Release: 2015 Director: George Miller
There are milestones in cinema throughout history. In 1939 the world was graced with The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind in the same year. Ben-Hur would go on the change the scope of movies, proving you could have an epic with elaborate sets and scale that appealed to such a wide array of audiences that it would go on to win 11 Oscars. Star Wars released to the shock of the movie world and become one of the greatest success stories of all time. And in 2015, we were witness to the perfection that is Mad Max: Fury Road.
I have not met anyone who has seen Fury Road and did not like it. The story is just so simple, yet so tightly woven as a script that it is seamless. Max is insane, living in a world where you must have but one instinct, survive. When he is captured by a pack or War Boys and brought to the Citadel to be used as a bloodbag, he tries everything he can to just live another day…while also being haunted by his past. He is hopelessly captured, so we follow Furiosa, a high ranking member of Immortan Joe warriors, as she executes a high risk plan to escape with his most prized women. Soon Furiosa is forced into working with Max to get them away and what ensues is what could only be described as the most badass 2 hour chase ever.
Trying to explain the plot is really, really hard, but that’s not the point. While a boiled down explanation comes off as a jumbled mess, the way it is presented is masterful. There is never a wasted moment, what you see explains more of the world or fleshes out the characters. One small detail might escape you on your first viewing, but everything is there for a reason. See that guy taking care of his boss’s foot while they are waiting? That is important later, you just don’t realize it yet. It slows down at the perfect moments to let you breath after the high-octane action, then ramps back up just in time to pull you back in. You care about everyone, and while you despise Immortan Joe for his malice and manipulation, you can at least understand that he does so for survival just like everyone else.
So, what are the problems with it? I keep saying its a masterpiece and that everything works so well. That’s because it is, and not why I’m writing this.
Might as well talk about the Black & Chrome edition while I’m here, the reason I’m writing this is because i recently saw this version. The “original” has a very distinct color tone. Harsh red’s and orange, icy blue and jungle green. For a post-apocalyptic setting and it being mostly taking place in a desert, Fury Road has one of the brightest color palettes in the past decade. So what does taking away those stylized colors do to the film? As an audience member, you are taken in by the happenings on screen so much that you might miss the subtle lines sprinkled about the dialogue that really makes these characters so gripping. Everything being in black and white (“chrome”) helps you focus on the smaller details, but still retains the epic scale that the film has. Men hanging off of poles dangling over a War Rig looks just as good in any color. You take notice that Max is a man of very few words and emotions, when he does speak there is always a reason, even if it is just one or two words.
I truly consider Mad Max: Fury Road to be in the tier of “perfect films.” Just about everyone can find something here that will entice them or get them amped up. The action is incredible with some of the best practical effect use in recent decades. The characters feel alive and as though we are just watching a small part of their lives. This world we watch is alive, with creatures and a dichotomy that could have been around for decades and we only know little of it. If you want a film that will grip you for a very tight 2 hours, there just isn’t anything else like Fury Road.
What a day, what a lovely day!