Friday, May 15, 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road
I've been thinking a lot about 1981's Road Warrior because it's one of those movies that spawned an entire subgenre. Sure, there had been post-apocalyptic movies before, but nobody had yet bothered to make the apocalypse cool. It's hard to remember a time without the fantasy of the mohawked motorcycling bad guy in a costume both savage and salvage, but in 1980 there was no such person leaving endless dust trails across our collective subconscious.
So what, then, to expect from a new Mad Max? I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what we got. It was like George Miller took the dream his movie had become after stewing for 34 years and fed it back to us in a form we didn't know we could have. We've been to worlds built on the bones of the old worlds before, but the production design is infused with such balls-out lyricism you might as well be watching a movie called Every Heavy Metal Album Cover Ever.
Muscle cars with tank treads, porcupine cars, cars with giant buzzsaws -- this movie is like Ralph Steadman's childhood doodles come to life. The orchestral soundtrack is operatic in scope, giving the diesel-fueled adventure a hum of high fantasy, as if these pale, bald, cultish warriors are actually a band of orcs.
I think my cold math reckoned on a director sadly revisiting his most popular moments after he's directed movies about CG penguins, and failing. Instead George Miller reinvents his own spectacular invention. This is what Prometheus was supposed to feel like. Go see it.