As I get older, the passage of time becomes more and more obscene. We're halfway through 2015 already? Okay. Of course we are. Speaking of post-apocalyptic wastelands... I saw Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend and, as I walked out, one word came to mind: spectacle. Which is funny, because it's the same word my friend used to describe it to me this morning.
Fury Road is spectacle on a scale we have very rarely seen. It is the original Mad Max series writ large, with any limitations of budget and technology completely wiped away. When a masterful artist has a strong vision, this is the product you get.
Oddly enough, I would compare the film to an Old Hollywood epic. No expense spared, a cast of hundreds, 95% of effects and stunts appeared to be practical rather than CG (greatly appreciated and it made the movie). Hopefully the industry at large noticed just how great the practical effects payoff can be. At times, the soundtrack even dipped into a classic 1930's score (when our mutated, flame-throwing guitar player wasn't providing thrash metal).
And what can you say about the Production Design? INCREDIBLE. Design is alive and well in George Miller's film and it should win every award known to man in the category. No detail is ignored, no matter how small. And while the blueprint may have been sketched in previous Mad Max movies, the possibilities have never been fully realized until now. There are some amazing artists and imaginations at work here and their work is a joy to see.
Another thought I had as I watched was how unique Tom Hardy is. I think he approaches his craft unlike anyone working right now. He reminds me of Brando, searching out the essence of a character. The portrait he drew with a sparsity of performance is kind of amazing. By sparsity I don't mean insufficient in any way. I mean Hardy makes every morsel count. He was unafraid to play Max close to the vest rather than over the top.
No one will walk away from Fury Road thinking this was the greatest story ever told, but most will likely believe it was one of the most amazing things they've seen on screen.