Retrospective Rambling: Mad Max: Fury Road

I’ve never done speed, or taken a shot of adrenaline. But this is what I imagine both feel like. Only with a lot more cars, and explosions.

Anyway.

Mad Max: Fury Road is quite possibly one of the greatest action films ever made. No kidding.

In one film, George Miller made the career of Michael Bay look entirely irrelevant, while simultaneously making an absolute mockery of the state of modern Hollywood action movies.

I’m honestly somewhat stumped on where to even start analysing this movie. But let’s start with the basics: the action itself. I’ve seen a new wave of “online movie experts” claiming that this is nothing but a CGI-fest. If you’re one of those imbeciles, please educate yourself.

The only main use of CGI in Fury Road is the massive sandstorm near the beginning of the film, and other than that, the rest of the action is all down to the work of the fantastic stunt men and women. Considering at one point Tom Hardy’s head is placed mere inches from the ground in a speeding vehicle, this is an achievement in itself.

Every single thing about this movie, from the action, to the villain, to the cars is stupendous and over-the-top, and that’s one of the things that Fury Road most excels at. There’s even a guy playing a guitar that doubles as a flamethrower, for Christ sake.

Fury Road continues to defy modern expectations not only in it’s action, but also in it’s underlying themes. This is what I suspect went completely over the head of the majority of “online movie experts”, leading them to falsely conclude that it was nothing more than a standard action movie.

Firstly, the movie carries a subtle, but brilliant feminist agenda. Furiosa and the Five Wives are shown to be fleeing from their brutal master, but never once do they actually rely on Max to get them out of a jam, or look to him for guidance. Sure, it’s Max’s idea to turn back during the climax of the film, but the power of the group leader is always firmly in Furiosa’s hands.

Secondly, Fury Road parodies the alpha male character to complete perfection. While the Immortan Joe is shown to be the leading alpha male figure, his “war boys” are the victims of this way of life, being strung along under lies and the pretence of being the dominant gender.

Ultimately, the war boys represent those that have been lost and lied to, and are actually being used and subsequently abused by their leader, Immortan Joe. It’s actually quite sad that this theme appears to have gone well over the heads of the average movie-goer, because it has some fantastic things to say about male domination in society.

Also, a tip of the hat to George Miller is in order. The guy began life as a doctor, then tried his hand at film making, only to produce some of the most influential films ever made. And now, at 70 years old, he’s directed a film that the vast majority of directors half his age couldn’t dare even imagine making.

Let’s not forget that it’s down to Miller, and Miller only, that this film ever even had a chance of getting made. He’s spoken at lengths about how the film was stranded in development hell for all manner of reasons, from 9/11 stopping them filming near the Middle East, to heavy rain in Australia making them change locations altogether.

But in the end, he’s managed to put together a film that left me completely in awe. I’d actually love to interview George Miller someday, if only to ask him how they actually accomplished certain stunts without multiple people being killed in the process.

All in all, Fury Road is one of the greatest actions films ever made, and I don’t even think that’s up for debate. You’ll probably never see another film of this ambition made in Hollywood, partially due to the hesitant nature of George Miller to return to the franchise, and also purely because of how unique Fury Road is.

Sure, I know that Miller has said he’ll direct more movies in the franchise, but until they’re actually in production, I’m somewhat hesitant to believe this’ll actually happen. For one, there’s the hugely inflated budget that Fury Road had, and I doubt that any studio will take such a gamble on something that could potentially spiral out of control like this did.

Secondly, there’s also the strain that Fury Road put on it’s cast and crew to consider. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron reportedly had a “tenuous” relationship during filming, leading to doubts that Theron would return for another instalment in the franchise.

You can even hear how weary the film made George Miller when he’s asked about the filming process in interviews, this all culminating in the apparently false report that he was done with the franchise. Take that how you will, but to me it’s a clear sign of hesitation from someone that’s unsure of what to do next.

In a perfect world, this would walk home with the Oscar Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. But due to Hollywood being somehow fascinated by the largely empty Revenant and the overrated Big Short, I somehow doubt this will come to pass.

 

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2 thoughts on “Retrospective Rambling: Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. Great post about a great movie! I had to watch it 2-3 times to really appreciate and now I think its a masterpiece. The themes are so powerful, yet subtle: Feminism, friendship, loyalty, courage, etc. It can also be a metaphor for our society. I really like Max’s line, “If you can’t fix what’s broken you’ll go insane.”

    Like

    1. Great to hear from someone that sees it the same way! It’s a beautiful film in every sense of the word, it’s just such a shame the world seems to have forgotten about it already. Thanks for reading and stopping by.

      Like

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