Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Mad Max: Fury Road": An 80s franchise doesn't offer anything new


I remember the “Mad Max” movies from the 80s, when living in Dallas:  “The Road Warrior” and “Beyond Thunderdome”.  But while George Miller’s new “Mad Max: Fury Road” may do what movies should do, place you in another world, it doesn’t present much to root for, that’s relevant.
  
The opening shot (actually Namibia) looks like Mars, until a lizard emerges from the rocks to get stomped by Max (Tom Hardy).  Soon, we meet Imperator Furiosa, a crew-cut an mannish Charlize Theron, who has lost an arm.  The movie comprises a fighting adventure to get her back to her homeland from which he was stolen, which is supposed to have an ancient oasis.
  
We could wonder if this is another planet, until someone mentions a satellite still orbiting in the night sky.  So we’re dealing with the dystopian, post nuclear war world, filled with mutants, the most spectacular of whom appear at the end, among the iron works and deformed humans (and albino) who look like “The Guild” from Frank Herbert’s “Dune” (I actually liked that 1984 film).
  
So is this demolition derby worth two hours and the price of a 3-D summer movie?  Matter of taste.
    
There are some spectacular effects, like the haboob, with the embedded tornadoes. The music, by Christian Vorlander, is most effective.  At one point, the score excerpts the Dies Irae of Verdi’s Requiem. At the end, before the credits, when an aquifer finally gushes, the music moves up in a scale to a tremendous climax on a final C Major chord (like the end of the Sibelius Seventh).  The music during the closing credits sounds like a genuine concern overture, sonata-like, crashing down to a C Minor close.
  
  
The official site is here.  Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow played sound effects similar to Lionsgate's "movies to die for" during their opening trademarks. 
    
I saw this in a smaller auditorium at the Regal Ballston Common, before a fair weeknight audience. Regal played 25 minutes of previews, running the trailer for “Jurassic World” (introduced by Chris Pratt) twice.  I have to admit that “Ant-Man” and “Entourage” look interesting. 
   
Picture: New Mexico, 2011

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