Seriously, just fuck. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is two minutes and thirty one seconds of some of the most hype inducing audio/visual business that I’ve seen in quite some time. Well, since the last Mad Max: Fury Road trailer came out, anyways. They have been really knocking it out of the park with this marketing campaign. Well edited, well paced, action extravaganza shit. Hell, even if the movie doesn’t live up to expectations, we’ll still have these trailers! Having said that, everything seems to be pointed in the right direction to me.
Fury Road clearly invokes The Road Warrior. Which makes sense, considering it’s usually viewed as the highest point in the series. The reason I bring it up is because the new movie looks like what I remember The Road Warrior being; the movie that my mind has constructed over the years, made up of all the “coolest” parts. I think about Max’s car and how impossibly badass it is. I remember Lord Humungus, his need for gasoline, and his polite dislike for being defied; Bladed boomerangs cutting through some guy’s fingers. But the sequence that comes screeching, squealing and exploding to my the forefront of my mind, is the ending chase. Seriously, some days I just watch that sequence over and over.
It’s such a perfectly executed action sequence. Not only is it “cool” on a visceral level, it also demonstrates the entire ethos of that universe. Desperate people driven to desperate action, no matter what side of the morality scale the characters fall on. Everything that we’ve learned about these people gets paid off during the chase. Even though the film’s narrative is sparsely told, we are given just enough to care. So, when we see how all the characters act during this event, it makes sense, and furthers our investment in their plight. Notice I said “their plight,” and not “Max’s plight.”
Even though Max, the Road Warrior, is the title character of this franchise, he’s not really the protagonist of these stories. That may seem strange, but think about it. What effect on the narrative does he really have? Yeah, I know he becomes involved at some point, but it’s not because of his desire, it’s happenstance. His story is almost separate and broader than the contained narratives of each film. His journey is simple: A man surviving. His “plight” isn’t the same as those he comes across; It’s just about getting through the day for Max. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with that, honestly. It makes him a unique hero. He’s not the “reluctant hero,” who poetically comes to the rescue of others. He, ultimately, does what he does for himself.
Max is a fairly complex entity. We root for him almost as if by osmosis; He exists firmly planted in the “grey area,” and if we didn’t spend so much time with him, we might not like him at all. Sure, he may be the baddest mother trucker of the barren wasteland, but he really only cares about himself. Making this type of character work is almost entirely predicated on casting. We liked Max in the older films because we liked Mel Gibson(Stop. Stop right there, brain of reader. Okay, okay! We DID like him! There! Happy?!). You need someone with a lot of charisma and inherent likability to get on board.He’s kind of an empty vessel; The ultimate “power fantasy” kind of character. He’s the personification of greek tragedy, and, for some reason, we wish we could be Max. We wish we had the balls to be Max, to put it crudely.
Thankfully, director George Miller seems to get this idea, as he’s put the character in the hands of the excellent Tom Hardy. He’s affable, charismatic, and a pretty great actor to boot. He’s surface level cool, but also has the chops to give this role the weight it needs to imply the life Max has lead thus far. His life is fire, you know?
If you’re a fan of the series, there’s a bunch of little call backs to the earlier movies. From the loss of Max’s family, to the freakish villains that inhabit the world. And what a world it is. Look at these characters! Look at these vehicles! Look at all the god damn sand! It’s everywhere! There’s so much loving attention to detail on display here. I mean, I could spend another thousand words on the meticulous design of the world, the characters, and the vehicles. It almost seems to good to be true.
Everything in this trailer feels like a proper Mad Max flick. Even if the film ends up being a more or less retread of The Road Warrior, because what a glorious retread it seems to be! Like I said before, it looks like the movie you remember The Road Warrior being, which isn’t a slight against that movie. Not at all. That movie is one of my favorites, but the idea of a Mad Max movie out Road Warrioring The Road Warrior is pretty exciting!
I have really high hopes for Fury Road, but even that feels like an understatement. It was a long road for this flick. I was in fifth grade the first time I heard about Miller trying to get this thing off the ground; With Mel Gibson still as the lead. If memory serves me correct, some freak weather conditions put that incarnation on indefinite hold. Actually, Fury Road dealt with a lot of this kind of stuff too. Principal photography wrapped over two years ago, and even as late as last summer they were going back and tweaking stuff; Adding more practical stunts and the like.
Early word from test screenings have indicated that the promise these trailer have on blazing display is well served. I hope this flick does well, because during an interview with Esquire Magazine Tom Hardy let it slip that he’s signed on for three movies if this one is successful. Early buzz is positive, but, as we’ve seen over the past few years, doesn’t always translate into ticket sales(Lookin’ at you Pacific Rim!).
So, you can keep your Avengering and your Star Warsies! 2015 is all about Max, for me! Give me fury, and give me the road! MAY 15th CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH!