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Mad Max: Fury Road [XDBX Film Club 05]

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LimeGreenLegend

This month the film club is hitting the road, with the theme being road movies.  The winner, nominated by @Squirrel, is Mad Max: Fury Road.  This is a sequel/reboot of the legendary Australian film series, the fourth entry, and the first in thirty years.  It was written and directed by the creator of the original films, George Miller (Happy Feet, Happy Feet 2, Babe: Pig in the City) and stars Tom Hardy (Bronson, The Dark Knight Rises) as Max, replacing Mel Gibson in the role, and Charlize Theron (Monster, Prometheus) as Imperator Furiosa.

The plot sees Max helping Furiosa in her attempt to free the enslaved wives of tyrannical ruler of the wastes, Immortan Joe, which mostly involves driving cool looking post-apocalyptic vehicles covered in spikes that shoot fire.  The entire film is basically one huge car chase, and the action never lets up.

I saw this in the cinema when it was released, and it is still one of the best looking films I've seen on the big screen.  The way Miller directs the action sequences is perfect, and the way he presents the post-apocalyptic wastes to us is both beautiful and terrifying.  

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Oh, what a lovely day!

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Squirrel

I went to see this on the first date with my girlfriend so it does have a special meaning for me. Can’t believe it’s been four years though. 

 

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Squirrel

Looks like I'm kicking this one off. I've watched it a couple of times this week already :D

Mad Max Fury Road, a film that deserves to be watched in 7.1 surround sound to make the most of the Oscar winning sound mixing. It’s a film which takes traditional film writing methods and turns them on their head. It’s a fast paced action circus stage show and extreme motor sports event combined with jaw dropping special effects at high speed on 140km long set in the Namibian desert

Usually a film begins life as a script or book. This is then given further rewrites and fleshed out and the storyboarding process begins. Fury Road was different, director George Miller had a vision of an epic chase film in his head and then spent two years working on a 3,500 panel storyboard before writing the screenplay based on those sketches. It was co-written with an artist from the 2000ad comic book series This is why the film has a certain comic book feel, many of the shots look like they were lifted directly from a graphic novel.

The reverse script writing process wasn’t the only divergence when it comes to the typical action movie, in an industry dominated by CGI, Fury road actually went the other way with very limited CGI. It was mainly used to remove safety equipment and to change backgrounds.

If a shot could be done practically it was, all the vehicles were fully functional, the Doof Wagon complete with the electric guitar playing Doof Warrior was a real vehicle, the drums and guitar could be played and there definitely wasn’t anything fake about the fire it was spitting out. It didn’t need to be real as the guitar sounds were added after it just shows the length the producers went to make everything within the film as real as it could be. 90% of the crashes, stunts and explosions you see are practical effects, all the cars flipping over record numbers of times were genuine stunts, the pole cats swinging on the poles onto the trucks was all done for real, at 60mph.

This is a video of some of the shots without filters and other editing

 

 

For the film itself, it may be a Mad Max film but the film isn’t about Max, it’s about Furiosa and her bid to escape with Immortan Joes prize breeders. She’s been building up to this moment her whole life since being kidnapped as a child. She takes the opportunity to run towards the memory of her home.

Furiosa’s journey is actually a mirror, this is a both a literal mirror as the route they take beyond the green place and back to the citadel and a metaphoric mirror as Max helps Furiosa to reflect on who she is, a choice between carrying on into insanity or going back to fix what was broken. Instead of running away from her problems she turns back and faces them head on. She realises the world she wanted to escape to is actually the place she is running away from.

The films opening and closing scenes are also a reflection of each other. As the War rig is lowered from the citadel you can see the desperation of the survivors hanging on for life as Joe wastefully rations out the precious water, a stark contrast to the return of the wives when the mothers finally unleash the life giving fluid the people desperately need.

Although the movie has definitely has a strong female focus but you don’t feel like the film is trying to put any special emphasis on female strength and power, it’s one of the few recent films where they have the balance spot on when it comes to gender equality, it never feels forced. Furiosa takes the final shot with the rifle because she is a better shot. The heavily pregnant Angharad is never slowed down by her pregnancy because she’s grown up in a harsh world and only the strong survive. Even physical disabilities are no detriment to how well someone can perform their role in the cruel apocalyptic world. There’s a strong emphasis on mutual dependency, even though there is strong gender discrimination within the film. The men can’t survive without the mothers. It also does away with the need to have a romantic interest between the lead characters. In the end they have mutual respect and trust but that’s all they need from each other.

While it may not have some of the complex drama & script of your average Oscar winner it completely cleaned up in the technical and creative side of things, dialogue is certainly lacking in some points, this however was deliberate as George Miller wanted the film to be enjoyed in as many languages as possible with the minimal amount of translation, something inspired by Alfred Hitchcock used to do. It does mean it’s quite a simple film in terms of plot and missing some depth.

