“It was really entertaining, but it was fucking awful!”
I’ve been holding my tongue on Mad Max: Fury Road. Fellow The Unheard Nerd writer John and I met up on release day to check out George Miller’s epic re-energised Mad Max movie and our expectations were high. In the next Betamax & Laserdisc episode you’ll hear me state that I fully expect Fury Road to be my movie of the year. John rightly pointed out as we entered the cinema that I’d hastily written off Star Wars: The Force Awakens which will squeeze into the very tail end of the year, still… I had very high hopes for our next two hours of entertainment.
All signs pointed to positive as each and every teaser and trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road has simply served to make me even more impatient for its eventual big screen release. In almost every respect this movie lives up to the hype. It’s a sprawling mass of beautiful cinematography, packed with almost non-stop action and extremely clever visuals that bombard your senses in all the right ways. The crazy guitarist strapped to the top of a truck not only provides unexpected humour but also forms part of the pulsing soundtrack that serves to get your blood coursing as you witness stunts and spectacle the likes of which I’ve never seen presented so fluidly. And despite the vivid colour present in the movie in the desert backdrop, the bleakness of the hopeless situation the inhabitants of this world find themselves in comes across undiluted.
Tom Hardy channels his performance as Bane in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night trilogy for his portrayal of the titular character in a role which must have taken all of an afternoon to learn the dialogue for. Surprisingly the movie doesn’t fully revolve around Max in so much as the central story follows the plight of Charleze Theron in her role as Imperator Furiosa.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie much heralded for it’s rollercoaster ride of action. But you won’t see much critical acclaim for the actual plot. Such as it is, the loose theme that centres around the liberation of women held in slavery (forced to bear children in a desperate plight to produce a healthy successor for the movie’s ailing villain Immortan Joe) proves merely a catalyst for what is essentially a two hour car chase. A very impressive, exciting and entertaining car chase… but, boiled down to the crux of it, just that. Look past the very impressive gloss and you’ll start to notice some rather large leaps of faith that you are somehow tricked into willingly taking as the plot, such as it is, progresses.
With it’s cast of supermodels, insane action, staggering imagery and sheer uniqueness there’s no denying that Mad Max:Fury Road is aimed predominantly at a male audience which is why it perhaps took a woman to summarise the movie in one very simple sentence as John and I left the theatre; “It was really entertaining, but it was fucking awful!“. She’s not entirely wrong. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire two hours. Blown away by the spectacle I was witnessing on-screen and enjoyed myself immensely. But essentially, when you boil it down, the actual plot is incredibly weak and if it wasn’t presented so flawlessly, the film would fall flat on it’s arse.
John disagrees for what it’s worth.
Mad Max: Fury Road is in cinemas everywhere now.
A masterpiece or missing a piece? Let us know your thoughts and the best comments will be read out on the next episode of Betamax & Laserdisc, The TV and movie podcast from The Unheard Nerd.