Review: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) – go & watch it, you will (likely) not regret it!

A few days ago, I’ve seen Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-lovely-day.png

My conclusion?

The biggest complaint I have with the movie is not about action, actors, script, or anything else. It’s about having a soul. Just like most movies by Christopher Nolan, this movie, also, has no soul. The main hero has some internal fights with his past. They are ignored, or just mentioned (he says he needs redemption, but that’s it). There’s little to no romance between characters. The good guy wants to live, but, despite his actions (he fights a lot), he doesn’t let this be seen too much. When he sees some almost naked ladies with water on them, and then he shares a cab with them he has little to no reaction to them. Incredibly hot girls, long ride, nothing happens (being mad is no excuse). Even the lack of suspense (I talk about it in the current article) is an emotion which is lacking. There’s not lust for anything, for living, for pleasures, for ethics, for a goal, for nothing. “Look, I’m powerful, he seems to be saying, and I lived to see another day”. At the beginning of the movie, he eats a reptile. But he’s not fighting too much, he doesn’t care so much, he doesn’t have a lust for living. Not too sexy, in my opinion. The main character also has the big fault of not having any faults, he doesn’t seem vulnerable and human. Also, to decide that the good guy is good and the bad guy is bad, you need more than a mask, you need to see it through their actions. This doesn’t really happen. Other than that, just like in movies by Christopher Nolan, George Miller does a great job. Entertaining, nice script, good actors, good everything. One year passes, and all you remember is the action and graphics, but not too much the emotions you’ve had. Compare this with Quentin Tarantino, which gives you all the things above, and, still, manages to add lots of emotion to everything. And, also, he has suspense. As a conclusion, it’s still a good movie to watch, smart, good reviews and average grade on IMDb and so on.

Below, my feed-back (spoiler alert!, read my review after you see the movie).

