He Said, She Said on Film: Mad Max: Fury Road

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HE SAID:

 

Mad Max: Fury Road
By the Commander
 
What do you get when you mix Cirque du Soleil with a monster truck rally, music by Anthrax and sprinkled with a pinch of Metallica?  You get the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.  Now, I don't know if you saw the original 1979 version with Mel Gibson and Joanne Samuel, or any of the sequels, Mad Max 2 (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985—Remember that great song by Tina turner "We Don't Need Another Hero"?), Mad Max Renegade (2011), but this is not your daddy's Mad Max.  As Bill Maher would say:  “We taking this to a whole new level of crazy.” 
 
This is what happens when you take the writers, director and producers, stick them in a room with a ton of marijuana, LSD and Ayahuasca, and leave them all alone for a week, occasionally sliding a pizza under the door.  No sane person in their right mind could conceive of such a movie.  While I don't want to give away the plot… Oh hell, there is no plot!  It's basically a video game where the objective is to go from point A to point B and then return to point A and the more things you can kill, run over, destroy, set on fire, capture, explode or other crazy stuff you can think of, the more points you get.  A better name for this movie would have been "a million ways to die in the west," but unfortunately that name was already taken. 
 
This movie should win an Academy Award for the weirdest, wildest, wackiest, craziest vehicles and ways to kill people with them, and if there's not such a category, they need to create one.  Remember that TV show Robot Wars?  Multiply it times 10,000 and you may get close to the stuff that is in this movie.  
 
Spoiler Alert!  This is a guy movie.  Better yet, it's a popcorn movie and I'm talking jumbo with lots of butter with a Big Gulp by its side.  For two hours it's an action-packed Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Terminator and any other similar movie that you can think of thrown into the mix. Forget menacing soundtracks, they brought their own heavy metal rock band complete with monster speakers, giant drums and metal guitars shooting flames out of the necks, while hanging from aerials.  Insane!!!  Remember that scene from Apocalypse Now with Robert Duval hanging out the helicopter?  No comparison.
 
And the names of the characters!  Rockstansky, Furiosa, Nux, Toast the Knowing, Immortan Joe, Slit, Ricktus Erectus, The Splendid Angharad, Capable, The Dag and Cheedo the Fragile, just to name a few.  How can you not love a movie that has a character with the name of Rictus Erectus?  I bet you can't say that five times fast.  And forget dialogue.  It wasn't needed.  Besides it took too much time away from the "action."
 
So if you watch NASCAR to see the wrecks, are glued to the TV when WWE, WWF, WCW or whatever wrestling program is on, or any similar programming, then this is your movie.
 
I intend to see this movie again.  But next time, I'm going to make sure that I bring a lot of hallucinogenic and psychotropic drugs, in order to elevate my movie going experience to the “max.”  But don't worry, I'll have a designated driver to take me home.
 
And one final note:  No animals were injured, squashed, mutilated, shot, decapitated, torn limb from limb, eyeballs pulled out, tails cut off, dragged behind an 18-wheeler, run over by a motorcycle... twice, (you get the idea), during the filming of this movie.

 

SHE SAID: 

 

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
By Victoria Alexander

 

Awesome!  Up-ends the genre.  No dialogue, no exposition, no explanation and no kissing.  Just pure energy (and heroic stunt work)!
 
Who would have thought that 70-year-old George Miller could put together such a magnificent and emotional film without the requisite scenes of characters explaining themselves, crying over their lousy childhood, and taking a break from the action to garner sympathy?
 
There is absolutely no stop to the constant action, which only keeps mounting.  It gets even more thrilling as it careens towards its finish.
 
Marvel’s Avengers?  Superheroes?  Mad Max: Fury Road makes everything that came before it look exactly like Playskool action figures.
 
And as tough as the setting of the film looks, it was not a holiday shoot in Africa.  Warner Bros. heard about the problems of the production being over-budget and behind schedule.  They had to send superstar producer Denise Di Novi to Namibia.  (I’ve been to Namibia on safari and Di Novi probably was not holed-up in a Mad Max re-configured RV.  Namibia can be very amazing on a Warner’s credit card.)
 
The conflict between the two stars must have been really severe – it made all the tabloids.  Apparently, Hardy stayed in character and would not pay tribute to Theron’s “A” List ranking as a gorgeous, Academy Award-winning star.
 
If Hardy went “Method” and stayed in character off-screen, it served the film well.  And, did anyone gripe when Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)*, Heath Ledger (Dark Knight) and Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver) insisted on staying in character after the day’s filming ended?
 
Even if it wasn’t Hardy tied to the vehicle, some of the action scenes had to be him.  I don’t know how much was done by stuntmen, but nevertheless, it definitely was dirty and hot – for seven months.
 
Regardless of the over-budget concern, Fury Road looks like every dollar spent is on the screen.  All will be forgiven when the reviews and the box office numbers come out.  Theron’s “quote” will put her in the $20 million dollar league and she will do whatever it takes – even if it means mumbling to herself as Hardy reportedly did – to have him as her co-star for the rumored Mad Max 5.
 
We don’t know where Max (Hardy) came from or what happened to him.  He is captured by Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of the war-boys enthralled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a monster-dictator who controls a large, starving community through his infrequent distribution of water.  Prisoners are used as blood dispensaries.  Grab a prisoner and you don’t need anything but daily infusions of his blood.
 
Furiosa (Theron) is a legendary fighter and drives Joe’s war rig.  She is entrusted with driving the massive truck, which is filled with fuel, to its destination.  Instead, Furiosa takes “the road less traveled” along with hidden, highly valuable cargo:  Joe’s five gorgeous young brides.  They are to bear Joe’s children.
 
When Joe realizes his supermodel wives are fleeing with Furiosa, he calls out his bloodthirsty warriors.  Nux chains his blood-prisoner Max – attached to him by an IV – to the front of his super-vehicle like a Viking ship’s figurehead.  Max is also outfitted with a metal facemask.  As Furiosa battles one group of pursuers, another gang turns up.  So does the truck carrying drummers, massive speakers, and a guitar-playing rocker.
 
Nothing in Fury Road needs explaining.  Why does Furiosa have only one arm?  Because it’s not her first time at the rodeo.  What was Max doing in the desert?  No one goes in the desert voluntarily – he’s escaping from something.  And the supermodels?  One is pregnant with Joe’s child, so there must be good food, shade and clothes somewhere.  I’d say, looking over the non-living conditions of Joe’s people, these girls hit the jackpot.
 
What is so mesmerizing about Fury Road is its relentless fury.  The imagination of the production is astonishing.  If CGI was used somewhere, I still cannot believe the making of Fury Road was anything but impossibly grueling.
 
*Daniel Day Lewis demanded the cast, crew and even director Steven Spielberg refer to him as Mr. President on the set of Lincoln.  Day Lewis did not break character once during three months of filming and even had director Stephen Spielberg treat him as if he was Abraham Lincoln, according to sources.  According to the New York Times, to hold on to Lincoln’s voice, Day Lewis used it all the time, between takes and even after the filming was over. 
 

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