Personally, I love the little call backs to the previous Mad Max films like the little music box and boomerang, lots of references to the Road Warrior including many of the same props, cars and even some of the original stunt men. I strongly recommend watching the extras, the feature on the cars is worth watching on its own if you’re a petrol head.

 It’s definitely one of my favourite films and I don’t need much excuse to put it on and watch. If you can find it I also recommend the Black & Chrome version. It’s the same film but edited in black and white. For some reason, taking the colour from the film brings out the detail and you get to see it in a whole new light.

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djw180

I didn't think I was going to like this and I wasn't wrong. Pure action films are not my thing. I need decent dialogue and acting to keep me interested and this had very little of those. I read what Squirrel said about why there is so little dialogue, but it wasn't just the lack of dialogue it was how mundane it was when there was some. Apart from a brief bit in the middle where they meet the motorcycling grannies (whatever they were called) it was just one long action sequence, and no matter how well done that was it didn't keep my interest. I genuinely struggled to pay attention to the second half of the film. Had it not been for this film club I may well have turned it off. The guitarist and drummers made me think this would be a great 10 - 15 minute rock music video but a nearly 2 hour film is too much for me.

 

So it's 2/5 from me. Just not my sort of film at all. It's gets 2 rather than 1 because the action is very well done, but I want more than that.

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Fido_le_muet

I watched it a couple years ago. I won't be rewatching it as I don't really like the Mad Max Universe. 

I don't like the atmosphere and I couldn't care less about the characters. I don't find it particularly interesting. 

That's always been the cas with Mad Max films for me. Ever since the first one I didn't like it. I gave it another try when Fury Road was released but I still felt the same way. 

No review from me this month. I just don't like these movies. 

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Con

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

First let me say that I watched The Road Warrior many years ago and probably have watched it twice in my lifetime and really don't remember enough to even write an honest review of it because all I remember is the post-apocalyptic setting and Mel Gibson being a real badass like Han-Solo.

Okay on to Fury Road.... I watched it twice because the first time I fell asleep as soon as we meet the biker grannies...but that's because I had the Fire OG inserted instead of the Strawberry Cough :D , and had nothing to do with me finding it boring. But I cannot lie, during the first viewing, I did ask myself..."What is the point of this film? I have not learned a lot from the dialogue, who wanted this movie made, it's just like a long chase and I'm not caring about where we are going...". We then get to the grannies and I was lights out, Zzzzz....So the next day, I watched it fully from the start: 

The first reaction the film got out of me was the opening sequence...holy unholy fuck!!!! that sequence that leads to the Title was just the ride my adrenaline was looking for...I was ready to watch whatever was coming my way!! 

Of course the best thing for me without question  was the setting and art design, it was both beautiful and deadly but it also made me feel sick to think about what if my life ended up like that, on a dry barren land with no bodies of water and no vegetation, just sand. That would so suck. Maybe if i was born in that world but coming from this one, I feel bad for the apocalyptic peeps.

Anyhow, i will say that setting is why I immediately felt for Max (Tom Hardy) when he is captured, imagine how bad it would be to live there and even worse to be a prisoner in that desert world. I don't know why but I didnt like Hardy as Max for me he came across more as "Irritated Max" than "Mad Max", I saw him as a weakling from the start and when he breaks free and starts to escape, I just knew he was going to be caught and he was. From there we meet Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and instantly I could tell the movie was going to be about her, something about the way her character looked more alert than Max, I dont know, either way, Max is caught and then the film started to make me laugh because they hook Max up to the I.V. because his blood is universal, making him valuable, but then they uncomfortably mount him in front of the car leaving him vulnerable to death. I laughed so hard because to me it made no sense and then it did because im in this crazy fuck world and the film was telling me to expect anything and just go with it, so I did. Yeah it bothered me that a few moments were way too exaggerating like Max surviving some serious fucking collisions....i mean, wow, surely if shrapnel didnt hit you, the sand would have scraped you up on the falls-----but then we are shown the amazing fucking vehicles that are chasing our heroes and I forgot about those little details and just wanted to see what was coming next...sadly once we rescue the victoria secret girls and we have to listen to exposition, I felt a bit let down, I wanted some cracking dialogue but we get this awkward fight sequence and then Max drives off with the truck and we get a silly line from Furiosa along the lines of...."Listen to me if you want to live.", making me say, FUCK YEAH!!!  she now is going to figure out a way to rescue her and the victoria secret girls by maybe sabotaging one of the cars thats chasing them...but nope, it was all just a throwaway line as Furiosa knew all along that her truck Max had stolen would come to a halt due to the operating system in it, a better line could have been her turning to the vic girls and saying..."Don't worry, He wont get far with that brain."---that would have made it hilarious when the truck comes to a stop and Furiosa catches up with it and then tells Max why the truck stopped, but this leads me to one of the things I disliked most....Max! Most people like Hardy in the role but I dont like the way he portrays him and maybe its just me and my memories of Mel Gibson or the complimentary role he is giving to Furiosa, either way it just didnt work for me but that is not the filmmaker's fault or flaw. Another thing that left me a bit let down was the revelation about the Green Place and what basically turns into the longest U-Turn in movie history...i actually chuckled when I said to myself, "Well Furiosa, you didnt plan this out very well. Now you have to go back. lol." So i was finding it kind of silly, especially when Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) tells the people "Do not,my friends, get addicted to water..." ...lol... now im not sure if he says that because he was selling breast milk to the people making water like a drug cause while breast milk would be mostly water anyways, i'm guessing its the only way we would survive without water? I dont know, If this was explained in the film, I missed it. We cant help but be addicted to water, it was moments like this that made me wish they did not stop driving. lol. 

