Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome came out in 1985 which mean’s we’re looking down the barrel a thirty year gap going into Mad Max Fury Road. I’m normally a skeptic about sequel movies this far out from the original, sometime I’ll have to write why I think Ghostbusters 3 is a terrible idea, but it seems like George Miller isn’t falling into the traps that would normally sink a movie to me.
First, we’re not going to see Mel Gibson. Now, I don’t have any problems with the guy. I understand why some people do, you know the whole antisemitism thing, but I look at him the same way I look at Tom Cruise. I don’t have to like the guy to enjoy his work. It’s also not that I’m a huge Tom Hardy fan. Well, I am, but that’s not my reasoning. No, I’m glad we won’t see Mel Gibson again for one simple reason; he’s old. Hell, even Gibson knows it’s a bad idea and that guy hates Jews!
“It’s getting to the point where they’ll start calling it Fat Max”
Mel Gibson on reprising his role in Mad Max
Word is there isn’t even a cameo. Which is a bit disappointing but ultimately what’s required if we’re going to see the franchise resurgent. The audience doesn’t a reminder that Hardy isn’t the original Max. Which brings me to my next point…
Second, it’s not a remake, a reboot, prequel, or passing-of-the-torch movie. It’s the next damn movie, plain and simple. I trust that an audience is smart enough to understand why we’re getting a new actor. We don’t need to retread old ground just to explain why Max looks different or create a new character, conveniently named Max, to explain why Gibson is out and Hardy is in. They aren’t going to take a dump on the previous movies by pretending they didn’t exist or making up shit that conflicts with movies later in the timeline.
By all accounts, this film is continues the story from Beyond Thunderdome. Like I said, it’s just the next damn movie. Don’t believe me, just read what Miller himself had to say about the movie. Which will then bring me to my next point.
“Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.”
Third, Mad Max is all about style and the way Miller talks about the movie drips with it. War Rigs, Road Wars, and ‘Word Burgers of the History of Men’ just scream that je ne sais quoi of a Mad Max movie. The trailer delivered that vibe to the nines. Haven’t seen the trailer? Go watch it. Now-ish.
Now that you’re all caught up we’ll continue. If you didn’t get chills from that trailer you’re a goddamn robot. I know that it’s the design of trailers to sell tickets, which is why everything is so tight, but they also inform about the movie. Intentionally most of the time, accidentally other times. There is very little dialogue in the Fury Road trailer, instead the trailer tells its story with music. Pounding, riveting music. Again, we’re knee-deep in style. To me, that says something about the movie. Lets roll back to something Miller said for my next point.
Fourth, it’s about a big Road War, which is a Mad Maxian way of saying it’s one giant ass car chase. According to one early reviewer that’s exactly it too. The movie is about rag-tag vehicles racing across the desert belching fire and smoke. More of that style I just talked about. While I think this is a freaking awesome idea it could go horribly wrong if it weren’t for my next point.
Finally, it’s mostly traditional special effects. Call me what you will, but non-CG special effects just look better to me. According to IMDB over 80% of the effects are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. There is an art to using CG and it’s not what George Lucas thinks. Sparingly to enhance traditional effects is the way to go right now. Maybe one day we’ll be at the point with CG is able to wholly replace make-up and stunts, but today isn’t the day and Miller knows it.
More than anything though, I think I’m just plain ready for a movie like this. We haven’t got a lot of non-Zombie post-apocalyptic movies lately and the last Wasteland movie I can think of is the Book of Eli from 2010. It’s a genre that is under served and if Fury Road can bring it a resurgence I’m on board all the way. I just hope that Mad Max doesn’t become the new Zombie movie craze.
Actually. I’d be fine with that.