  • The movie starts with the assumption that you’ve already seen the previous movies, or that you don’t really need to know them to understand the current one. They don’t do much of explaining here. And I like this.
  • At the beginning of the movie, there’s a scene in which you hope, you just hope so much that the main character will escape. The director, George Miller, though, is just teasing with you. :) Also, when the bride almost fells out the vehicle, and you’re happy she doesn’t, but then she falls for good.
  • The secondary characters are well detailed. It’s not a movie only about a main characters, there are other persons involved.
  • The main character in a movie is always the one which appears most on the screen. The girl with Mad Max (Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron) appears as much as Mad Max, so it’s not very clear which is the main character.
  • Generally, on the good side there are a few heroes (this happens in Mad Max, only a few characters are very well developed, but even for the rest you see some things) and a lot of bad heroes, but only a few of them are boss. In Mad Max the mass of bad characters are nicely united as one, who joins the good guys. So, the general warriors, in a lot of movies, lose the battle very quickly, and you can’t see their psychology. They’re a mass of easy-to-beat characters. In Mad Max, the director picked one of them and allowed you to see how it thinks. He also made it join the good side, so you can now see him in a paradox – he was bad, now he’s good. Some things change, some things are kept.
  • Some of the characters (the wives) look incredibly good, considering they travel through desert for days.
  • I liked very much the scene with the chains. Two things:
    • If, in general, there are many characters fighting, in this scene there are just 2-3, with minor help from the wives. It’s good to reduce the number, in order to increase the focus. You can’t relate very well to a group of people, but to 2-3 people, that’s fine. You are more emphatic with them.
    • Also, Mad Max doesn’t spare the bullets. He only has a pistol, but he keeps firing. Few resources, using them a lot. It gives you liberties, instead of taking them.
  • Lots of emphasis is put on scarcity, and, despite this, on ephemeral joy. You see people lack resources, yet, when they have them, they throw them out of the window:
    • People need water, but when they get it, it’s through a system that wastes 95% of it. “You need water? Here’s water! Oh, wait, you can’t get it, you can only see it”.
    • The girls make a bath in milk.
    • There are some characters with electric guitars and with drums. On the battlefield, with an army of about 50 people, 5 of them sing. Quite a number!
  • “At this point, most Disney fans know that if they are sitting down to watch a Disney movie on a Friday night with a glass of red wine and their cats sleeping next to them (ugh, that sounds so amazing we wish we were doing that right now), they know that they’ll either be watching characters who lose their parents, or who just simply don’t have any. It’s a Disney thing.” (source and more details on this ») In this movie, the pregnant woman, the most important wife of the bad guy (Immortan Joe), dies. Various old people tend to die, also.
  • In a lot of action movies, the characters get hurt a lot of times, but magically make it, and it takes a lot of action for someone to die, be it good or bad. In this movie, people die very quickly, good or bad. The main characters, when they are hurt, actually suffer, it’s not like they have an invisible cloak protecting them.
  • The bad guys lose due to the fact that the good guys are better. But the bad guys also lose because one of them leaves their group and joins the good. A nice metaphor.
  • Immortan Joe (the villain) is rather stupid & silly. He looks scary, he has power, he’s certainly not polite, but that’s it. He solves things by insisting & pushing, not by creativity. It’s not hard to beat someone who is stupid, even if he is big & stupid. Joe (if I may call him so) has no idea in the whole movie, other than to follow Furiosa.
  • The main hero needs help, can’t save everyone.
  • At two different times Mad Max insists only when needing the most. First, when he’s captured, he only fights when they want to put an iron on him, and then, at another time, when he wants to desperately enter the car by breaking the window.
  • At one point, the movie says – “no unnecessary kill”. And they save just the guy who proves to be quite necessary! Good does prevail!
  • In the old movies, the main character has (some) hair. It’s a modern look to have little to no hair. I like the way the movie makes the transition.
  • I liked the desert impact on the movie – storm, people with less clothing, the oasis.
  • The way in which Mad Max get rids of his mask reminded me of Django Unchained.
  • The main good guy (Mad Max) and bad guy (Immortan Joe) had a mask on their face. If this would have been the first movie with this idea, it would have been nice. In the current state, it’s a little too little, too late.
  • I really liked the way Mad Max was presented as solitary:
    • He doesn’t trust the team of girls.
    • He doesn’t want to take the girls with them.
    • He doesn’t want to stop and return for a missing person.
    • He tends to listen to no advice.
  • We have a saying in Romanian, “the dogs are barking, the caravan keeps going”. The vehicle Mad Max drove was so big, it didn’t matter what the others were doing.
  • In one of the previous movies, the most valuable thing for the bad guys was the oil. In this one, it’s the women. They are treated as objects, but, still, it’s nice to see that people are in the center, not the oil.
  • (see later edit, at the bottom of this blog post!) There’s a lot of action in the movie, and I mean a lot, but little suspense. There are not too many times in which you have suspense (see a video on this matter »; later edit – it appears that the author of the video would contradict me »). Very rarely do the good guys are put in difficulties by the bad guys. And almost never is this difference kept for a long enough time to justify suspense.
  • I liked that there’s a big pause after the middle of the movie, in which little things happen. You need a break after you see lots of action.
  • After the Dark Knight scene with the pencil magic trick », using a bullet (no gun, just a bullet) with your hand to hurt someone is not so magical after all.
  • The costumes are just great. Also, the music is good, and, visually, it all looks nice.
  • At times, the movie exaggerates a bit. For example, when they fly through the air using some big sticks (they present this as a good strategy for attacking, which isn’t, and they make it look incredibly safe, which isn’t). It’s a nice touch, though.
  • I liked the fact that, unlike movies where you go from A to B, in this movie they go from A to B, only to discover that, at this point, it’s better to go to a safer A, rather than focus on finding a hypothetical C.
  • The movie is not too “let me think about it”. “Look, I’m the bad guy (Immortan Joe), I have a mask with death, I’m fat & ugly”. Not too much thinking into this, it’s right in your face.
  • See any similarity between “What a lovely day!” (said in the middle of the storm) and “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!“?
  • It’s a very cool movie! Bad ass!
  • The biggest complaint I have with the movie is not about action, actors, script, or anything else. It’s about having a soul. Just like most movies by Christopher Nolan, this movie, also, has no soul. The main hero has some internal fights with his past. They are ignored, or just mentioned (he says he needs redemption, but that’s it). There’s little to no romance between characters. The good guy wants to live, but, despite his actions (he fights a lot), he doesn’t let this be seen too much. When he sees some almost naked ladies with water on them, and then he shares a cab with them he has little to no reaction to them. Incredibly hot girls, long ride, nothing happens (being mad is no excuse). Even the lack of suspense (I talk about it in the current article) is an emotion which is lacking. There’s not lust for anything, for living, for pleasures, for ethics, for a goal, for nothing. “Look, I’m powerful, he seems to be saying, and I lived to see another day”. At the beginning of the movie, he eats a reptile. But he’s not fighting too much, he doesn’t care so much, he doesn’t have a lust for living. Not too sexy, in my opinion. The main character also has the big fault of not having any faults, he doesn’t seem vulnerable and human. Also, to decide that the good guy is good and the bad guy is bad, you need more than a mask, you need to see it through their actions. This doesn’t really happen. Other than that, just like in movies by Christopher Nolan, George Miller does a great job. Entertaining, nice script, good actors, good everything. One year passes, and all you remember is the action and graphics, but not too much the emotions you’ve had. Compare this with Quentin Tarantino, which gives you all the things above, and, still, manages to add lots of emotion to everything. And, also, he has suspense. As a conclusion, it’s still a good movie to watch, smart, good reviews and average grade on IMDb and so on.