The strength of this film is the action and its pretty damn great...if you aren't concerned with storylines or dialogue or anything besides just wanting to see action...then you will cream your spinach watching this because the collisions and destruction are simply phenomenal!! Mainly because 80% of what you see is practical effects and very little CGI was used and the film benefits from this immensely and have to credit the filmmaker for keeping it as real as possible. 

So while I felt the story was a bit of a letdown and I didn't particularly like Hardy as Max (I expected more of that nostalgic Mad Max characterization), the film seemed to center more around Furiosa, and while watching it, it felt like one big rinse and repeat chase scene, i'm going to give this film a high score....here is why:

My biggest issues were with the simple chase story and felt the film was more about Furiosa...but this is EXACTLY what the filmmaker was aiming for...and while I have read (and dont share the same opinion) that the film is pro-feminist and all that victimized-incel bullshit, the fact is that no one is responsible for the story and film content more than George Miller, who the fuck is George Miller you ask? Well he is just the guy that created the entire Mad Max universe to begin with and is the only person responsible for the female centered story and pretty sure when the film was being written the #metoo movement was nowhere to be found so that tells you how much research the incels do before crying in public. George Miller wanted the film to be a long chase scene, that was his vision, and that is exactly what we got. He did not issue any apologies and made what he wanted to make, a Mad Max story that had Max fighting along someone just as "road warrior" as he. After reading and hearing the creator speak about this film, i had to put aside my annoyances and told myself, "well he told us what he wanted the film to be and it's exactly that and done superbly when considering his specific vision."  So as you can see, that covers both my big issues...its supposed to be a chase story and Furiosa is supposed to be Max's equal if not more...after all she does take that last critical shot, probably cause she was a better shooter, and hey, she does lay the weapon on Max to stabilize her shot. This also ties into the script, you see, I wanted some real good interesting dialogue and exposition, but I felt I got got poor versions of both instead, and then I learned that they didnt even use a conventional script and instead storyboards!!!! Holy unholy shit....that blew my mind in every direction!! All that action and no script!!! The ACTION IS THE DIALOGUE!!!!!! THE ACTION IS THE DIALOGUE!!!!

So knowing that the story I just I watched wasn't some mistake or some clueless direction or studio interference, the film takes on another life for me and what was set out to do, it does so richly, as every chase sequence and action filled-mayhem moment is done superbly with amazing production design value. I can see why viewers that dont get into the behind the scenes of filmmaking and just wants a creative dialogue led film, were let down....I was let down at first too but that was because I wanted it to be well written and what we get is a visually well-told story instead...I mean, every scene with those vehicles made me want to log in to GTAV and do some Arena Wars!!!! I was inspired!!!!  When I took out the conventional, inside the box, filmmaking expectations I usually apply when watching a film, and began watching the film through the vision of the creator (he just wanted to make a bad ass non-stop action chase film), I had to really applaud the skill and mastery of this film. Besides the film being shot beautifully, there is no denying that the action scenes are tremendous and when you consider all the moving parts on the vehicles and costumes, it really is an amazing feat. While watching it, I had no idea, most of what I was watching was practical, especially not the cars, but 95% of what you see on the cars is real and functional. In today's CGI-heavy laziness, it was cool to learn just how much was real in this film. I will say that I found some scenes to be really comic-bookish like the scene with the Bullet Farmer (Richard Carter), he calls himself the Conductor of the Choir of Death, but I was like, "No dude, you blind. You now have to rely on hearing and you are riding on a loud fucking car." lol. So yeah, some hits and misses for me but the hits were big so....

