meticulously constructed, showing that the desert is just as dangerous (and hauntingly beautiful) as other environments in modern action adventure films would have us believe. The subtle change in shots and elegant use of lenses artistically sew the seams together of a film bursting with excitement. Its overall aim to take us on a journey rather than preach about the dangers of why its happening!
In support of such creative direction, the soundtrack is just as crazy! With a mainly heavy metal score, it’s use both as a tool within the film (as a basic battle cry) and in helping the story flow is as imaginative as it gets and if anything, breaks new ground when looking at the relationship between script and sound!
All elements of this film then finally come together when you look at the extremely entertaining cast. With Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron taking Hollywood by storm over the last few years, its great to see them finally working on a project together, especially one that seems to play perfectly to their strengths! Although for all their talent, its Hugh Keays-Byrne that steals the show as the terrifyingly brilliant Immortan Joe, providing the constant terror of megalomania!
In my opinion, Mad Max is the way reboots and sequels should be handled from this point on! With so much emphasis at the moment on recycling old movie scripts with a ‘second time lucky’ attitude, its quite fresh to see something borrow from the past rather than trying to recreate it!
If Mad Max was an instructional video on how to continue a franchise much past its youth, then there may be hope for all those upcoming reboots (putting the upcoming Jurassic and rumoured Indiana Jones reboot under great pressure!). With reboots starting to grate on the audience, its this type of re-imagining that will excite and create hype rather than disappoint. Mad Max gets a massive 4.5 our of 5!