mad-max-movie

I don’t recommend anyone to watch trailers, but if you want to see it, see below:

Also, notice the similarity between the song in the trailer and the theme of the song below?

Final note: please don’t understand by reading this review that I didn’t like the movie. I loved it! Great things. I’ll plan to see it again the future. I want to listen to the music. Very nice movie. It’s just that it could have been, at some points, better.

External review of the movie #1: it appears that quite a few of scenes without CGI, most of the scenes are actually real. A video on this »

Also in that movie, a nice thing – the girls are not just objects, they are involved in the movie. Nice thought!

External review of the movie #2: as the guy in this review says, I also want more. :)

External review of the movie #3:

michaelsharples96: “The stunt work is choreographed and directed to perfection, it is the most well crafted and stunning movie I’ve ever seen and will probably ever see, which is kind of the norm and what to expect with a George Miller movie. There’s explosions going off everywhere, cars blowing up left, right and center, people being killed and blown to shreds. But none of it is convoluted, it all streams together perfectly, you know what is happening, when it happens. The fact that pretty much 90% of this movie is all practical effects and all stunt work is mind blowing. The cars that explode, that’s happening. People bouncing from one side to the other on long poles at 60mph, picking people up and flying then back across, that’s going down, too. Too many blockbusters these days are filled with CGI. And even with limitless amounts of stuff you can do with all of that. NONE of it even is even comparable to the action in this movie. The crap that goes down here, other movies couldn’t even dream to aspire towards such a spectacle.” (source »)

External review of the movie #4:

nerdist.com: While Mad Max: Fury Road is essentially one long chase full of gorgeously shot and powerfully cut action scenes,  it’s also a darkly fascinating, bizarrely amusing, consistently twisted, and morally relevant movie that all but demands repeat viewings. This is simply an amazing piece of genre filmmaking, and, frankly speaking, 90% of the Hollywood action film community just got schooled by a 70-year-old veteran. All we ask is that you take notes. (source & more »)

External review of the movie #5: I really liked this review:

concreteplayground.com: The combined effect is ferocious and irresistible, encapsulating all that makes cinema a uniquely immersive and transportive experience. Miller has crafted something extraordinary here, a modern masterpiece that could very well redefine the action standard. (more »)