My final verdict is 4/5....but I have to first tell you that the movie uses action for dialogue and what you see will be more important than what you hear. This is a chase film set in the Mad Max universe and if that is what you want to see, then you are going to love it!! It is action-filled baby!! Emphasis on the action!!! Best way I can put this is, there are action movies and then there is Mad Max: Fury Road. As a fan of the technicalities of filmmaking, I really appreciated this once I found it's meaning. Sure I would still have wanted better dialogue and interesting exposition about the world we see and the people, but this was not a "Road Movie" it's a "Chase Movie" and you gotta either roll with it, find value in it, or dislike it. Either way, you wouldn't be wrong. I found some more behind the scenes videos on the making of Fury Road and will watch them and probably end up rewatching the movie and looking for those behind the scene elements, plus there is so much to see in those action sequences that I'm sure I'll see something cool I missed the second time. So for what this movie is intended to be, it almost gets a perfect score from me because if there is a movie like this one, I can't remember it being better crafted than this, as far as how beautifully and incredibly intense the action is done. 

In short:

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The Action: Death Metal

The Visuals: Heavy Metal

The Story: Hard Rock

The Dialogue: Country

Edited by Con
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Con
On 6/23/2019 at 4:58 AM, djw180 said:

I didn't think I was going to like this and I wasn't wrong. Pure action films are not my thing. I need decent dialogue and acting to keep me interested and this had very little of those. I read what Squirrel said about why there is so little dialogue, but it wasn't just the lack of dialogue it was how mundane it was when there was some. Apart from a brief bit in the middle where they meet the motorcycling grannies (whatever they were called) it was just one long action sequence, and no matter how well done that was it didn't keep my interest. I genuinely struggled to pay attention to the second half of the film. Had it not been for this film club I may well have turned it off. The guitarist and drummers made me think this would be a great 10 - 15 minute rock music video but a nearly 2 hour film is too much for me.

So it's 2/5 from me. Just not my sort of film at all. It's gets 2 rather than 1 because the action is very well done, but I want more than that.

 You are not wrong. As I said in my film report, during my first attempt, I did ask..."What is this about and who?". That's because when you show me so much cool stuff, I wanna know more and instead we go through one more chase catch-up encounter. I probably would have given this a "3/5" in a pre-internet era since I would not have been able to read about the director's vision and trust me, i don't expect most people to care about his vision, you wanted to be entertained by every element and were not. I think not having a standard script was not wise and we get moments like when one of the wives discovers Nux is a stowaway and we get that moment of romance, or whatever that was...that dude is trying to capture you and take you back from what you are running away. Just felt out of place and a tense moment would have played out better in my opinion. I do give them credit for killing one of the wives. Didn't see that coming. I don't think enough  is really established about the wives and their suffering for me to invest in their escape, but I guess smuggling a baby has been overdone. 

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LimeGreenLegend

mad max i love the crow people GIF

The first thing we get from this movie is the sound of an engine revving and narration from Max, "my world is fire and blood", which sets the tone of the film and the screen is still blank! I noticed that Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron both have top billing, they were placed diagonally so one name would be first when read top to bottom, and the other name first when read left to right (which was first done for Paul Newman and Steve McQueen on the poster for The Towering Inferno).  I don't think this is an ego or contractual thing from the actors in this case, but George Miller showing us that there are two main characters, not just Max.  Then we see Max stood by his iconic car looking out over the empty wasteland in near silence.  This is a real calm before the storm moment and builds up anticipation for the action to come.  The colours in this shot are amazing, like the contrast on reality has been turned up a notch; the yellows and blues are so bright, despite this being a dying world.  @Squirrel mentioned the black and white version of the film, which is gorgeous looking, but I definitely prefer the colour version.  

There's a quick bit of backstory, but not much time is wasted on it because we really don't need to know who Max is or where he came from.  That is all shown through his actions in the film.  We also see why he's called Mad Max here.  He hears voices in his head, clearly haunted by his past, and when we see his face his hair is long and matted and he has what looks like years worth of beard growth; this is a guy who has gone feral and abandoned whatever's left of society.  He's being pursued so he gets in his car and drives off, while the camera stays where it is, and there's a fantastic moment of silence between Max leaving and his pursuers roaring into frame.  This shows that there is nothing else out here, no animals, no people, no life.  This first chase sets the style for all of the others, lots of wide shots and long takes, so you can really take in the spectacle.  When the crashes happen they are brutal and you can really feel the impact.

Max is taken to the citadel where he is tattooed with his blood type.  Not only is this going to be important at the end of the film, but it shows us that here people are just a commodity to be used.  He has also been shaved and muzzled, again showing us that he's feral, dangerous like a wild animal.  He breaks loose and we get a foot chase as intense and epic as the car chase a few minutes prior.  The tunnels are dark and tight with lots of blind corners, totally different to the bright open desert.  He makes it to a door and when it opens we get a great shot of the gigantic canyon it leads to, again contrasting with the tunnels.  His desperation to escape is shown when he makes an almost suicidal leap to a hook, but he is dragged back, with a great visual of all of these hands pulling him back into the tunnel.  The music here was really fitting, all deep booming bass, full of dread.  

