Louder. Bigger… Better?
Fury Road was one of the first times in a long while that I’ve walked out of a cinema totally buzzing about what I’d just seen. It felt akin to the old days of my youth when I walked out of the cinema darkness having just seen The Empire Strikes Back or Blade Runner with my head spinning and a huge stupid smile on my face. In some ways this is fitting- Fury Road is pretty much a throw-back to old school film-making of the pre-cgi days; yes, I guess there is a lot of image manipulation (the blown-out colours for instance) and cgi augmenting the crazy stunts that betrays it as a ‘modern’ film, but it’s definitely old school, the work of a veteran film-maker.
(Question: why wasn’t Ridley Scott’s Prometheus a triumphant return to 1979s Alien in the same way Fury Road is a triumphant return to 1982s The Road Warrior? Because Fury Road really has me wondering at what Prometheus might have been in better circumstances. If I had to offer an answer- Fury Road‘s story is absolute bare-bones; I thought Road Warrior was simple but Fury Road strips it down to the bone and its all the better for it- whereas with Prometheus Scott wanted to stretch and challenge the preconceptions audiences might have had regards an Alien prequel. George Miller wasn’t having any of that with Fury Road; he knows what fans want from a Mad Max movie and he delivers it in spades. That said, I’d certainly hope any sequel has rather more plot and character and is less of a one-note/two-hour car chase (I’m being a little unfair there to be honest). But you know, Fury Road is, at the very least, true to its roots. It’s a Mad Max movie, whereas Prometheus was hardly an Alien film at all).
It reminds me of the magic of cinema. Why I love movies. God knows as I’ve gotten older, the best movies seem further and further back in the past and all the ‘current’ movies increasingly tired bubblegum amusement rides in the form of reboots, remakes and sequels… and future movies heartless ‘more of the same’ to the point I wonder why I bother (case in point, trailers prior to Fury Road included Jurassic World and San Andreas, each featuring an eye-numbing amount of cgi nonsense). To see a film that shakes the mold and harkens back to the films of my youth is almost a revelation. Sure this thing gets screened primarily in 3D and I had to hunt down a rare 2D screening. Sure it was likely greenlit as some kind of remake/reboot of Mad Max 2. But goodness me its a hand-on-my-heart classic throwback to a cinema of 30 – 40 years ago. Miller must have made this movie in some kind of goddam stealth mode, how else could a modern Hollywood movie turn out like this did?
George MIller is 70 years old. It feels wrong even mentioning it; just because he is 70 doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be making films like this- but it still bears thinking about. This huge, $150 million, mad-ass crazy Apocalyptic action flick, possibly the wildest mainstream spectacle to come out of Hollywood in years, was written/produced/directed by a guy now 70 years old, and reportedly he is (thank God!) willing to make more. Lets hope Warner allow him the freedom he had with Fury Road (and that it gets made a little quicker)- indeed, kudos to Warner for financing this film as it is. Too often I moan at the stupidity/greed/crassness of the big studios but here a studio done good so all credit to the people who made this possible.
And you know, it actually gets me excited for Blade Runner 2. Its about as unnecessary as a Road Warrior remake/reboot was, but Fury Road shows that it could turn into something worthwhile (and to be honest, early word on the talent behind BR2 is looking very promising indeed). If we can get a great new Mad Max movie after some thirty years, maybe there’s a chance a new film about Replicants could be great too.Yes I realise this is nonsense but thats whats its like with this great buzz after a great movie- for a little while, anything seems possible. Allow me to bask in it a little while longer before I come back to reality with a bump. Lets just hope that that reality-bump isn’t Star Wars 7…