thoughts on mad max (2015)

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I should start this “review” off by saying a few disclaimers, Tom Hardy is one of my favourite actors of all time. Not only that but I genuinely think that Tom Hardy is one of the best living actors of all time and no one can tell me different. So I will admit to being a little bit bias when I started watching this movie. I would also like to mention that I haven’t seen the first three Mad Max movies only based off my own disinterest and haven’t read the comic books. Another thing is that my grammar is beyond repair so I hope it doesn’t bother you too much to read. If you have any notable corrections about my grammar or the movie I would love to read them! Also, I would love to know if you agree or disagree with me in any way, I won’t apologize for insulting you if I do insult you, because they are my humble opinions. I didn’t go to school for reviewing films, I just have a lot of feelings. Now, without further ado, my review on Mad Max: Fury Road. I am bad at summaries especially for a movie of this magnitude. For those who don’t know, and most of you should, the Mad Max series is based in the post apocalyptic Australian desert. The main character Max Rockatanksy is a somber and quiet former MFP officer. In this movie we are also introduced to Imperator Furiosa and Immortan Joe who I will be talking about later. Basically Max gets into trouble with Joe’s War Boys and joins forces with Furiosa to save the five wives and leave Joe’s Citadel.

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Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the most exceptional movies of 2015. The cinematography was breathtaking and a stand alone reason why I adore this film. How the story was set up was easy to follow for someone who never heard of Mad Max prior to this movie. And the characters were brought to life with such excitement and action that this movie quickly became one of my favourites. The only thing that really bothered me about the film were some of the actors playing the wives and what they brought/took away from the film (something to discuss later) and a couple effects used (I will also talk about that later).

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To say that Mad Max was a “cinematographic” (?) masterpiece in my eyes would be a vast understatement. The way the camera played with the vehicles in the action scenes was very fun and the way they gave us beautiful shots of the desert was pleasing to watch as well. My favourite thing in film is when a movie with lots of action can also have scenes with less action and still keep up with the pace of the movie. I think that the cinematography really helped in the way that worked. I usually get dizzy watching action movies especially when they are done with vehicles but this one didn’t get me dizzy once. And since Fury Road is just one big glorified car chase, I give it double points for that one. The colours and tones were played with beautifully as well with my favourite scenes being the blue night scene where Nux had to pull the truck out with the tree, and when they passed “the green place.” Another scene I found beautiful was when the war rigs were speeding past the beautiful tornado in the sand storm. The imagery and colours matched the scene so well I couldn’t imagine the scene panning out in a different way.

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The story itself is memorable and beautiful and empowering to say the least. Everything about it had me saying “cool” every five seconds and I often find action movies predictable and boring. I’ll only bring gender into this one time but seeing a bunch of beautiful, strong, women take on a dictator like Immortan Joe is epic and will live in my heart forever. The genders could have even been reversed and I would still find this movie so powerful. The beginning chase scene was enough for me to call this movie a favourite. I could have watched Furiosa speed away from the terrifying war parties for 3 hours and be satisfied with that. Speaking of terrifying war parties, let’s talk characters and character development.

A huge favourite for me was the main antagonist himself, Mr. Immortan Joe. My idea of one of the scariest bad guys in any movie that I can think of off the top of my head right this second. Huge, long white hair, a nasty voice, cult leader charisma to match, and one of the only people in the Citadel that gets to breathe clean air, Immortan Joe is what I imagine to be the scariest enemy to face. The man who plays the antagonist, Hugh Keays-Byrne, is a Mad Max veteran of sorts having played the antagonist in the original Mad Max. His work as Immortan Joe is so impressive I can not put into words how many feelings I have for such a nasty character. Along with the acting the choice of costume and character design is what made Immortan Joe stand out unlike any other antagonist in the movies I have seen. I want to personally thank everyone who took part in making Joe who he is in Fury Road because that’s how much I loved him.

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Immortan Joe’s son Rictus Erectus also stood out to me while watching the film. He is the epitome of what a war boy is. Minus the health decay so many war boys suffer from because he of course is the Immortan’s son, Rictus Erectus still displays such horrifying enthusiasm to fight and die for his father’s cause. The reason Rictus stood out to me more than the others in the Immortan’s War Party is because of the scene with his unborn baby brother. The way that scene was acted and portrayed made you almost empathize for this 7 foot culturally impoverished man, who knows nothing more than war, waste, and not being good enough to be his father’s heir.

Going down the line of bad guys to good is Nux. Nicholas Hoult has been apart of my life, so to speak, since I started watching Skins in my 10th grade of school. Since then I have been unimpressed with most things Hoult has done. I didn’t like Warm Bodies, I don’t get X-Men, and Jack the Giant Slayer seemed very childish to me, so I wasn’t too excited to hear he was going to be in this movie but boy was I wrong to doubt him. Nicholas Hoult, in my opinion gave one of the best performances in this movie. He was the glue that stuck the action with the drama and he was truly the person I’m most excited to watch when I rewatch this film. The way he looked did not seem like an actor in makeup. He gave the most believable performance from his voice, to the way he walked, to the way he introduced his tumours to Capable. The most quotable character in the movie with “What a lovely day.” and “witness me..” Nux is easily one of the most likeable characters in the movie. That being said.. I thought the character development for his character was somehow off. I don’t know what it is but in a way it almost seemed when after Splendid Angharad died and he knew Immortan would be mad at him, he switched sides and threw all he knew out the war rig window. I might have missed something, some beautiful “I see the light” moment from Nux but to me it was a bit off and had me second guessing parts of the film for a bit until I just accepted it. That wasn’t enough to keep me from loving his character.