We're now introduced to Furiosa.  The first this we see of her is the brand on the back of the neck.  Like the tattoos showing Max's blood type, this shows us that she is somebody's property, she isn't here willingly.  Then we see her prosthetic arm, and we wonder how that happened.  Before or after she was taken and branded?  Maybe it was a punishment.  We see these things before we see her face, so they are important and need to be noted, and if you think about them you can get so much backstory from it.  Now it's time to meet the antagonist, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).  His body is covered in sores and tumours, dying just like the planet.  He is helped into a breathing apparatus, which is modelled to look like armour, with an intimidating face mask, a false front of strength to hide his weakness.

There's an awesome sense of scale between Joe, high up in the canyon, and all of the people at the bottom.  This is something this film does really well, everything looks huge and epic.  We see here how he is worshipped like a god, all of the people holding their arms up to him, praying for a gift.  He releases water, which crashes down the side of the canyon accompanied by a gorgeous swell of music, and we see the masses trying to gather as much water as they can, before it is cut off, the music cutting off with it.  He then hypocritically tells them "do not become addicted to water...you will resent its absence".  While all of this commotion and ceremony is happening we see Furiosa, sat in the war rig, watching calmly with no expression.  She takes no part in any of it, showing us that she isn't a part of this community, hinting at what she's about to do.

She sets off with a convoy to deliver something somewhere, not important.  Some great low angle shots make the convoy look huge and intimidating.  There are close ups of Furiosa's eyes looking alert, the music really adding to the tension.  There's a momentary nervous look on her face when she takes the rig off road, real subtle but effective.  Her crew call her "boss" and don't question her reasoning, which shows her place in society, despite being branded.  She's probably been there for years, working her way up, waiting for the perfect moment.  

Back in the citadel we're in a milking room, where a load of lactating women are pumping milk into jars, again showing how Joe keeps his people like possessions, in this case a herd of cattle.  One of Joe's sons, Rictus (Nathan Jones) takes a nice big swig of freshly pumped milk, and that kinda made me gag a little.  Up near the top of the canyon we see Joe has a telescope manned at all times, like an all-seeing eye, reinforcing the illusion of him being a god that knows all.  They see Furiosa change direction and immediately Joe knows something is wrong, as if she has attempted this kind of thing before.  He walks deep into his home, where we see he has greenhouses full of lush greenery, kept away from the populous.  He has also been keeping his wives down here, locked away, waiting to be fertilised.  Again, Joe using people like commodities.  But today he finds them gone, and I think it's the act of free will that angers him the most.

The music matches the mood here as primal war drums start beating and there is a rush of activity as the war boys get ready for the chase.  The lighting inside the caves is a really cool blue, a real nice contrast to the harsh sun outside.  We see the war boys praying to V8, steepling their fingers to imitate the engine.  Their steering wheels are kept on a shrine when not in use and driving is shown to be almost a sacred act.  Between worshipping Joe and the V8 you can see that these are a people who are looking for meaning and something to follow in this mad world.

We now get to see their war convoy and it really is a thing to behold.  We're treated to a real nice long crane shot to take it all in, the highlight being the doof wagon, a huge stack of amps on wheels that actually works!  Miller has gone full over the top with this film, but it's so well done that you can't help but be impressed.  In the convoy we get an idea of how much Joe means to Nux (Nicholas Hoult) when he gets all excited and pumped up just from a glance, shouting "he looked at me!" like it was a blessing.

Then there's a gorgeous shot from a helicopter following the convoy from afar while flares explode in the foreground in vibrant red and yellow, my favourite shot of the whole film.  The convoy is attacked by a gang of spiky cars, and i appreciate how the different gangs have distinct cars.  There's a huge car battle here and it's shot and edited better than any action film I can think of in the last 20 years.  You never get confused as to what's happening, or where you are, and you're given enough time to enjoy all of the incredible practical effects.  There's no music in this scene, which accentuates every impact, and watching it again there seems to be an actual rhythm to the crashes. 

Joe's convoy catches up with Furiosa and there's this great moment where the music from the doof wagon fades in and out as it gets close and then further away from the camera.  We then get the kamikaze "witness me" line.  There's not much to this script, but Miller can really set the tone with what he did write, and the war boys calling for witness before sacrifying themselves is a real nice touch.  The score starts to come in here, but it's never overbearing.  The sound of the cars and the crashes are the main event sound-wise.  I did notice one melody that repeated over and over at particularly tense moments, adding to the mood.  This melody shows up later on in similarly extreme situations.  

