MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Tom Hardy as MAX ROCKATANSKY
Charlize Theron as IMPERATOR FURIOSA
Nicholas Hoult as NUX
Hugh Keays-Byrne as IMMORTAN JOE
Josh Helman as SLIT
Nathan Jones as RICTUS ERECTUS
Zoë Kravitz as TOAST THE KNOWING
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as THE SPLENDED ANGHARAD
Riley Keough as CAPABLE
Abbey Lee as THE DAG
Courtney Eaton as CHEEDO THE FRAGILE
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: George Miller
BY KEVIN CARR
One of the biggest and freshest surprises of the summer of 2015 was the rebooting of George Miller’s “Mad Max” franchise. Like the many other franchise that have been given new life (both successfully and unsuccessfully), there was plenty of skepticism to be had before this was released, not the least of which was whether Tom Hardy would be able to take the reigns as Max Rockatansky from the legendary Mel Gibson.
When “Mad Max: Fury Road” was released in May, the critical world was stunned by its invigorating energy, explosive practical effects and balls-to-the-wall action sequences. It was one of the few movies released this year that benefited not just from seeing it in 3D but also from seeing it on the biggest screen possible.
Now, it’s available on DVD and Blu-ray, and while the scope of the film is reduced considerably in the home theater setting (which can only be said for a handful of movies nowadays, giving how impressive some home theaters are), it’s still worth another look.
The story follows Max (Hardy) traveling the wastelands. He is captured by a gang that is ruled by the warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), to be used as a blood donor for Immortan Joe’s army. However, when a woman known as Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) hijacks a fuel shipment, Max is dragged along by one of the warriors named Nux (Nicholas Hoult) to bring her back. Max and Nux then reluctantly team up with Furiosa to bring Immortan Joe’s escaped harem to freedom.
I may not have been as huge of a fan of “Mad Max: Fury Road” as some of the critics out there, but I certainly appreciate the movie for it’s powerful blend of action, practical effects and take-no-prisoners attitude. It is a glorious spectacle of high-octane grit and explosive fire. Many movies strive to be a non-stop action thrill-ride, and this is one of the few that actually achieve it.
There are a few moments where the movie simply has to switch to a lower gear just to let you catch your breath – particularly at the transition from the second to the third act. This moment can be pretty tedious, but fortunately it kicks off again with another 30-minute chase scene.
Finally, one of my personal favorite elements to this movie is the bonkers production design showing a completely insane level of fashion sense in the desert wasteland. From industrial overblown vehicle design to Immortan Joe’s bizarre chest plate and facemask to chrome-sprayed teeth awaiting afterlife in Valhalla, the look of this movie seriously raised the bar for a dynamic look to the apocalypse.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is the closest Miller (or anyone else for that matter) has come to capturing the sense of wonder, awe and energy that he did with “The Road Warrior” back in the early 80s. Using enhancements in effects and more than 30 years of refinement to stunt work, not to mention adding a sizzling digital color palate to the look of the film, Miller has delivered a rare sequel that lives up – and possibly exceeds – the other films in the franchise.
As I expect for many of the Warner Bros. Blu-ray releases, there’s a nice slate of featurettes on the Special Features menu. This amounts to about 90 minutes of extra content, examining different aspects of “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
First up is “Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road,” which is about 25 minutes long and gives a general overview of developing the film and how they went about filming it, including Mel Gibson passing the torch to Tom Hardy and how the crew tried to downplay (but not avoid by a long shot) CGI. “Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels” is a 22-minute featurette on the vehicles in the picture, which is a must-watch for the gear-head crowd who love these movies for the car chases and races.
“The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa” is a 12-minute featurette that looks at the relationship of the two main protagonists and how Furiosa’s character in particular was developed to be as strong as (if not stronger than) the title character. “The Tools of the Wasteland” is a shorter featurette that basically covers the production design and how they built a unique apocalyptic world.
“The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome” should put to rest the grand debate about how much of a feminist triumph this movie is. As dynamic and important as Furiosa is as a character, this featurette sidelines the rest of the women in the movies as nothing more than eye candy who spend most of the time giggling and talking about their clothes. This may have been just how the featurette was edited, but it came across as exactly what you’d expect a group of attractive, young supermodel types to sound like when asked to talk about themselves.
The special features wrap up with the short but explosive featurette “Fury Road: Crash & Smash” that assembles a reel of behind-the-scenes shots and raw footage to demonstrate all the practical effects and on-set action. There are also three deleted scenes included in the list.
Sadly, the much-rumored black-and-white cut of the film is not included on this disc.