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View Full Version : The Mad Max Franchise - Is Fury Road the next level or more of the same??


Frankmillerfan
05-24-2015, 06:52 PM
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-l6ekiWbWW4E/VWCeH8VJT7I/AAAAAAAAJC4/WxGkIl2tlEg/s640/Max%2BMad%2BFury%2BRoad%2Bmivie.jpg

SPOILERS

Mad Max Fury Road was good and incredibly action packed but to answer the question of next level or more of the same? It seems to split the middle of the 80s franchise. It takes all the best elements of Road Warrior (the car chase, the sparse dialog/telling a story with visuals) and pumps them up and all the worst elements of Thunder Dome (the bloated plot) and scales them back. Ultimately I would have to say more of the same but just a little bit better.

I guess Mad Max was always supposed to be bizarre and way over the top..I mean look at Lord Humungus fom the second film. But the restrictions of budget and special effects technology limited just how bizarre George Miller could get back then. But those limitations are what gave Mad Max its edge. Sure the post apocalyptic people were weird but in a realistic way. Just bad fashion sense coupled with anarchy. But today with budgets for action flicks routinely averaging 100-150 million (Fury Road budget was 150 mil) and special effects and CGI technology that literally make anything possible, Fury Road becomes the crazy cartoon Miller must have always envisioned.

Which is why you see stuff that looks like this:

Story and character wise the film definitely reaches back to take elements from the three previous films. Just look at the heavies, Immortan Joe looks like what would happen if Humungus and Aunty Entity had a gross mutant baby.



From Lord Humungus, he takes the face mask and cod piece with the facade of an adonis body along with a maniacal want to take and control everything in his sight. From Aunty Entity he takes the long mane like hair, warlord stature and leader of a town who has to barter and bargain with others. And the actor who plays Joe also played Toe Cutter the gang leader in the first film.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PCRuy7JzNd0/VWCeHzmqr_I/AAAAAAAAJC0/-2Q0hTBIJT4/s1600/Fury-Road-Guitar-680x388.jpg

Thats a great visual I guess for kids who are growing up in this era but for people who watched action flicks before CGI and sky high budgets its a bit eye-rolling.

Story and character wise the film definitely reaches back to take elements from the three previous films. Just look at the heavies, Immortan Joe looks like what would happen if Humungus and Aunty Entity had a gross mutant baby.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ENw77CjYqWs/VWDJ7KATmvI/AAAAAAAAJDs/dmuYH72q78Q/s1600/mmfr.jpg

From Lord Humungus, he takes the face mask and cod piece with the facade of an adonis body along with a maniacal want to take and control everything in his sight. From Aunty Entity he takes the long mane like hair, warlord stature and leader of a town who has to barter and bargain with others. And the actor who plays Joe also played Toe Cutter the gang leader in the first film.

The story of Fury Road works much like Thunder Dome in that the main thrust of the plot initially puts Max in the background for the first act as we concentrate more on who and what is happening to other people, in this case the cause of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who is attempting to escape the Citadel with tyrannical cult leader Immortan Joe's wives hidden in the war rig tanker she is supposed to be taking to nearby towns for gas and bullets in a trade for water and milk. Max is captured by Joe's "War Boys" and used as a bloodbag for the sickly Nux an acolyte bent on dying in battle to take his place in Valhalla according to Immortan Joe's preachings. The rest of the story is almost non-stop action from there.

I liked the twist on the title Mad Max which in this case means mad as in insane which is what we see. Max is man who suffers from acute PTSD and extreme guilt over the deaths of his wife and daughter to the point of aural and visual hallucinations that can come on him at any moment. It's a nice subtle reference to the title but the problem I see is that things have to happen TO Max in order for there to be a story. I was hoping they would portray him as vengeful and raging that way every movie has him on a mission and purposefully driven. The way it stands he just finds himself in situations he has to deal with. Which is why the second film in the franchise isn't called Mad Max 2. It was renamed for American audiences mainly because:

A. most people hadn't seen the first Mad Max flick

B. He was just a wanderer in the second flick. His family is already dead the guys who did it are either dead or long gone and no one thought to portray the character as crazy in any way. Hence, The Road Warrior.

