Mad Max: Fury Road

It's been about two and a half hours since I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, and I'm still feeling a bit... pummeled.

This movie sets a new bar for an assault on the senses. It starts loud. It starts fast. And for the next two hours, it continues, almost unrelentingly, to be fast and to be loud. It relents so rarely to catch its breath that you never really relax, because essentially, once the opening chase sequence is complete, the movie is one long chase.

This is a confident fucking movie. How confident is it? It's a movie so confident that, for all practical intents and purposes, it leaves its title character a chained, nearly immobile captive for the first half hour. And it works. It's so confident that it teases you with at least one obvious beat and then deliberately shoves into your face that it's not going to happen, and the movie's better for it.

And it is visually stunning. This movie looks absolutely fucking amazing. Nothing looks like it. Even the previous Mad Max movies were like video test footage shot in someone's garage compared to Fury Road. And the look of things - the way things are built and the way they work and, in the case of the people, the way they act, not only impresses on its own but also does the heavy lifting in place of exposition and worldbuilding. You get a clear, surprisingly precise picture of the state of the world from all the background and foreground details.

I am not a rabid Mad Max guy. I couldn't tell you how this is supposed to fit with the other movies in the series, or how effectively it does that. If it's a reboot, it works as a reboot. If it's a new story down the line of the same character, that works too. Nobody goes out of their way to mention Thunderdome. THey have apparently gotten beyond it.

Tom Hardy makes an excellent Max, despite, or maybe because of, a spoken word count that maybe hits three digits sometime around the finale.

I will say, I did find the digital version of George Miller's choppy, frenetic editing style simultaneously offputting and effective. Frames are excised, speeds are varied slightly, and the whole thing keeps you on edge... if you assume it's intentional, because it looks a bit like shitty video playback in super high resolution. So while it was happening, I was a bit distracted by hoping this was how it's supposed to look.

It is not for the gentle or the faint of heart. There's very little gore, but like I said, it is a two hour pummeling of your eyes and ears, and if you're not up for that, you're not going to enjoy yourself. I'm serious. It makes Age of Ultron look like Age of Adeline.

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Time on the Fury Road

I went to the NZ premier last week and had a similar experience to yourself. I am not a "mad max" fan and I didn't particularly love the old movies. However, Fury Road totally blew me away. The premier was at the IMAX in Auckland (allegedly the 7th largest screen in existence). The sound system there is similarly apportioned and was, frankly, ludicrously loud.
With the massive screen and eardrum splitting audio, it could have easily been a painful experience. The amazing thing is, it wasn't. After watching it, I felt like i'd been on the high speed chase through the desert with Max et al and I'm convinced it was the damn-near perfect action movie.

Anyone thinking of seeing it, don't think; just go see it

Keith

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