Tonight it was time to watch the 2nd of the eight Best Pictute nominated films. I chose Mad Max: Fury Road. I was a fan of the original Mad Max trilogy, featuring a young Mel Gibson, that released 1980-1985, and I looked forward to checking out this reboot.
Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee, Hugh Keays-Byrne and Nicholas Hoult. This action packed adventure film was written and directed by George Miller. It has a 2 hour run time and carries an R rating for intense sequences of violence.
Mad Max was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and in technical categories such as sound, editing, make up and costuming. Although it didn’t win for Best Picture or Best Director, it garnered six wins.
Years after the apocalypse, a tyrant called Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne) rules the wasteland, building and maintaining his motley empire with ruthless rules and slave labor. One of his warriors, Imperator Furiosa (Theron), makes off with Joe’s wives (Huntington-Whiteley, Kravitz, Kepugh, Eatin and Lee). The young women are used as breeding stock, and Furiosa seeks to liberate them.
Furiosa flees toward her childhood home, called the Green Lands, with Joe and his War Boys in pursuit. She forms an uneasy alliance with Max (Hardy), who has just escaped from Joe’s Citadel, and a young War Boy (Hoult) who inadvertently finds himself switching allegiances.
It’s a mad, intense, perilous chase across desolate lands, with Max and his group maneuvering in a massive War Rig that needs frequent mechanical adjustments. They encounter deadly storms and pockets of survivors scrabbling to live, while their relentless pursuers gain on them.
This was a wild and fun two hours of movie viewing! I wondered how this version of Mad Max would live up to the original…and it certainly did. In my opinion, it’s a difficult task for any actor to top the brooding, manical performance of a 1980s Gibson. But Hardy gives a great performance as well, relying primarily on facial expressions and well timed grunts and groans. He plays Max as a man of action, with few words.
The real hero of this story is Furiosa, played brilliantly by Theron. She perfected “the look” that can stop a truck or silence a War Boy. She has purpose, and a plan, fueled by the desire to get her charges to a safe place and return home. And I was pleasantly surprised that the five wives became so much more than eye candy, forming an effective female guerrilla band.
Having last watched The Martian, I found it interesting that both of these movies deal with survival. One man, alone, must use ingenuity to survive on a hostile planet. The other struggles to survive among hostile people on a planet that has become almost inhabitable. There are lessons to learn from both films.
After two hours of nonstop action, Mad Max: Fury Road ends nicely set up for a sequel. I look forward to the next adventure featuring Max Rockatansky. Let me catch my breath first!