Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

2015, George Miller (Mad Max, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet) -- cinema

OK, so now I understand why the MRA (men's right activists) / Red Pill subsets of trolls was so upset about this movie. Max (Tom Hardy) is the supporting character. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is the main character. In fact, in my head-canon, as Max never reveals his name until the very end of the movie, I envisioned all the marketing of this movie didn't reveal it was a Mad Max movie at all. We were all just thrilled to see a new post-apocalyptic movie starring Charlize. And as we watched trailer after trailer, we roared on the Internet as to how it was ripping off Mad Max: The Road Warrior. Then we get the reveal and all grin to ourselves.

Alas, in the real world, they have to bank on past success.

But it was not just Furiosa. Possibly the "coolest" (most effective, stylish and memorable) characters in the movie are a bunch of gun toting, motorcycle riding, old ladies, the Many Mothers. Leathery skinned, leather wearing and crack shots, these ladies set a counterpoint to the slaves that the first act of the movie is trying to "save". The rest of the characters are all foolhardy men running into bullets and front bumpers as they try and do what their groins (or their boss's groins) are telling them to do. They are driven (pun intended), the women are motivated.

But even if you put that win aside, this is still an incredible movie

The movie starts with Max standing beside his car monologuing. He is cracked, broken and running from the bad guys, as per usual. They easily take him down, shred his car and wrap him in chains and tattoos. Universal donor? This mountain fortress, an absolute marvel of visual presentation, runs on water and blood. Seriously, this whole world we are dropped into is excruciatingly beautiful looking, if po-ap props are beautiful to you. This is fantastical, gears and chains and steering wheels and fancy doodads decorating gear shifters. Costuming harkens back to the greatest era of po-ap, the late 80s, with white painted Warboys (I dare you to not sing Wild Boys by Duran Duran in your head), mud caked peasants (who apparently wear their homes on their backs) and leather bound muscle heads everywhere. Max is tossed into this world with one idea - escape. He just reacts, runs and reacts some more.

Max spends a good deal of the movie not-escaped, in restraints, unavoidably dragged into the plot of the movie. Imperator Furiosa, the general of Immortan Joe's army, has escaped with his wives. In a world of starving, mutating, inbred cretins, Joe's wives are supermodels, clad in white gauze and teeth laden chastity belts. Furiosa has taken them, finally breaking her own personal chains and is leading the girls to the Green Place. And that is it, one big chase scene.  Furiosa coops Max into her quest by convincing him that it matters.

Now, you have seen the trailers, so the first thing I asked Kent (who saw it before I did), was whether the movie was as super saturated as the trailers. It could have been a marketing ploy. But no, even dulled down by non-3D, it was bright ochre, scorching white and brown tones everywhere. It was just gorgeous, wide pans of horizons devoid of anything but thundering vehicles. And all those practical effects! Big, nasty cars modded like Ed Roth hot rod pictures! A massive vehicle stacked high with speakers and a leatherboy strapped into a harness playing guitar! White painted warboys spraying their mouths with chrome paint, before jumping to their "heroic" deaths and everlasting glory in Valhalla! Take these actual, physical examples of the world and tie them to a fantastically depicted world, and it was just breath taking.

Good movie.  #HappySigh

Shameful that so many of the movie's posters don't bring Theron to the forefront.