I should start this review with two disclaimers; I never really appreciated the previous Mad Max films; I don’t really appreciate this film either. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s a fine action film, but that’s just not really my genre. The movie had wonderful—no rather: brilliant—special effects and a very new and interesting action-movie-plot. The make-up and costumes were intriguing and awe-inspiring, and the action sequences were jaw-dropping. Everything was there for the movie to carve out its own little nook in my heart—but it didn’t—so why?
Let me go into detail about what I liked. I loved the characters, not so much Max and Furiosa, but rather the smaller characters such as Nux and Immortan Joe. I was rather occupied by these smaller characters because of the visuals; I mean these characters were very funky-looking. Nux, the flour-colored flip-flopping ‘war boy’, looked very interesting and took up big chunks of my mind throughout the movie. But Nux was also possibly the most compelling character as he was wonderful onscreen with all other characters and as he was possibly the only character with decent and believable character development. Immortan Joe, the totalitarian antagonist, did not have a whole lot of character in the sense that he had no inner conflicts or emotional moments, which in my experience is perhaps not the strongest story-telling. But he was truly terrifying and this was mostly due to his terrifying visual-being and scratchy voice. There were also other characters much like that; The People Eater was frightening; Slit was terrifying; And The Doof Warrior (the electric guitar player) was—for lack of a better word—really cool. But, Immortan Joe may very well be the most visually interesting character in the Mad Max series. It is very obvious that George Miller, the director, loved these characters too, it’s just so obvious that the movie is built so dependently on these characters that make the Mad Max-Furiosa dynamic possible and interesting.
The visuals and audio also stood out to me. The car chases were absolutely phenomenally filmed and edited and really worked for me. Unlike most big action sequences you could really comprehend and take in everything that happened without the action being simplified and dumbed down. In—I believe—the final car chase scene the ‘bad guys’ use snazzy vaulting poles to ‘fish’ for Mad Max and his crew, which is one of the most intense and thrilling uses of vaulting poles in a very long time. That was a joke. The movie as a whole also looked very convincing. The cinematography was beautiful and much like The Revenant, every single frame seems so meticulously crafted and planned. This movie also knew how to work with color and lights; this was especially evident in a scene in which a car chase goes into a sandstorm and John Seale, the cinematographer, shows off with contrasting colors. The score, which was largely incorporated into the film organically and composed by an artist named Junkie XL. The score, much like the cinematography, also helped set the mood of the film in such a meticulously detailed way.
Now for all the aspects I didn’t like. Tom Hardy as Mad Max was wooden and boring. Most movie viewers have seen Tom Hardy in so many roles where he plays on a series of nuances within the pissed, moody, and angry category enough times to get just a twitch bored of it. Another aspect I found dislikeable was—I’m probably alone on this one—Furiosa. Sure she was ‘cool’, but the audience never received enough character development or background story on her to make her tangible or fun to root for. The power-play between these two characters through the movie was interesting though, and though the individuals were unlikeable, they had very good screen chemistry. Also on their truck was a handful of girls who were being rescued from being Immortan Joe’s wives. At times they were decent additions to the movie. One of them, Capable, has really great moments with the tertiary protagonist, Nux, another passenger on Max’s truck. But the wives also have their moments of knuckle-clenching annoyance. In other words: they were very lame characters who, when they had screen time, made themselves less compelling characters.
And the final aspect of the movie I couldn’t stand was the story and plot as well as the screenplay as a whole. The dialogue is awkward and clunky and doesn’t give enough detail into the characters and societies and therefore leaving the audience careless and dismissive. The story itself, though action packed, is very predictable and very unoriginally paced. Not poorly paced, just unoriginally, which for a groundbreaking movie is not somewhere you want to be. It’s a very action-drama-action-drama sort of film that has some climactic moments but falters at getting the audience encompassed into the storyline and dramatic aspects of the movie.
I am not a big action fan, so somebody who appreciates the genre more than me may find the film more attractive than I do. But I appreciated the characters and their costume and makeup design. I also appreciated the technical aspects of the film, especially the poetic cinematography and the accenting score. But what I did not appreciate were the two leading characters: Mad Max and Furiosa as well as the gang of wives. And the awkward and bumpy script and tired and not so interesting story don’t make the film much better.
Best Aspect- Immortan Joe’s
Worst Aspect- Tom Hardy’s Mad Max