External review of the movie #6:

reelbob.com: A word of caution: The movie was adapted for 3-D after production was completed. I strongly suggest you see it in a standard 2-D format. (details »)

External review of the movie #8:

threemoviebuffs.com: What Gibson did bring to the part was a slightly more comic edge. Not that he wasn’t deadly serious in the action, but there was always, no matter how dark the situation, a slight twinkle in his eyes that marked a dark sense of humor. It was that extra spark of life that brought an ounce more charisma to the role. It’s why I do agree with Eric that while Hardy is very believable in the action scenes, he doesn’t bring anything particularly unique to the part of Max. (source & details »)

External review of the movie #9:

In case you missed it:

NewYorker.com: One of the Wives is called Toast the Knowing, and Nicholas Hoult has a blast as a renegade named Nux, who spray-paints his lips silver to supercharge the mood. His dream is to die with honor, “shiny and chrome,” like an exploding machine. (about this »)

As the War Rig growls through a gully, edged with crags of stone, Seale unveils the beauty within the peril, harking back not just to his own work on “The English Patient” but to that of Freddie Young on “Lawrence of Arabia,” in which a camel bore Peter O’Toole through a similar pass. Matched against the golden dirt of the desert is the sad nocturnal blue of a swamp, where scavengers prowl on stilts and where, in an extraordinary spectacle, Max wrestles with a lonely tree, just as Max von Sydow did in Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring.” No one knows if Miller’s film will endure, as David Lean’s and Bergman’s have done, but it must be said that, for better or worse, “Mad Max: Fury Road” gathers up all that we seem to crave, right now, from our movies, and yanks it to the limit. For anyone who denied that “Titus Andronicus” could ever be mashed up with “The Cannonball Run,” here is your answer, and we are only too happy to follow Nux as he cries, “What a lovely day!,” and accelerates into a whirlwind of fire. Enjoy the movie, but for God’s sake don’t drive home. (same link »)

Later edit, about suspense:

  • I think this is my biggest flaw of the review. The movie has suspense, it’s just that I tend to be much more used to movies these days. So, I take that back. Although you know that good will prevail, it’s not clear at all how this might happen.

Another later edit, about the wives:

  • I said earlier that it’s not OK that there’s no romance / erotic adventures in the movie. Actually, the main character is very solitary, and this fits the profile. I was wrong.

2015.05.30: Later edit:

  • I think I’ve watched the trailer about 5 times. It does have an emotion, yet a strange one – courage. Mad, risky, impossible courage. Try and see the movie from that perspective.

2015.05.30: A comment on Facebook by Ela Ilieși, saying that the movie is worth watching in 3d, even if just for the guitar scene. Also, the movie is very empowering for girls, at least:

Sugereaza cineva sa fie vazut in 2D dar si doar pentru scena cu chitara si tot as recomanda mai degraba 3D-ul. Si nu stiu pentru baieti, dar ca fata filmul te face sa te simti in stare de lucruri dupa ce o vezi pe Charlize.

2015.05.30: Later edit – after listening to the soundtrack, I can say it’s great! I looked at the biography of Tom Holkenborg / Junkie XL, and found out that he collaborated on some (important) movies with Hans Zimmer, who is (one of) the best current composer alive writing music for (action) movies. Quite a name! I’ll look more into it, it sounds good, so far.

2015.05.30: Very good interview and tips (George Miller says, at one point, something similar to the philosophy of Steve Jobs – it doesn’t matter if the viewers can’t actually view the special workshop they did for the wives to work as a team; he hopes that, even without seeing it directly, you will get a “feeling” by seeing the movie that work has been put so that they understand their roles and work as a team):

2015.05.31: CinemaSins Jeremy: “You need to view the movie a few times and let some time pass to really know about his impact on you »” (approximate quote)

2015.05.31: League of Super Critics: “The motivation in the movie are not stuff, but people ». Also, how will they be able to create a continuation, since this is so complete?” (approximate quote)

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