If George Miller had decided to reboot the franchise as a revenge trip where Mad (as in angry/raging) Max is hunting down one by one the members of the gang that killed his family all of whom have either joined other gangs or started their own since the fall of mankind in the first film, then we as the audience can join him empathically on his journey. Sure its been done before but not in a post apocalyptic setting with the crazy vision Miller has. Let's say its four people plus the leader of the gang responsible for murdering his family and sequel by sequel theyre being hunted down coupled with a secondary plot like Furiosa or Thunder Dome, hell, that's five flicks that write themselves. If you REALLY want to stretch it out have in the fifth film he runs across his daughter whom he thought was dead. Turns out she's raised as a member of Toe Cutter's (the gang leader from the first film) gang and by the end Max sacrifices himself to save her but Toe Cutter gets away. But now SHE picks up his mission to finish it and boom SIX movies plus a spin-off. The very first Mad Max film did that but he killed everyone by the end of the story so there was nowhere else to go with it, again, hence the second film being titled The Road Warrior.

As it stands Miller has Max just waiting for random things to happen to him just so in the end he ends up walking the Earth alone again for no apparent reason. And that lack of connection with the characters, especially the title character, is the reason why almost every review heaped massive praise on the action, visual and special effects but no one mentions the story at all. That's because not only are the stories very straightforward and simple (which isn't a bad thing) there just isn't much meat on the bone for any of the characters particularly Max. While you don't want him to die and hope that he wins whatever conflict he's in, there is really nothing else for us to connect with. He has no journey, he's just a wanderer. Maybe there is something real deep that's going on with how the characters are portrayed but if that's the case then Miller had better bring it closer to the surface because most of the fans of films are missing it. Anger and revenge is always easier to connect with on an emotional level more so that trauma induced psychosis, in Fury Road that's all we have to deal with.

Miller said if Fury Road is successful he has two more stories to do and this is from wiki:
Miller revealed that plans for the sequel had changed and the working title for the next installment will be Mad Max: The Wasteland. It was also announced by Nerdist that the sequels will be prequels and actor Hugh Keays-Byrne will return as Immortan Joe.

If thats the case then maybe there's still hope the for the revenge driven Mad as hell Max. Otherwise things are going to get repetitive fast.

READ MORE (http://mczfilmtvreviews.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-mad-max-franchise-is-fury-road-next.html?spref=tw)

Moonrider
05-25-2015, 12:09 AM
Funny because I think a revenge driven protagonist is one of the most boring, repetitive, and overused trope ever. It only becomes a bit more interesting lately with John Wick where the vengeance is only on the surface of how damaged our protagonist really is and the killing of his dog is just that final push to drive the man back to the abyss. Which, interestingly, is kind of like what happened in Mad Max 2.

I think you contradict yourself by asking whether Fury Road is the next level or more of the same, when you then continue by suggesting that George Miller should go back to the original Mad Max revenge story and stretch it out for five or more movies with the same tired plot.

Max's journey, if you hadn't been paying close attention, is and has always been about survival and redemption. That journey is never ending, and that enables Max to go beyond the simple plot of finding the next target to kill. It's a journey we can also relate to emotionally, perhaps even better than anger and vengeance. Revenge is secondary when all you can think about is how to escape certain death. You want to kill the guy who killed your family, but all you really want is to fix your mistake and bring them back. We've seen enough glimpses of Max's life in the movie to take our own conclusion about what happened, and that is why Fury Road's story works. Because we care about the characters through their actions, not through tons of exposition or lengthy flashbacks.

So back to your question, I firmly believes that Mad Max Fury Road is indeed the next level. Not only for the franchise, but I daresay also for action movies in general.

sevans
05-25-2015, 05:03 AM
I liked it. Wasn't expecting too, but I did.
That is my deep and meaningful analysis.

Luke Noonan
05-25-2015, 10:49 AM
Funny because I think a revenge driven protagonist is one of the most boring, repetitive, and overused trope ever. It only becomes a bit more interesting lately with John Wick where the vengeance is only on the surface of how damaged our protagonist really is and the killing of his dog is just that final push to drive the man back to the abyss. Which, interestingly, is kind of like what happened in Mad Max 2.

I think you contradict yourself by asking whether Fury Road is the next level or more of the same, when you then continue by suggesting that George Miller should go back to the original Mad Max revenge story and stretch it out for five or more movies with the same tired plot.

Max's journey, if you hadn't been paying close attention, is and has always been about survival and redemption. That journey is never ending, and that enables Max to go beyond the simple plot of finding the next target to kill. It's a journey we can also relate to emotionally, perhaps even better than anger and vengeance. Revenge is secondary when all you can think about is how to escape certain death. You want to kill the guy who killed your family, but all you really want is to fix your mistake and bring them back. We've seen enough glimpses of Max's life in the movie to take our own conclusion about what happened, and that is why Fury Road's story works. Because we care about the characters through their actions, not through tons of exposition or lengthy flashbacks.

