October 12, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road – Questions and critiques remain

Mad Max: Road Fury turned out to be 2015’s cinematic thrill ride. The George Miller production, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, was a welcome return for the series despite containing very little CGI and mostly practical stunts in a movie that took over two decades to make. It surely made up for the farcical Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome made in the mid 1980’s, largely due to catching its cult following off guard with very little vehicular action and cumbersome plot that was nothing really but a “vehicle” for pop singer Tina Turner to try her hand at acting. However, despite the success of Fury Road, questions do remain and that is what we are going to ask and explore today. Just don’t put your foot on the gas yet!

Perhaps the most debated query of all is whether Fury Road is a reboot or straight sequel to Thunderdome. Director George Miller explained that the movie is neither, and that this particular entry is a “revisiting,” although it does take place after Thunderdome in his mind. But actor Tom Hardy disagreed, stating that he thinks the film is a straight up remake. Miller did go on to say that it should be interpreted as each film being told by different people and that events will differ and sometimes become unclear. There is no doubt about the latter! Whatever the answer truly is, it is a debate that will rage on for quite some time. But do not expect any resolution any time soon, which probably will be fine for some fans as they can continuously tell themselves that Fury Road is all part of the same 1970’s and 1980’s timeline.

If there is anything to critique about Fury Road, a lack of action it does not lack. There is always plenty of something going on in its near two hour running time while Furiosa’s rig roars down the empty highway. But sadly the plot is rather thin. Not that this seems to bother most fans. Normally there is more structural pacing in movies in general especially when they illustrates their mythologies. But things are almost constantly in motion and Miller chose to tell the story while the wheels kept spinning. Unfortunately this method severely restricted the allowance for something for the film to fall back on. Of course, any story will contain little or big drops of emotion. But because there was so little story, it did not provide big opportunities for the characters to beg us to care for them. Sorry, but Furiosa’s own back story just did not do that here.

Finally, we are shown several flashbacks of Max’s past, mainly to do with his infant daughter being killed at the hands of Immortan Joe’s clan. This may not come across clear but if you slow the footage down then you will notice that the vehicles that run her down are the same ones that Max contends with later in the movie. When learning of this, there is no other conclusion to come to other than Max should have found some kind of redemption and salvation once Immortan Joe met his demise. Just as baffling is why he did not make any special effort to claim revenge for himself instead of letting Furiosa, unless he thought her cause was more worthwhile. And that is understandable. But that final sequence of the film, between Max and Furiosa, did not exhibit any emphasis on the death of Immortan Joe for Max’s daughter in any way. Perhaps this is something that may or can be explored in later sequels, but if each entry is really going to be as different from the last as George Miller claimed then I will not be holding my breath. But do keep plenty of bags of popcorn in large supply.

Oh, and bring back the Interceptor, please!

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis

I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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