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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

I’m Still Not Over Mad Max: Fury Road

I should be sick to death of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Hell, it shouldn’t have been that good to begin with. It’s yet another big-budget revival of some 1980’s nostalgic action movie franchise. By right, it should have been –– at best –– a nice, but forgettable tribute to the original trilogy. Sure, it was made by George Miller, mastermind and director for all three previous films, but given what happened with the Star Wars prequels, that’s no guarantee of quality. But no. They had to make a masterpiece.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a finely choreographed ballet of fire, bullets, and twisted scrap metal hurtling across the desert sands at speeds no sane human would drive. It is a tale of survival, redemption, and the human condition, told almost entirely through glances, revving engines, and gunfire. It is a course on feminism-as-common-sense taught with rifles, shotguns, and bolt cutters. It is a Roadrunner cartoon brought terrifyingly to life.

It is at least five case studies on filmmaking done right –– from Charlize Theron’s and Tom Hardy’s ability to say with a look in their eyes what lesser actors take pages of dialogue to say; to the writing that keeps all characters vulnerable and the stakes high; the design team that built an entire culture out of junkyard scraps; to the engineers that, in real life, constructed a vast armada of fully-functional death machines; to the visual effects department that knew exactly when and when not to use CGI; to John Seale’s breathtaking cinematography that lingers equally on sweeping vistas of the Namib desert and the demonic supercharged vehicles that pirouette themselves into oblivion on its sands; to the quiet sorcery wrought by editor Margaret Sixel that literally predicts the viewers’ eye movements and cuts accordingly so as to make the chaos onscreen as clear as a bulletproof windshield; and most of all, to the visionary genius of director and mastermind George Miller.

This is a film that respects its audience enough to trust that they will pick up enough of the story elements through action and imagery without needing reams and reams of dull exposition –– incidentally leaving a plethora of interesting tidbits and details to be caught on repeat viewings. This is a film that works on a visceral level, speaking directly to the part of the human brain that remembers what it means to hunt and to be hunted.

If you haven’t seen the other Mad Max films, don’t worry. This installment, like the others, is made to stand on its own. Like most viewers, I didn’t truly know I needed this movie in my life until I saw it. If you ever buy a single BluRay disc in your entire life, let it be this one. I have seen this film well over a dozen times and still get something new out of every viewing.
If you have not seen it yet, I implore you, for your own good, to see Mad Max: Fury Road –– preferably while wearing a seatbelt.