So back to your question, I firmly believes that Mad Max Fury Road is indeed the next level. Not only for the franchise, but I daresay also for action movies in general.
Disagree completely on the last point, I thought the movie paid homage to and was basically just a direct continuation of the 3rd MM film, with OTT stunts and needlessly bizarre visuals without much logic or reason behind them. It was to the Beyond Thunderdome film what Superman Returns was to the previous Donner Super-films. The only difference was obligatory CGI. Which was a shame for me since I hated the 3rd film, it was a total campy cheesefest.
I didn't like this movie because I was somewhat distantly hoping for an updated remake of the first Mad Max film, which despite being a fairly derivative Ozploitation B-movie had a lot going for it in terms of the gloomy but energetic nihilistic subtext and the weirdly dandified Aussie trailer-trash bad guys. The first film was distinctive enough to be worth updating, IMO, and maybe segue into the events of the 2nd film by showing the nuclear war or whatever, which the original films omitted maybe due to budget. IMO.

Frankmillerfan
05-25-2015, 01:30 PM
Funny because I think a revenge driven protagonist is one of the most boring, repetitive, and overused trope ever. It only becomes a bit more interesting lately with John Wick where the vengeance is only on the surface of how damaged our protagonist really is and the killing of his dog is just that final push to drive the man back to the abyss. Which, interestingly, is kind of like what happened in Mad Max 2.

I think you contradict yourself by asking whether Fury Road is the next level or more of the same, when you then continue by suggesting that George Miller should go back to the original Mad Max revenge story and stretch it out for five or more movies with the same tired plot.

Max's journey, if you hadn't been paying close attention, is and has always been about survival and redemption. That journey is never ending, and that enables Max to go beyond the simple plot of finding the next target to kill. It's a journey we can also relate to emotionally, perhaps even better than anger and vengeance. Revenge is secondary when all you can think about is how to escape certain death. You want to kill the guy who killed your family, but all you really want is to fix your mistake and bring them back. We've seen enough glimpses of Max's life in the movie to take our own conclusion about what happened, and that is why Fury Road's story works. Because we care about the characters through their actions, not through tons of exposition or lengthy flashbacks.

So back to your question, I firmly believes that Mad Max Fury Road is indeed the next level. Not only for the franchise, but I daresay also for action movies in general.

The revenge ploy is a trope for a reason..it works damn well. Plus it gives a sense of closure for the audience. Like you said survival and redemption is never ending and the issue with that is that it gives a sense of monotony. In the 80s franchise by the time we got to ThunderDome a number of elements the movies either pioneered or gave a fresh spin on was already feeling cliched. The big caravan car chase, max happening upon people he must help in someway, crazy villains who go out of their way to kill him.

What I meant by next level or more of the same was was this film going in a different direction from the 80s films or was it just a higher octane version of those films. this review of Thunder Dome (http://collider.com/mad-max-beyond-thunderdome-review/) sums it up nicely:

So, to recap, Max exposed Aunty’s scheme, stole her town’s lead engineer in Master, blew up Bartertown to the point of near-irreparability, and disabled untold minions and vehicles during their chase. He’s in for some severe punishment, right? Nope! She just sort of gives him a nod of respect and goes on her merry way. It’s a moment that raises the question of, just what was the point of Max in this film? He’s no longer the driver of the story, literally or metaphorically. All he did was screw up Aunty’s plan and thereby further complicate his own survival, scared a bunch of children who believed him to be their returned savior Captain Walker, and strongarmed the pilot into flying the kids to safety. He’s peripheral to most of the action rather than being a direct agent of it. And though the tribe, which has now settled in the ruins of Sydney, will tell his tale for generations to come, I wouldn’t be surprised if Max’s part in all of it becomes lost beneath the sands of time.

And thats the potential issue with the survival/redemption ploy it has a tendecy to push the main character into the background after a while usually in favor of who the person is helping in the moment. Leaving one to think okay he did a good deed but he still feels its not enough and after a while that can get tiresome for audiences which is probably why we didn't see anymore Mad Max films after Thunder Dome in 85.

Disagree completely on the last point, I thought the movie paid homage to and was basically just a direct continuation of the 3rd MM film, with OTT stunts and needlessly bizarre visuals without much logic or reason behind them. It was to the Beyond Thunderdome film what Superman Returns was to the previous Donner Super-films. The only difference was obligatory CGI. Which was a shame for me since I hated the 3rd film, it was a total campy cheesefest.
I didn't like this movie because I was somewhat distantly hoping for an updated remake of the first Mad Max film, which despite being a fairly derivative Ozploitation B-movie had a lot going for it in terms of the gloomy but energetic nihilistic subtext and the weirdly dandified Aussie trailer-trash bad guys. The first film was distinctive enough to be worth updating, IMO, and maybe segue into the events of the 2nd film by showing the nuclear war or whatever, which the original films omitted maybe due to budget. IMO.
I agree the first MM film was due a decent budgeted remake.

