I remember the 4th of July weekend of 1991 very well. That’s when I went to see Terminator 2: Judgement Day on an screen that no longer exists today in glorious 70mm with the (then) state of the art Dolby surround sound. Back then there were theaters where the auditorium was build inside a huge domed building with stadium seating, with a screen big enough to do 70mm projection the justice it deserves. Ever since that weekend no action movie I saw theatrically could top that 70mm print of T2, not even IMAX movies. That is, until I saw Mad Max: Fury Road in 3D.
Years of anticipation have paid off as not only does Mad Max: Fury Road deliver on any expectations you have, it blows them up in a blazing fuel drenched orgy of jaw-dropping action and stunts.
If you’re not familiar with the Mad Max movies and wondering if you need to see the original three that starred Mel Gibson in from 1979 to 1985, you don’t. In fact, Mad Max: Fury Road works so well on its own that it could almost serve as a reboot for the series. The original movies, classics that they are, really are disappointing when put up against George Miller’s masterpiece here. Fury Road is probably the Mad Max we would’ve seen from him in the 80s if the money and technology existed back then to realize this jaw-dropping post-apocalyptic vision.
You may have seen the amazing sandstorm sequence they showed off at San Diego Comic Con last summer. A shorter version of it is available on YouTube here. In most big summer action movies, a scene that that would be the epic finale. The sort of thing you leave the theater from out of breath and telling everyone they have to see it for that last huge action sequence. In Mad Max: Fury Road, that’s just the first of an increasingly awesome series of vehicular combat scenes.
Sure, Fury Road allows you to catch your breath. But the pauses are like the lulls in the best rollercoaster you’ve ever been in. Each action scene is bigger than the last, and don’t worry if you don’t blink or breathe during them…that’s normal.
Of course you’re wondering if the 3D surcharge is worth it. Absolutely. Even though it’s a post-conversion, it’s easily some of the best 3D in any movie and there’s stuff flying at you all the time. There’s one gimmicky 3D effect at the end of the movie, closing out the final epic chase, but the movie definitely earns that one little flaunting of the format.
I need to mention the soundtrack as it redeemed JunkieXL in my eyes. I liked parts of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack he did with Hans Zimmer, but the stuff he was responsible for I hated. When I saw that he did the score for this movie, I almost felt bad for complaining about his ASM2 stuff. This is by far one of the best film soundtracks in years, and it’s one I will be listening to continuously until I can have the movie on Blu-Ray and pump it through my home theater system completely cranked.
I can’t stress enough how great Fury Road is. Max plays a part in the movie, but it also introduces Charlize Theron’s Furiosa who looks to be a major part of the franchise going forward. The sequel, which Miller originally wanted to film back-to-back with this one, is titled “Mad Max: Furiosa” so you have an idea where things are going. And when this ride comes to a crashing halt at the end of the movie you’d want Warner to let him start filming that sequel this weekend so we won’t have to wait so long to see it.
But if we did have to wait another five years for Mad Max: Furiosa, I’d have no problem with it if it turns out as stunning as Fury Road. This is a new classic that will be remembered for decades beyond its release. Do not wait. Run to a theater and see Mad Max: Fury Road on its biggest screen, in 3D, and with a giant tub of popcorn dripping in butter. This is why we go to the movies.