I must admit, when I first saw the Warner Bros. logo straining to come to life to the sounds of an unmistakable V8 powerhouse engine at my most recent jaunt to the movies, I almost wet myself just a little bit. In my mind, it set off an image of Flounder from Animal House saying, “Oh boy, this is gonna be great!” as I watched one of my favorite film franchises reborn on the big screen.
What I didn’t know, what any of us on that Saturday didn’t know, was that the opening logo would be the highlight over the next two hours.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth installment of the Mad Max series of films and the first new material in over 30 years, so understandably, quite a few people were pretty anxious for a fresh offering. All Mad Max creator and director George Miller had to do was serve up a post apocalyptic softball, a good bit of action coupled with the tragic story of those unfortunate enough to have survived a world set ablaze in chaos. Instead, he gave us two hours of a Terry Gilliam impersonation wrapped in cartoonish nonsense. It is quite simply a movie that your non-English speaking, 14-year-old and death metal loving cousin Olaf would approve of. Yes, that Olaf. The one that sings “Berserker” in his band because girls think sexy. Hey, if you can’t keep up with my references, I can’t help you. As always, I digress.
I can tell you that my boyish grin started to dissipate during the film somewhere between straining to understand almost any spoken dialogue and the point where some idiot with an over sized guitar that shoots flames shows up, riding a vehicle/war wagon full of war drumming natives and amplifiers. No, I’m not joking. I only wish I was. It was indeed at that point I refreshed myself where the clearly marked exit signs were in the theater as the pre film psa had suggested.
Let’s address the first point I brought up. I’m no high falutin’ Hollywood director, but I’m pretty sure most of us are in agreement that if there is spoken dialogue in a movie, the patrons of said movie should be able to hear it. If there isn’t crashing metal, explosions or just white noise obscuring the dialogue of Mad Max: Fury Road, it’s ill placed heavy metal music. If you’re lucky enough to sort out that ugly bag of audio snakes, then it’s on to try a hand at the thick Australian accents. Seriously, the sound editor of MMFR has some basic human compassion issues. Subtitles. Get some.
Realistically, complaining about the obscured dialogue in the movie is a minor issue, since the script must fit on a whole ten sheets of paper. What lines can be heard from “lead actor” Tom Hardy as Max, usually come out as grunts or random blurting of nouns. I’ve read some other reviews of this film, pointing that the sparse dialogue is somehow edgy, but it’s really just a pretentious attempt at making a completely shitty script into some work of art. Like the saying goes, “you can paint a piece of shit purple, it’s still a piece of shit.”
If all this wasn’t enough to drive me to the door, apparently three decades wasn’t enough to hatch a decent plot. Long story short, a desert warlord has created his own kingdom, based on control of the water supply complete with his own personal harem. Charlize Theron is a higher up in his army and decides to steal the harem and bring them to freedom. Max gets wrapped up in this local mess and ends up helping the female group. That’s it. The next hour and a half would see a gigantic chase through the desert that would not only become extremely boring, but would have me losing count of the CGI explosions.
I realize the hot button topic of this movie has become the overly feminist tone. I really didn’t get that feeling at all and believe this ridiculous argument is better left for people who just want to politicize everything. The basic fact remains regardless of social issues: this is a terrible film. George Miller not only insults fans of this series, but seems to forgotten what made his films great. Reducing Max to a useless character that really doesn’t affect the plot in any way is just a cheap bait and switch gimmick to get box office numbers for a film he knew would never sell.
Gone from MMFR is the iconic theme of tragedy clouding Max’s life, with his dead infant daughter, now seeming aged up to year six, popping up to jump scare the audience when the plot calls for Max to be declared legally insane. Speaking of back story, if you’re looking to fit MMFR into the Mad Max timeline, don’t bother. Apparently as one completely garbage blog declared, fans of the films are supposed to “connect the dots.” However, the joke is on all of us, as the dots are not only on different pages, but different books, altogether.
The only redeeming qualities of MMFR is the fitting musical score and the cinematography. The striking colors of the desert coupled with the dark grit of the cast really does pop onscreen. Unfortunately, that’s hardly worth the money for this load of garbage.
I went to MMFR hoping to see if the tragic Max had found what he was looking for after all these years, but alas, I only found why he’s mad and on a road of fury in the first place. I would be too, if I was stuck in a shitball movie that made absolutely no sense.
In the iconic words of the moron sitting next to me in the theater checking his cellphone every five minutes upon seeing the very last frame of the film, “What the HELL?!?”
Here’s hoping Fury Road leads to a place where jilted fans can get their hard-earned money back.