Moonrider
05-26-2015, 04:11 AM
I disagree with the sense of monotony that you mentioned. I think how Fury Road is set up with Max's character already well established, it opens up the character to an endless possibility of stories. Think of it like a bande dessinee, or a graphic novel in a series of graphic novels that features the titular character. Our hero can go anywhere, dealing with any issue, encounter many different characters and overcome various danger. It's a freeing story concept that can keep him fresh and timeless. In a way, Mad Max is like a post-apocalyptic Conan The Barbarian. That is part of what makes him appealing.

I think the original Mad Max was a unique and distinct movie, but it's also one that you simply don't need to watch or re-watch as a reboot to enjoy the current one. But then, Fury Road has given glimpses of a much different past where Max had a daughter instead of an infant son, so who knows if we will ever see a prequel story of it in later installment.

Why did I say that Fury Road is the 'next level' for the franchise and action movies in general? Because it somewhat breaks the monotony (oh that word again!) of superhero franchises and bad actioners that rely on cheesy dialogues and forces you to not only suspend disbelief but also lower your IQ to the brink of stupidity. Fury Road is a testament of how a very entertaining film can be created even with the characters' motivations never explained in detail. It's a show-don't-tell approach that constantly put your mind at work in filling the gaps, but doesn't stop you from being entertained with the glorious the action that explodes on screen. It also expands the universe with Furiosa and the other wasteland inhabitants, giving a more rich and nuanced description of the world around him. In fact, one can argue that Mad Max films, even the first one, is never really about Max. It's really more about the world he lives in and how he cope with it.

Frankmillerfan
05-27-2015, 01:33 AM
I disagree with the sense of monotony that you mentioned. I think how Fury Road is set up with Max's character already well established, it opens up the character to an endless possibility of stories. Think of it like a bande dessinee, or a graphic novel in a series of graphic novels that features the titular character. Our hero can go anywhere, dealing with any issue, encounter many different characters and overcome various danger. It's a freeing story concept that can keep him fresh and timeless. In a way, Mad Max is like a post-apocalyptic Conan The Barbarian. That is part of what makes him appealing.

I think the original Mad Max was a unique and distinct movie, but it's also one that you simply don't need to watch or re-watch as a reboot to enjoy the current one. But then, Fury Road has given glimpses of a much different past where Max had a daughter instead of an infant son, so who knows if we will ever see a prequel story of it in later installment.

Why did I say that Fury Road is the 'next level' for the franchise and action movies in general? Because it somewhat breaks the monotony (oh that word again!) of superhero franchises and bad actioners that rely on cheesy dialogues and forces you to not only suspend disbelief but also lower your IQ to the brink of stupidity. Fury Road is a testament of how a very entertaining film can be created even with the characters' motivations never explained in detail. It's a show-don't-tell approach that constantly put your mind at work in filling the gaps, but doesn't stop you from being entertained with the glorious the action that explodes on screen. It also expands the universe with Furiosa and the other wasteland inhabitants, giving a more rich and nuanced description of the world around him. In fact, one can argue that Mad Max films, even the first one, is never really about Max. It's really more about the world he lives in and how he cope with it.



and we're back to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome...:laugh:

you make good points but I can't help but point out that film did everything youre talking about and was met critically with a collective..meh:yawn:

Fury Road was beaten out by a chick flick for cryin out loud..most of the reviews and comments on it talk about only the visuals and energy not character development. At the end of the day people generally want to go to an action flick and have a thrill ride and live vicariously thru the protagonist. Not many people care to watch a think piece disguised as an action romp. Theres a reason why they made 3 Taken movies and only one Conan in this century.

Moonrider
07-24-2015, 09:35 PM
Does Mad Max try to reinvent the wheel? No.
Is it the 'next level'? It doesn't need to be.
Was it beaten out by a chick flick? No, while it grossed lower but not far off from it domestically, it beaten out Pitch Perfect 2's worldwide earnings by a wide margin.
Is Mad Max Fury Road a dumb, plotless movie? Only if you're a dumb audience. Which is fine too.
Is it an awesome movie? Critics seem to think so. http://io9.com/the-good-bad-and-meh-lessons-from-mad-max-terminator-1719922900
'At the end of the day people generally want to go to an action flick and have a thrill ride and live vicariously thru the protagonist.' Didn't go so well with Terminator Genysis, did it?