We then see a huge sandstorm, absolutely massive.  The sense of scale here was intimidating just to see on my tv!  This also gives Furiosa a natural threat to deal with, along with Joe snapping at her heels.  Inside the storm is visually incredible, dark with intense flashes of blue and red from lightning and explosions, and the music has ramped up to keep up with the visuals.  We also get another iconic line from Nux, "oh what a day! What a lovely day!".  Like I said earlier, there's not much to the script, but Miller has a great ear for a catchy line.  The scene ends with Nux and Max's car crashing, their bodies thrown violently from it, as the camera tracks into a flare which fades out to black, mirroring his loss of consciousness.

toast the knowing mad max fury road GIF

There follows a great shot of what looks like a mountain, but turns out to be Max covered in sand from the storm, playing with scale and expectations in a nice way.  We're then shown his ruthlessness as he is willing to blow off Nux's hand to unshackle himself.  Luckily for Nux the gun misfires.  He drags Nux through the desert until they come upon the wives bathing, which is shot like a mirage.  Max looks as if he can't believe his eyes.  We again see how Joe keeps these women as possessions as they all have chastity belts on, which they are symbolically cutting off.

Like most of this film there is little dialogue, and Max does most of his communicating here by grunting and pointing, which makes sense as he's been on his own for god knows how long.  He and Furiosa get into a real brutal fist fight, during which Furiosa shows that she is as ruthless as Max by trying to shoot him.  He eventually wins, and steals the rig, but it has a trick switch and won't go without her.  The final straw, however, the thing that convinces him to take them with him, is her asking him "you want that thing off your face?" to which he gives this look of "more than anything in the world", which made me chuckle.

They find themselves at a canyon which they have to go through, Furiosa having already made a deal, which shows that she's been planning this for a long time.  More deep foreboding bass, as they are now being pursued by the Gastown Boys and the Bullet Farmers.  I love how just the names of these factions conjures up a whole world that feels fleshed out.  Driving through the canyon we see Furiosa checking her hidden knife in the gearstick, and because that shot is made so prominent we just know that it's soon going to be used, adding to the tension in the scene.  This tension breaks when Max gets his muzzle off, representing his relief and sense of freedom.

We see the bikers who occupy this canyon high up, watching the rig, like animals stalking their prey.  The music starts pulsing like a heartbeat, and Furiosa greases up her eyes to reduce the glare from the sun, she knows she needs to be ready.  They roll past old burnt out wrecks which litter the canyon like corpses picked clean.  When Furiosa shuts off the engine to get out and talk to the leader of the bikers there is a deathly silence.  The tension is broken by one of the wives water breaking, which gives life to the next action sequence, with incredible shots of bikes jumping over the rig, the same repeated melody from earlier popping up again to remind us of the excitement we felt the last time we heard it.  As Joe and his convoy give chase we see Max and Furiosa working as a team, reloading weapons for each other like they've been doing it for years.  They're like two peas from the same pod. 

I really like the variety in the vehicles, every single car in the convoy is unique and distinct from the next, and you can imagine the drivers all customising their vehicles to try to please Joe.  At this point Nux is given a mission from Joe himself, which must be like being given a mission from god.  However, when he trips and fails he sees his god declare him "mediocre", which must be heartbreaking, to be told by your own god that you're not worthy.  The scene reaches its climax when the pregnant wife falls from the rig and under its wheels, killing her.  Joe actually shows some compassion here, steering his monster truck out of the way of her body and flipping it in the process, but to me I think he just cares about the baby, because that's a part of him, so it was selfish in the end.  As he grieves with her body in his arms his screams are mixed with gunfire, showing how violent his grief is, and how violent his retribution will be.

Getting through the canyon, Furiosa and the gang are in a wide open desert, which brings relief, as you can see that there are no threats around, but the emptiness also reflects the grief of the wives.  One of them wants to go back, saying "he'll forgive us", because that's what gods do.  In the back of the rig the redheaded wife finds Nux, who has been hiding, and they share their loss.  They have both lost their god, the wife running away, and Nux being cast out, and that brings them together in what's probably their first real connection with another person.

There's a beautiful night shot next, reflecting the dark mood of the group at this, their lowest point so far.  Everything is a deep inky blue except for a warm orange glow from a lamp, which the wives are holding onto closely like the last bit of hope in the world.  Back with Joe's party, I liked how the music here is diegetic, meaning that it's music in the film that the characters can hear, in this case the doof wagon guitarist.  We also get the birthing scene, where the baby is cut from its mother and, even though it is also dead, it is celebrated as being "perfect in every way" because it didn't have any mutations.  This just shows how polluted and fucked up the planet is when a dead baby is cause for celebration because it didn't have three arms.  

