The New Mad Max: Fury Road is Breathtaking

Still a little shell-shocked. This movie, man. Wow. It was breathtaking. It was awesome in its visuals, with action sequences that were simultaneously riveting examples of modern technology while also sharing a sensibility that would have been at home in any 80s action movie.

I find myself wanting to use words like stunning. I don’t often find myself wanting to use such words. It’s tough to figure out what else to say though. There were moments when I found myself trying to crawl out of my seat because of what was happening on screen.

First, I’ll say this… there is not much to “spoil” in this movie. The plot is simple – I believe in a very intentional way – with a spine that is primarily an extended chase sequence across various types of challenging terrain. I’d also love to see this movie again and really examine exactly how much dialogue was in it – cause it ain’t much. But just in case you are worried about any levels of spoiler-y detail, here’s where I’ll leave you – This movie is well worth your time.

Other thoughts on the Fury Road…

Is it really about Max?
So, interesting question: is this movie really about Max? Actually, I don’t know if it is an interesting question because I don’t care about the answer. My perception is that the movie is primarily driven by and the action is more important to, Furiosa (Charlize Theron). For a portion of the movie, Max is [literally] just along for the ride. As Max and Furiosa come to something of an understanding between them – based on survival and the understanding of the world they live in – they form a partnership that is interesting because it allows them to both be useful, contributing members of this curious little adventuring party. Even with the minimal dialogue, the communication between the two characters is very clear. That’s a pretty neat accomplishment in an action movie. They don’t have “gender-based” roles or gender-based interactions. They interact as two dangerous people relying on each other to survive something awful.

The world they live in
This is something I just touched on but I really appreciated as well and it’s worth discussing. Many times, these post-apocalyptic movies tell a story with survival in a harsh world but you find characters who still seem to carry the baggage of our much safer, civilized, Western culture into their interactions with their environment. Now, I don’t know if that can be entirely avoided because many of these filmmakers live in those conditions. But Mad Max: Fury Road, gave me characters who were loyal to each other, had morals, cared about something outside themselves, and yet, I always felt like I was seeing characters who were products of their environment, rather than mine. Max and Furiosa embody this well as they make decisions throughout the film. This is something I very much appreciated.

A Better Class of Action Movie
As someone who will tell you that I love ‘summer blockbusters!’ even though I often expect them to be glitzy and more guilty pleasure than anything else (though there is nothing wrong with that), I appreciate the fact that I’ve recently seen some action/genre films which had a different feel to them. As I reflected on Mad Max last night I found myself thinking about Judge Dredd. This was another movie I very much enjoyed which had a constrained scope, a different kind of relationship between a male and female lead, and minimal dialogue to accompany the occasionally frenetic action. I hope to see more of this. Honestly, I’d lump my favorite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies into this category as well – Captain America, Winter Soldier (though it did have more dialogue than these other two).

Closing Thoughts
The critics love Fury Road. For once I find myself in agreement. Fury Road has a lot to offer. It is visually amazing, tells a simple, but engaging story, and fulfills all your wildest fantasies about what the world inside George Miller’s head must look like.

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