I just got back from seeing ‘Mad Max: Fury Road‘ in theaters again for the fourth time (special thanks to Alamo Drafthouse’s dollar showing!) and I thought it’d be fun to just share my thoughts on one of my favorite films of 2015 in a less formal, less review-like format, and more of just my general thoughts on the film eight months after it’s release.
So, does the film hold up to the initial awe of my first viewing?
The Mad Max franchise has always held a special in my heart as the franchise that really introduced me to post-apocalyptic fiction as a kid. I still contend to this day that The Road Warrior is one of the best action films ever made, so its safe to say that director George Miller’s return to his classic franchise with his long awaited Mad Max: Fury Road was one of my most anticipated films of last year. But god damn, not only was I not expecting it be easily the best entry in the Mad Max franchise, but I definitely didn’t think it would be one of the best films of the year bar none.
After seeing the film multiple times I picked up on a lot of small details and directorial touches Miller implements into Fury Road that really just make the film stand out. One of my favorite techniques he uses is when in certain frantic action scenes, Miller has removed select frames from every second of the scene, giving it a jumpy and chaotic feel just from the camera work alone, which works very well with the overall tone of the film. Fury Road is honestly one of the most relentless and insane action movies I have ever scene, and full credit must be given to Miller.
The action is not the only thing that makes this film such a masterpiece however. The cinematography and artistry of the film are head and shoulder above the large majority of modern action films. The way color is brought into the film that takes place entirely in an Australian desert is nothing short of amazing as what could easily be intrinsically boring visually is made into something that is beautiful and breathtaking to look at. From seeing the desert background contrasted against the artful destruction that takes place in the film between the various war rigs and the deep dark blues and blacks of the night sky, the cinematography of Fury Road is nothing short of astounding.
The subtle world building in Fury Road is one of my favorite things about the film. Miller never out right explains how Immortan Joe’s cult of the War Boys was started or why the War Boys believe what they believe. However, they all appear devout in their worship of Immortan Joe and their quest for entrance into Valhalla. Many times they are shown in a somewhat sympathetic light due to their upbringing and apparent terminal illnesses they all appear to suffer from. This is shown best through their character of Nux who exemplifies all of the sympathetic qualities of the War Boys and shows how they have all been manipulated by Immortan Joe, which I find very effective.
Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the film the fourth viewing just as much as my first, if not more. The pacing of the film is perfect as the film flies at full speed for almost it’s entire run time, slowing down just enough to allow audiences to catch their breath before the next balls to the wall set piece begins. The subtle story telling of Max slowly regaining his sanity by helping Furiosa gives audiences enough context to infer for themselves just what mindset Max is in, complementing the main plot of rescuing the wives without detracting from it. I could go on and on just gushing about how great of a film this is but I think I’m going to wrap this up.