Back with the rig, which is stuck in the mud, in the dark, and the fog, Max and Furiosa hear the bullet farmers getting close.  Max goes to take a shot, but they're low on ammo and he knows that Furiosa is a better shot, so he lets her take it, using his shoulder to keep the gun steady, another show of teamwork.  The bullet farmer leader is blinded and the film goes full old testament biblical, as he blindfolds his bleeding eye holes and proclaims himself "the scales of justice" while giving an epic speech.  This is all incredibly over the top, but in this world it's totally believable because most things are.  Using a winch, the rig crew destroy the only tree for a thousand miles to get out of the mud, with Nux excited to be driving the rig.  Max then goes into the fog alone to "retaliate first", which is just to show he's a badass. 

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While they wait, we see Nux tenderly pouring water into the engine, showing real love and compassion, which I thought was sweet, he's not just a mindless war boy.  Then there are far off explosions, and a flock of crows flies past, an ominous sign.  Slowly, a figure emerges from the fog, of course it's Max.  There wasn't really much tension here, because we knew he'd be coming back, if something was going to happen to him, his leaving would have been given more importance.  We then get the old cliche, where he's covered in blood, but don't worry, "it's not his blood".  This line kinda makes me roll my eyes whenever I hear it, in any film, not just here.  

The film then cuts to a real surreal image of creatures on stilts creeping through a swampy bog, dead trees scattering the landscape.  This slowly fades to black, before cutting to Max asleep, giving the whole scene a dreamlike feel, like it didn't really happen.  There's then another great shot showing us how vast the desert is, as the rig looks like an ant crawling over endless sand dunes.  In the rig Max and Furiosa are talking, and he says "they're (the wives) are looking for hope.  You're looking for redemption".  Redemption for what?  Has she tried this before and gotten people hurt, or killed?  Again, I like how they sow these little seeds of backstory and world building and then let you fill in the blanks.  

They come across a naked woman suspended in a cage high above the sand, and Max says "that's bait", which I only mention because it's turned into a great meme, always enjoy seeing that in Twitter threads.  

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The woman slides down the rope, which must have hurt, and runs up to Furiosa.  "This is our Furiosa".  Loads of women then emerge from the dunes, what's left of Furiosa's old tribe.  She reveals that it's been 7000 days since she was taken and her mother died on the third day, so she has been alone for most of her life.  They all embrace the wives, marvelling at their youth, as the Many Mothers are all older, dying out, like everything else on the planet.  They then reveal that the "green place", the place Furiosa has been running to, is gone.  The surreal swamp is all that's left, the water poisoned.  Again, everything is dying.  This is it for Furiosa, her lowest point.  She just plain gives up, casting off her arm.  She doesn't need it anymore, no point in running, no point in fighting.  She drops to her knees and there is a gorgeous shot of her just screaming.  This fades to black, before cutting to a dark blue night, lighting to match the low mood in camp.

The mothers are telling the wives about the old world, telling them about the satellites they can see streaking over the sky.  It's not much, but again, it's a nice bit of world building.  We also see the oldest mother's bag which is full of seeds.  She's asked what for and says "trees, flowers, fruit, hope" which I thought was a great line, and a nice symbol for hope.  Even in a world like this, she carries around these seeds because she believes that one day she will plant them.  Max is talking to Furiosa, and though she has clearly given up she has vowed to keep going, for the sake of the wives.  Max tells her that he's going his own way, and then says "hope is a mistake.  If you can't fix what's broken, you'll go insane", which is the whole turning point for the film.  He's clearly talking about himself, but it also applies to Furiosa, she can either keep running and go mad in a mad world, or go back, face Joe and try to fix what's broken.  

Max is plagued by visions in the night, visions which point after Furiosa.  He has to go back and help her, help fix what's broken.  He catches up to them and shows Furiosa a map, "this is your way home".  Furiosa understands, she's going to fix what's broken.  She tells the mothers that there "green and water" there.  Nux says "feels like hope".  This turnaround in mood, from lowest point to hopeful optimism, is like the cliche it's always darkest before the dawn.  Back with Joe's convoy we see them all lazing around.  Joe is singing mournfully, the guitarist is swinging in a hammock, it's just chill all around.  Until they see the rig going back to the citadel, this causes a rush of activity.

In the rig we can see flares going up in the distance, they're being chased again.  One of the wives prays to "anyone that's listening", totally forsaking Joe as her god.  The convoy catches up, and there's a nice moment when Max sees his old car being used by the war boys, he looks properly pissed off and shouts at them "that's mine"!  Nux has to go to the outside of the truck to fix something, and he gives a "goodbye look" to the redhead, so you know he's going to die.  Two of the wives get knocked off their bike and press to the ground to avoid being hit by Joe's monster truck, but this relief is short lived as they are then run over by a different truck.  You need sacrifices in films, you never get to the finish line with everyone.  

