Mad Max: Fury Road Synopsis: In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.
Release Date: May 15, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
For the last few years, franchises like The Hunger Games and Divergent have dominated the futuristic dystopian movie marketplace. Well, look out, post-apocalyptic film fans, Mad Max: Fury Road is here to take back the crown.
Mad Max: Fury Road begins with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy from Locke and Warrior taking over for Mel Gibson) being captured by a tyrannical leader named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played one of the villains in the original Mad Max). Max is used as a “blood bag,” a kind of fresh blood supply, for one of Joe’s War Boys, the young and eager-to-fight Nux (Nicholas Hoult from Warm Bodies).
When Joe’s War Rig is stolen by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron from Prometheus), Nux badly wants to impress Joe by helping to bring it back, so he joins the pursuit party – taking Max, his blood bag, along for the ride. Riding with Nux, Max is able to catch up to Furiosa and the War Rig, and learns her true reason for stealing the vehicle; she’s smuggling five of Immortan Joe’s brides to The Green Place, an oasis that she remembers from her youth where they will all be safe. Needing the power of the War Rig and the backup of Furiosa, Max agrees to help them run from Joe’s war party until they reach their destination.
As any Mad Max movie should be, Mad Max: Fury Road was directed by George Miller, the creator of the original trilogy (as well as the director of such varied films as Babe: Pig in the City and The Witches of Eastwick). If anyone knows the Mad Max universe, it’s George Miller. And know it he does. The events of Mad Max: Fury Road take place after those of the last film of the original trilogy, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but it is obviously the same hopeless and desperate world full of colorful characters, desolate landscapes, and bitchin’ cars.
The script for Mad Max: Fury Road, written by Miller along with comic book artist Brendan McCarthy (“ReBoot”) and actor Nico Lathouris (who appeared in the original Mad Max), is a simple chase story that takes place in a complex political setting. The economical story does not stop it from being an extremely entertaining entry into the Mad Max canon, however. There’s subtext there for the overthinkers, but it’s not what’s most important; Mad Max: Fury Road is a stand-up-and-cheer popcorn flick.
For his part, Tom Hardy steps perfectly into Mel Gibson’s big shoes as the titular Max Rockatansky. Now, Hardy is one of those actors who could read the phone book and make it compelling, but in Mad Max: Fury Road, it’s the subtlety that sells the performance. Max is more of a piece in an ensemble than he is a lead character, and he frequently steps aside to let the others have their moments in the sun.
Mad Max: Fury Road is Charlize Theron’s movie as much as it is Hardy’s – maybe even more so. The character of Furiosa stands up to (and next to) Max as an equal instead of as a subordinate, showing the same determination and fearlessness coupled with sensitivity and empathy as Max himself shows. It’s weird to think of a movie that is, essentially, a two-hour car chase as a character piece, but that’s part of what makes Mad Max: Fury Road (and all of the Mad Max movies for that matter) so much fun: the characters.
There’s a lot of excitement about Mad Max: Fury Road, and it is completely warranted. It lives up to all of the expectations that have been brewing and simmering for the 30 years since the last Mad Max movie. Naysayers might complain that the film is overhyped. Well, listen up: it’s impossible to overhype Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s that good.
Score and Soundtrack
Composed by Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL (300: Rise of an Empire, Run All Night), the music for Mad Max: Fury Road is an integral part of the movie. Junkie XL has been mentored by veteran Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer on several films such as The Dark Knight Rises and Divergent, and his soundtrack for Mad Max: Fury Road has much of the same dramatic flair as Zimmer’s work, but it’s much less of a traditional film score.
Most of the score is a very abrasive, percussive, industrial sounding musical landscape. There’s an interesting mix between the music and the sound, where the music actually uses effects like the racing motors of the cars and the blasting explosions in the desert for dramatic flourishes. Likewise, the music becomes a diegetic part of the sound design as well, as Immortan Joe’s War Party is escorted into battle by a big, speaker-encrusted, drum-laden dump truck, complete with pounding percussionists strapped to the back and a blistering electric guitarist bungee corded to the front like a heavy metal marionette (played convincingly well by Australian musician iOTA).
This description does not do it justice; it really has to be seen and heard to be believed. Junkie XL’s score for Mad Max: Fury Road becomes part of the movie in a way that is nothing short of brilliant.
In Mad Max: Fury Road, action movie fans have found their big summer movie, and it’s only May. The film is basically one big non-stop action scene, with crazy stunts, badass cars, and plenty of explosions. The movie is one long run-for-the-border, and the obstacles that Max and the gang encounter include spikey jalopies crashing into them, supercross motorcyclists jumping over them while tossing grenades, and assailants bouncing towards them on metronome-style flexible sticks mounted to adjacent cars, all of this happening while the whole scene rockets along at ninety miles per hour.
And, although some digital trickery is used to clean stuff up and make things a bit more intense, all of the stunts were done practically, including the wholesale destruction of many of the cars. George Miller deserves a lot of credit for even trying some of the things that are in Mad Max: Fury Road, let alone actually pulling them off. Mad Max: Fury Road is a high octane adrenaline rush that provides edge-of-the-seat thrills and cheer-out-loud spills.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): George Miller
- Producer(s): George Miller, Doug Mitchell, P.J. Voeten, Genevieve Hofmeyr
- Screenwriter(s): George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
- Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman
- Editor(s): Jason Ballantine
- Cinematographer: John Seale
- Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan
- Casting Director(s): Nikki BarrettRonna Kress
- Music Score: Junkie XL
- Country Of Origin: Australia/USA