This nitro-injected fever dream of a post-apocalyptic nightmare is about as crazy and wonderful as they get. It is a breathless, two-hour chase with more explosions per second than anything I can remember. And yet there is still a story. A crazy story, pulled from the worst images of dystopian science fiction, but a story nonetheless. And one that holds together.
Theron (A Million Ways to Die in the West), Hardy (Locke), and Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past) bring their quite serious chops to what could have been a complete mess. They make you care about completely flawed individuals… all trying their damnedest to find redemption and/or glory; really depends on your perspective. And they all succeed in getting you to see the whole person and their past with scant dialogue. Their efforts are almost all done with looks, tones, and reaction; real acting. It’s almost as much fun to watch as watching the action sequences.
But you don’t come to Mad Max primarily for the story. The story is just a bonus to facilitate the carnage and driving. And those are available in great gouts of blood, dust, and flame. Honestly, I finished the flick utterly exhausted from the tension. I’m sure I missed a ton of small details… mainly because I caught a number of small details already. The sets and costumes (and props and cars) are crafted down to the smallest detail.
Writer/director Miller (Happy Feet 2 [yes, really]) allowed his mind to cast back to the original Mad Max and resurrected that franchise in spectacular fashion, along with two new writer by his side, McCarthy and Lathouris. It isn’t a perfect story, but it is tight and clever. And visually it is an astoundingly realized world. The dialogue, both as written and as delivered, could have been done better: they start with a lot of future speak but then folks start talking fairly normally, which drove me a bit batty. But again, that is only part of what this movie has to offer.
Yes, go see this on the big screen. 3D is not needed. I can see where they might have put it in, but there is so much going on, it would just be distracting. I’ll check it out that way on disc later, just for kicks, but there is more than enough eye candy to keep you entranced without the bells and whistles. Miller truly knows how to compose shots. With Ultron kicking it off, Max has just pushed this summer into over-drive. They may not be perfect movies, but they definitely entertain!