maxresdefault (1).jpg Next up, the incredible Imperator Furiosa. Played by Charlize Theron, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a crush on this extremely talented actress. Theron was the perfect pick for Furiosa and I could not have thought of a better person to do the job. Furiosa is such an inspiring part of the movie I felt proud to watch her throughout. Seeing a strong woman conquer a terrifying cult leader like Joe who happens to be my idea of horror was empowering to watch on the big screen. The way she led the five wives was a treat to watch. Her character design also struck a chord with me. An amputee and shaven goddess, she truly showed me I can be badass no matter what my condition is. An amazing part of the movie if not one of the best was Imperator Furiosa and how Charlize Theron played her. Not much to say about it, I was just really impressed and in love with her.

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Last but not least, Max Rockatansky himself. This will be short but sweet as I’ve already mentioned my affection toward Tom Hardy and his acting skills. At first Max reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant (another movie Tom Hardy killed it in). They are both sombre gentlemen, they have both lost their family, and they don’t say much. The difference I found between them, and don’t kill me, is that Tom Hardy can pull it off, and he did so in a likeable way. I know Leonardo’s character was never meant to be likeable at all and that is another review for another time, but I mean likeable as in I didn’t feel like I was staring at wall paper for three hours. Both beautiful films with action and heart and somehow Max Rockatansky stood out. The way Tom Hardy has the ability to play such a quiet man and still give him so much depth is a quality I love about Tom.

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Now not every character can be great in a movie, and certainly not every character can shine, but I would like to give an honourable mention to a character who saved the five wives from being absolute garbage to me. And that is Spendid Angharad played by Rosie Huntington-Whitely. I felt like Rosie just understood the kind of film she was in. It was inspiring to see her fling herself out of the war rig to protect the group and it was inspiring to see her know she may have to sacrifice herself for the others. She did an amazing job staying in the scenes and she didn’t take me out of the action.

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The same can not be said for most of the other wives. Going down the line from best to worst. Abbey Lee’s character, The Dag was very enjoyable to watch. It was nice seeing models stripped down and usually I don’t like model actors but Abbey Lee did a very good job of staying in the scene and knowing when to react and when not to. A good example was when she was interacting with the Vulvalini. It seemed like I was watching Dag talking about her baby bump to a group of women and not Abbey Lee acting as Dag talking about her baby bump to a group of women. Good job Abbey Lee, the two models won this one for me. As for the other three, in my opinion the worst part about the movie, other than the cheesy flash backs (we’ll get back to that later).

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Toast. Capable. And Fragile. Toast, the all knowing or whatever was more than unbearable to watch. I am always confused when Zoe Kravitz is cast to play a serious role like this. She has no emotion toward her roles and her lines are delivered with such bleh that she takes me out of the film entirely. And she had so many lines for a wife. The most lines I believe. Unbearable. Every time she said anything I found myself whispering under my breath “shut up..” I guess it was just the lines she was given or maybe she was having a bad day when she filmed but she was not good and almost ruined all the scenes that she was in. Next up is Capable played by Riley Keough, Nux’s “love” interest. And that’s all I know her as for good reason. To say that Nux (Hoult) held up all of Capable’s (Keough) performance is an understatement to end all understatements. If it wasn’t for Nicholas Hoult in this movie Capable’s part would not only be useless, it would be one of the worst performances in a movie I’ve seen. Just because  someone is Elvis Presley’s grandchild does not mean she should be anywhere near Hollywood or the big screen. Last and definitely least, Cheedo the Fragile. Courtney Eaton’s character was definitely not my favourite in Fury Road, her performance was so dry, boring, forced, and bad that she almost single handedly brought this bad ass group of women all the way down for me. Even though I didn’t like Toast and Capable at least they moved the story along and had things to say and do. Fragile was the worst wife in my opinion. Maybe she has more to contribute to the comic, and I’m not blaming Courtney fully for her performance if that’s the case, but with her material I definitely could have imagined a couple actresses who could have done the job a little better. And that’s that.

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Finally the last negative thing I have to say about this movie was the cheesy flashbacks to his dead son. I love cheese and I love the effects that were used in Mad Max: Fury Road but this one was too much. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the effect was a nod to the other 3 movies, like the speeding up effect used in some of the combat scenes. It does come down to preference of course and it didn’t ruin or take me out of the movie but I wanted something a little bit different when it came to those flash backs. Even though I wasn’t a fan of how they played out, Tom Hardy’s reaction to Max seeing those visions really made me warm up to them by the finish of the first act of the film.

To conclude this very long review, I love Mad Max: Fury Road. It continues to be one of my favourite movies from the first day I watched it and I will continue to go back to it for reference and pleasure. When the acting was good it was spectacular, and when it was bad it didn’t ruin the film entirely. The director, cast, and crew of this film are filled with talented people who I look forward to seeing in the future of film. I am giving this movie a 4.7/5.

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