It's confession time. As of the time of this writing, I haven't seen The Road Warrior. In fact, until now, I hadn't seen any Mad Max movies. It was a dark corner on the list of shame that I didn't realize existed. I just didn't have anyone pushing me to see these movies. Nobody told me it was important. I was ignorant.
The Mad Max: Fury Road trailer looked cool, but I wasn't invested in the franchise. I would have been ok to pass it up. However, the internet refused to let this happen. The hype machine got to me. I repeatedly read that Fury Road as an instant classic and a milestone in action movies. Friends came out of the woodwork to explain that I had been missing out. It was time to take the plunge.
Warning: The following is a spoiler-filled reaction to Mad Max: Fury Road. If you haven't seen it yet, turn around and go back.
Fury Road turned out to be quite an experience. It's a two hour assault of the senses, leaving you stunned. I was blown away, left unsure of what to make of what I had just seen. I liked it, but I wasn't sure if I loved it. I was given a gift in such a strange package. It needed to grow on me.
I love movies, but a dystopian car movie in the desert isn't my particular flavor of ice cream. I can enjoy it, even like it, but rarely would I seek it out. I'm not entirely sure why, but they've never clicked with me. Fury Road didn't look like something I would typically enjoy. I watched it with an open mind and low expectations, which is the way I wish I approached more movies.
What I saw was a beautiful and fascinating view of a hideous world. George Miller set out to make a beautiful movie, and he succeeded. I was truly impressed by the cinematography. From the vast landscapes to the reflections of fire in Furiosa's eyes, the movie was amazing to see.
Shooting the film so well highlighted a serious of visions that I'd never seen before. We were treated to characters and cars that we'd never imagined. We saw stunts that didn't seem repetitive, and were believable due to long shots and a tendency to use practical effects.
There is just so much to like about this movie. The performances from Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy were excellent. The score from Tom Holkenborg(Junkie XL)was exciting. So many strong pieces of this movie elevate it beyond a simple action movie; yet it executes it's nearly non-stop action incredibly well.
Fury Road is also a great example of simple storytelling. There isn't too much to the plot, but it is arresting. Setup is minimal. Miller chooses to fade to black rather than overthinking transitions. The movie sets up the story, acquaints us with the world around us, and says "Go!".
Furthermore, the film is very accessible for newcomers to the franchise. I didn't need to know anything, but could sense that I was missing out. When I saw the Star Trek reboot, I was driven to go back and watch all of the original movies (mostly for the first time). Fury Road has had the same effect for me with the Mad Max series. It has created a new fan. I want to see what led to this. I want to see the ways we were exposed to this world three decades ago. I want to learn more about our title character, who reminds me a bit of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name.
The more I think about Fury Road, the more I like it. That is usually a characteristic of films that I really enjoy. I can't wait to return to the theater to experience this movie again.