Sunday, May 24, 2015

Quick Critique: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

So whatever happened to the art of having fun?

And I don’t mean in that banal, Fast and the Furious ‘Don’t take it too seriously’ kind of vain, as a wonderful excuse to prep up a boring ass film you’ve seen a million times before. I mean the pure, adrenaline-soaked insanity that comes out of real, honest-to-goodness creativity and effort?

Thankfully it’s making a comeback. Guardians of the Galaxy had it, and Fury Road has it in buckets full.

The Mad Max movies kind of follows a similar formula passed the first one. Our titular apathetic anti-hero (this time ‘round being played by Tom Hardy) gets dragged into a conflict he wants no part of, only to be forced to help them partly through his own interests.

In this instalment, he’s kidnapped by a cultish tribe called the War Boys to be used as a blood donor for one of their members, Nux (Nicholas Hoult).  After this cult, and their patriarchal leader Immorten Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) is betrayed by one of his lieutenants Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Max manages to get free and is forced to help her transport Joe’s five wives to her home, which she believes will lead to their salvation.

As with the previous movies, a lot of real life parallel is used to characterise the world of Fury Road. Not so much be some diatribe on the themes and subjects it brings up, but in order to create an insane dystopian future that has way more of a weight. This time around, there’s an emphasis on patriarchal control and a lack of natural resources. Furiosa’s quest to get her matriarchal home and away from the tyrannical Joe is pretty on-the-nose as to who is causing the ruination and pain, but the movie is smart enough not to focus too heavily on these elements.

What does it focus on? Fun, fun, and absolute maniacal fun. This movie is like one travelling rock show, combined with a permanent guitar solo. The action is masterclass, and having few digital effects really adds to the experience. This movie is an absolute thrill ride, led by the competent action stars of Hardy and Theron, who hit every beat they can, while also carrying the movie through what little plot there actually is.

If there’s any faults, I don’t think the flashbacks were really needed. They’re kind of cheesy, and while it’s good to see Max at a state of feral insanity, they’re not needed to characterise a pretty basic character. It’s Nux who gets the most completed arc that ties into the themes of the film, you don’t really need to deepen Max. That and sometimes the sound design isn’t too consistent. Sometimes you can hear the characters too clearly, sometimes you cannot hear them at all.

Despite all this, Mad Max: Fury Road is a clever, manic, and incredibly fun entry into the series well worth the 30 year wait. Believe the hype.