WARNING: here there be spoilers.
Mad Max: Fury Road was amazing. I've seen this film twice in theaters and 4 times at home since it's digital release. The film is quickly moving into my top 10 favorite movies. It is not a mind-bending plot display but it is the best action movie I've seen.
The balance of fire, explosions, muscle cars, color, violence, music, and gore is masterful. Every character has a brain and acts appropriate to their motivations. The mix of digital and practical effects is spot on. Big explosions are real, clouds and distant mountain are digital, cars and people are real, compositing is done in a computer.
It's a movie not a novel. Show me don't tell me.
The story is a simple idea. There is a big truck going really fast one direction and a bunch of really angry dudes are trying to catch it. According to the behind the scenes footage the crew referred to it as "a chase & a race."
I find that when I watch this film the simple emotions are heightened because you are able to focus solely on the chase. The world is not in danger of annihilation by aliens, and you don't have seven different hero fight sequences to keep track of.
In a way the story is primal. My daughter is two years old. We play this little game when I'm walking behind her I say, "I'm gunna get you!" Then I stomp like a giant for few steps. You can watch the adrenaline shoot through her: eyes widen, fists clench, lips tighten, teeth grit. She sprints and squeals. The thrill of the chase is on. She begs for this game, this little rush.
Fury Road conjures this sensation perfectly.
I'm a little jaded from all the origin stories we have been handed by Hollywood lately. Fury Road flips contemporary exposition and backstory on its head. In Fury Road we don't need it. The world that George Miller (director) has built in Fury Road is like the cantina scene from Star Wars. We are given character after character that definitely has a story but it isn't told and that makes it so much more intriguing.
Every character is built by action not words. And it is refreshing to watch. Also how cool is the name Furiosa? I find myself just saying the name while I watch the film "Furee-Oh-saaa".
Very few lines of dialog are uttered in the film. We learn the story and characters by seeing.
We know Imperator Furiosa is a bad-ass because we watch her beat Max to the ground with one arm and a wrench and drive the massive War Rig.
We know Immorten Joe is powerful because we watch dozens of men sacrifice themselves in battle for him and see him command other local leaders to do his bidding.
We know know Max is resourceful and stubborn because we see him fight through one hopeless situation after the next.
At no point does a character rant on their intent to the audience like a bad Bond villain.
The beauty of this film to me is the focus on sensory experience, while building an amazing world an strong characters. You are being chased and you must get away. It has a happy ending but suffers few of the common Hollywood tropes.
The sense of speed is intense. The cuts are shot rapid fire, combined with very low frame rates, and percussive sound design. Fury Road is hypnotizing to watch and I love it.
I left the theater wanting to drive really fast, beat drums really loud, and throw a grenade. My wife said she felt the same.
If you are becoming obsessed with the production aspect of Fury Road like I have then you will enjoy these links.