Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
STORYLINE: In the apocalyptic future, Mad Max and Furiosa rebel against the despotic warlord who controls all the food, water and gas in a community of desperate people.
COMMENTS: This is a remake of the original Mel Gibson classic, and in so many ways it’s much better, and in other ways, less satisfying. What was powerful about the original Gibson classic is the single-minded focus of Mad Max to survive the harsh conditions of his life. To survive, Mad Max must be ruthless, violent and implacable. Gibson’s tortured eyes engage us in his lonely odyssey, and we understand and root for his survival, because what generates his tortured soul is his inherent compassion which pulls at him with every act of violence. We know this poor guy doesn’t really want to kill anyone… he just wants to be left alone to survive on his own terms.
In the remake version, Tom Hardy is as ruthless and violent and resourceful; however, Charlize Theron, as Furiosa, is so powerful that she nearly takes over the movie. Because an underlying story is added to this remake where Furiosa wants to save the Imperator’s wives from their abused-victim lives, it immediately humanizes the legend and becomes more contemporary. Today, women are rising out of the quicksand of victimization. I LOVE this added sub-story. In fact, this is what engaged me most in this movie. The environment in this version is more realistic in that now we actually see how a community can survive in an otherwise bleak, unrelenting desert. Charlize is magnificent as Furiosa… in fact, now, she is the one with the tortured eyes weighed down by compassion. Mad Max’s single-minded focus is weakened, because in this new version, he’s there to support Furiosa in her mad struggle against the Imperator.
The choreography of the battles are brilliant, implacable and clever, but just too much of it. I could have done with less tactical battles, and more personal scenes depicting how Furiosa and those wonderful women fight with all their passionate beings to evade the Imperator’s capture. That’s where the heart of this remake is… with Furiosa and the Imperator’s wives. The scene where the pregnant wife pits herself against the Imperator is forever imprinted in my memory. The sacrifice of adding this sub-story is that it’s no longer about Mad Max, an iconic symbol of Man vs. the World, Society and himself. In fact, the title should have been “Mad Max and the Magnificent Women.”
TAGS: Mad Max, apocalyptic, Furiosa, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron