Monday, May 18, 2015

Fury Road Review

Mad Max Fury Road has left me enlightened.  Yep, I just described a movie in terms of a religious experience.  A glorious experience wherein a man strapped to the front of a rig with a chrome guitar shoots flames.  Because awesomeness comes in such glorious packages.

Because it was.

Others have talked about the sheer joyous glory of Fury Road, but I can at least try to recapture a bit of the thrill it left.  I saw it with my roommates.  The three of us were overjoyed in the aftermath of car, sand and action.

Besides being a nonstop rush of a film, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I tend to be over-critical of movies.  As one of my roommates had put it, "I've never seen you enjoy a movie."

It met my expectations.  But not just that.  The movie's first moments have its big buy-in- once you see the two-headed lizard, the ride is on.  It doesn't stop.  It just goes and goes.  Mad Max-chic kicks in, with the post-apocalyptic cars, modded and all styled in the rough desert.  Its a been awhile, but it feels like we never left.  The visuals just are glorious.

Fury Road has magnificent pacing.  Like a racehorse, it never lets up at any point.  It feels like a chase scene on steroids.  And that makes it beautiful.  The story isn't deep, and the characters aren't much deeper either- but that's fine.  Fury Road is exactly what it says it is: about a Road and all the fury taking place on it.

The other facet after seeing the movie that has me overjoyed is how its feminist themes are being received.  It has them.  What makes Fury Road also nice to see, is that there are female characters in it.  Some more badass than other characters, including Max.  Which is great.  We don't have that.

The darker other tones, though, is about the ownership of women.  Its easy to fail to see how it is a repetition of a theme from history.  Women as currency has happened before.  We tend to forget that, in prior age, women were traded in many cultures like one might trade around weapons or wheat.  In the worldbuilding of Fury Road, this gets touched on again.

It asks the question, when rebuilding the world, can you avoid the mistakes of the past?  Can we really learn from them, or will the new society just echo the worst of our pasts?

There is more going on in Fury Road than that, but I'd encourage you to go see it for yourself.  Pacing is a hard enough thing to do on your own.  But movies like Fury Road catch the brief perfection of nonstop well enough one can learn from its examples.

Pacing can make up for or even improve plots and characters better than anything else in a story.  This is why movies like Independence Day have appeal, despite their gigantic flaws, because excellent pacing.  A New Hope is perhaps the movie whose pacing can be seen as the most prominent example.  Pacing can be a great thing.

At least that's the thing that Fury Road reminded me the most of.  Pacing and it is key to excellent storytelling.  Its one of those nebulous things that takes time and skill to truly master.

Damn.  I want to see it again.  This is like the first time I saw Babylon 5 or Seven Samurai.  I just want to be part of that story and world once again.