J A Garrett

Curiously nerdy posts.

Mad Max: Fury Road… there and back again. With explosions.

So. I just got home from watching the hottest movie of the week (and perhaps maybe the year, judging by rottentomatoes.com). It took some convincing to get my wife to go see it with me on our first anniversary weekend*, but it was worth it.

*Relax. She also likes action movies, and the actual anniversary is on Sunday. Besides, I’m taking her to a botanical garden and a nice seafood place tomorrow. So there.

This movie has been getting quite the buzz, from what I’ve seen. “Best action movie of the decade.” “Brilliant, frenetic, merciless.” That sort of thing. I’ll be honest and say that it’s been over a decade since I’ve seen any of the Mel Gibson movies, so word of mouth and the awesome reviews were the majority of my motivation to go see it so quickly. And so expensively. Was it worth it, in my opinion? Read on!

What I liked:

The setup for the movie. Let’s be honest with ourselves: this movie doesn’t have much use for stuff like a layered plot, nuanced dialogue, or character development. And while I’m sure those more familiar with the original movies caught some neat little asides (I could tell where they were placed. As it is with the rest of the movie, they were far from subtle), it was a very bare bones plot. As my title suggests, the plot of the film is literally “Go to point B from point A, and then turn around to go back to point A.”

But honestly? That doesn’t matter in the slightest. You don’t need a brilliantly written script to make a great movie. You really don’t. What you DO need are great visuals, innovative shots, and good pacing so viewers don’t start thinking about snacks, or how nice it would be to get up and go pee. This movie has all of that. In spades.

It bursts with creativity, at every turn. It feeds you visuals that are obvious enough for you to figure out what’s going on, and doesn’t bother with telling you the details. There were many times in the movie where I found myself wishing that I could learn more about this bizarre post-apocalyptic Australia, but I know that explaining too much would ruin the magic. It takes a demented mind to make up a world dominated by S&M biker gangs that subsist off human breast milk, but it also takes an incredibly creative one. I ate up the visuals like a big, juicy burger, and just asked for more.

This picture is so metal. I can’t even.

A movie that knows exactly what it is, and sets out to achieve its mission to perfection is the highest goal in cinema, in my opinion. This movie did both of those things.

The action. This movie is one of those rare gems that has SO MUCH ACTION that you can almost regard the moments of silence like an oasis… you drink it in for the few moments it seems real, and then plow on into more mayhem. While I love a good action movie, this is dangerous territory to travel. If any of the action gets trite and predictable, boom. Instant boring movie.

Well, this movie doesn’t have that problem. The action is visceral, uncompromisingly brutal, and amazing. It’s an adrenaline ride that never stops, a rollercoaster of innovative camera shots that make you watch in wonder, both immersed in this wacky world the movie creates, and also the very real thought about how amazing it is that none of the stuntmen involved died a horrible death. My wife turned to me about 3/4 into the movie, and told me “this is almost too much”. It really is. Almost.

The world building. As I touched on earlier, this is what I enjoyed the most. George Miller is generally credited with creating the postapocalyptic genre as we know it. Without him, we’d have no such thing as Fallout games, or The Road. Everything is twisted, and imperfect, save for the walking macguffins of the movie. You’ve got deformed bosses, guys with bullets for teeth, berserkers that made me realize where the inspiration for psychos from the Borderlands games came from, naked women on towers, and tons and tons of insane looking vehicles. Most of which are blown up. I wish there was a game made directly from these movies. But with this one, maybe I’ll get my wish.

What I didn’t like:

The beginning. Objectively, the opening is as good as the rest of the movie. But it’s painfully lacking in context. I had no idea why Max got to where he was. A little more clarification would have been nice.

…wow, I guess you can tell I’m really reaching to find something to criticize, huh? It certainly didn’t hurt the movie, but it would’ve been nice.

The verdict:

I went in hoping for an insane action movie to entertain me. I got exactly that, and I got even more than that. I got to watch a creative wildfire for two hours. It’s always a pleasure to come across something so interesting in visuals. I loved this movie, and I can promise you that if you like action movies at all, this one will whet your whistle, and then probably jam it down your throat. With a gasoline explosion.

Best action movie of the decade? I’m not convinced of that. It’s closer to being one of the best action films ever made.

*****.

 

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2 comments on “Mad Max: Fury Road… there and back again. With explosions.

  1. rebeccawalden
    May 18, 2015

    I had no interest in seeing this movie until I read your review! Now, I’m going to have to go. Sweet!

    • jagarrett
      May 18, 2015

      I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it if you get to it. I’ve been considering revisiting it because there’s a lot of stuff to ponder in it, especially on feminist issues.

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This entry was posted on May 16, 2015 by in Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , .
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