I've said it a lot, but the scale in this film is really well shown, in this fight there are lots of long takes from helicopters so you really get a feel for how epic this is.  One of the war boys gets onto the rig and manages to stab the oldest mother, who immediately reaches for the bag of seeds for comfort.  For some reason during this Furiosa has to lean out of the window to hold on to Max who is inches away from being crushed, but she is stabbed in the side with her own knife.  She's such a badass that this doesn't make her let go, she holds on until Nux fixes the engine, which means she can let go for some reason.  Max is then grabbed by one of the pole guys, and there's an incredible shot of him swinging across the frame in front of a huge explosion, totally stunning action.  It may sound confusing reading it here, but I'm missing a lot of the beats out, just trust when I say that these action scenes are some of the best ever committed to film.

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During this whole scene, whenever we get close enough to the doof wagon to hear the music it always matches the score, which is such a nice touch, and the connection between the film world, and our world makes you feel like you're more engrossed in the film.  Eventually the main characters meet their final bosses, Max and Rictus fighting on the war rig, and Furiosa clambering her way on to Joe's truck.  The fight between Max and Rictus is edited so that every hit matches the music, keeping the rhythm of the film going.  The score is also very drum heavy at this point, adding to every impact.

Furiosa makes it to Joe's window and shouts "remember me" indicating that something bad happened between them before.  She grabs his mouthpiece and jams it in the axle of his truck ripping his guts out of his mouth!  Pretty brutal but it feels well deserved, for both Joe and Furiosa.  They all start transferring over to Joe's truck, as the rig is fucked, one of the wives taking the seed bag, taking hope with them.  When only Nux is left on the rig Rictus jumps up out of nowhere and rips the engine out with his bare hands!  Nux has to slow down, because he doesn't want Rictus getting to the wives, so he gives a final "witness me" before flipping the truck, killing them both.  That truck flip is insane, some mad bastard actually did that for real!  The only thing that lets it down is the dodgy looking cgi steering wheel that comes straight at the camera, a real cheap trick just for the people who went to see it in 3d and looks crap on a flat screen. 

It's sunset now, showing us that the film is nearly over, their journey is nearly over, and Furiosa's life is nearly over; she's dying from her stab wound.  Max remains calm, says to her "I am so sorry" (great delivery on that line) and stabs her to save her by letting air in or out of something, I can't remember.  Max then gives her his blood, as he is a universal doner, as mentioned at the start of the film.  The fact that Furiosa is the one most beaten up also reinforces that she is the main character of this film.  The hero is always the one who's most fucked up at the end of the film.  Max then tells her his name, "my name is Max".  It may seem funny that they spent all this time together without knowing that he's called Max, but up until now they've been in a survival situation and names aren't important.  Their fight is over now, so they have time to get to know each other.  

Back in the citadel we see the same ceremony and commotion that happened at the start of the film, drums, people swarming the car.  There's a huge anticipation in the air.  When the body of Joe is revealed there is a huge celebration, the people rise up!  They chant for Furiosa, "let her up, let her up", telling Joe's family who are still there that their time is done, she's in charge now.  She has the chance to fix what's broken.  As she rises up on the lift with the wives and the mothers the pull people up with them, rather than try to beat them off like at the start of the film.  She also freely releases the water, a real sign that things are going to change.  The score here is in full triumphant mode, and it's fully deserved.  As Furiosa is lifted up we see Max walk off into the crowd with just a nod.  His journey isn't over yet.  

The film ends with the quote "Where must we go...we who wander this wasteland in search of our better selves?" - The First History Man, which is a fictional quote by Miller to underline the central themes of the film, a quest to regain humanity and be our best selves.  

This film is a thrill ride.  From start to end it hardly lets up for a moment, and there is a lot more to the story than you can see at a surface level.  Like @Con said, for the most part the action is the dialogue, not just in the chase scenes, or in the fight scenes, but also in just how Max acts.  It's also one of the most beautifully shot and edited action films ever, I would highly recommend this film to everyone, if just for the spectacle.  I don't know if there'll be another Mad Max film, but if there is I'm there day one.

A not at all mediocre 9/10

mad max fury road GIF

Edited by LimeGreenLegend
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Spinnaker1981

I don´t know why, but this movie doesn´t resonate with me majorly! It is well done, it is a good movie and enjoyable, but I don´t feel attached to it, neither have I ever felt that with the old Mad Max´s movies.

I am a huge fan of the game though! I fell in love with it since the first time I played it and I feel it is one of the best games ever made for PS4! Still it wasn´t very well received so maybe its just me being my weird self!

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