At 70 years old, George Miller still has it.
Mad Max - Fury Road was awesome. Visually, the world George built was detailed, coherent and insane. I mean, in what universe do cancer riddled maniacs drive fuel guzzling ultra modified hot rods and monster trucks when there is virtually no fuel, pumping stations, mechanic shops, tire manufacturers or basic infrastructure left in the world?
In what universe do men develop beefy muscles when food is in extremely short supply? And why flush thousands of gallons of precious water into the desert after expending so much energy to pump it from the ground?
I could go on, but who cares? To expend mental energy trying to piece together the logic of George Miller's post-apocolyptic world is a waste of time. Just go with the crazy and enjoy the ride, because it is a wild one. My guess is that about 90 plus percent of the movie is a chase. Pretty much one big climax with very little relief from the relentless tension.
Which is fine by me.
The cinematography is beautiful and as aggressive as the psychos depicted in the film. In Mad Max, tribalism rules. Only the strong survive and Max is a survivor. His journey from loner to captive to human bloodbag to escapee to hero gunslinger is testament to his resiliency. George plays a deft trick with the film's point of view. It starts out as clearly Max's story and journey, but when Imperator Furiosa - played amazingly by Charlize Theron - makes her appearance we quickly realize this is her story, her journey and we shift our focus to her world and her circumstances. But wait! Then we realize that Max and Furiosa are after the same thing - redemption. When Furiosa and Max realize this, they become the Yin and Yang versions of the same character. The POV is now split and shared equally. The female is not secondary to the male. She is equally as heroic, equally as badass. Max saves her life and she saves his.
Women are treated with respect and reverence in Fury Road.
Aside from badass Furiosa, Immortan Joe's wives were no wilting flowers. At first they seemed like they might be treated as damsels in distress but quickly they prove themselves to be courageous and resilient. The Vulvalini - a band of elderly women warriors - prove to be tough, resilient, wise and noble in their final stand. The Keeper of the Seeds is as dignified as she is brave. She brings grace to a destroyed world.
The only females that were not treated with dignity were the milk mothers as they sat with machines permanently attached to their lactating breasts, pumping mother's milk to feed the muscle-bound men in power.
Chase sequences are difficult to film and George elected to keep as much of the shooting real as possible. CG enhancements are there, but used judiciously. The world feels very real, tangible and dirty.
The camera work was extremely clear and never once did I lose my sense of orientation or my sense of who was where relative to everyone else. Not an easy task to accomplish when you have so many characters on screen doing hard-core action stuff at the same time. You'd almost think George had done this before.
Unlike many fantasy or science fiction films, George Miller's Mad Max universe is not one you would fantasize about living in, but I would highly recommend you pay it a visit for a couplke hours.