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How many good fourthquel’s are there? We could probably count them on one hand. Star Wars: A New Hope, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Mission Impossible 4… I honestly can’t think of any more. It is the turning point in most decent film sagas. The moment where the studio lifts up their hands and says “I don’t care, give us more money” (if you are as cynical as many internet critics are).
So what is going to be the deal with this? The long awaited, supposedly, continuation of a series of three Australian films released between 1979 and 1985, Mad Max: Fury Road, stars Tom Hardy (replacing the original Mel Gibson) as the titular Max, a man going around a post-apocalyptic world where there are lots of explosions and cars.
The wonderful Nostalgia Critic has given a name to these types of movies. “Dick flicks”. I find this name most apt as it serves not only as an indication that this is a film intended for a generally male audience while also touching on the parallels this sub-genre of action films have with the female-orientated “chick flicks” and the prejudices that are put against both types of films.
When one thinks of a “chick flick”, the immediate notion is that it immediately is going to be a low quality film “just for girls”. Because of course girls are incapable of understanding, never mind enjoying a good film.
This same frame of mind is held by those who look at a “dick flick” and say that it’s for adolescent minds who want to shut off their brains for something mindless.
However, just as Pride and Prejudice, has a great story and Pitch Perfect is funny while holding chick flick status, Robocop and The Terminator serve as fine examples of male-oriented mindless action films that might not be as mindless as one might assume.
I hope what you have just read has cleared up that just because Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie with lots of vehicular violence, it doesn’t make it either dumb or bad. In fact, this is a secretly clever and well thought out action film.
Max, in his endless travels, comes across a woman called Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, who is trying to save a number of young women who would otherwise be held as sex slaves. Theron is nothing short of awesome in this movie. She is strong, smart and on the side of the right even when the odds are unfathomably out of her favour.
I was surprised at a number of elements in this film, not least the treatment of Furiosa (who is leagues ahead of Jupiter Ascending‘s lead).
The second thing that surprised me was the tone. The title suggested to me madness, and trust me it delivers it in the form of car-crazy excitement and endless imagination in the design of this apocalyptic world. However, I expected more of a comedic approach, similar to last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Despite the odd naturally placed joke, I was surprised at how seriously this movie took itself and how many genuinely dramatic moments where here. What impressed me was that it didn’t fall apart. This movie is so well directed and written that it simply invites you on the ride.
The madness of Mad Max is truly something to behold. The action scenes were done mostly for real and it shows. I am a huge fan of the mixture of practical and digital effects to create a compelling visual story. Over-reliance on one or the other will detriment any film.
I was deeply impressed by this stylistic, uncompromising movie. A well acted, well shot, well directed and well written film with a subtle and true feminist message that is buried under thrilling action that had my mouth open on more than one occasion.
Some have noted that the physical attractiveness of many of the women in this movie, their lack of injuries (for the most part) and the way the camera looks on them, is detrimental to the film’s feminist leanings. However, I’d argue that because the main women that Charlize Theron (who sports a dismembered arm) are in fact the wives of a warlord, it stands to reason that they would be kept physically attractive. Also, compared to a lot of movies, these women aren’t shot nearly as overtly sexy.
George Miller stated at Cannes that “There wasn’t a feminist agenda” to Mad Max: Fury Road. I say that that is excellent news. It means that this film which had no intentions of going out of its way to preach anything, treated its female characters with the respect they deserved.
And what’s more, like with Avengers: Age of Ultron I watched this sequel without having seen any previous movies and was never once lost. You don’t need any prior knowledge of the completely bonkers world of Fury Road.
Recommended Scenario: Whether you want a really good actioner, you want a stylistic thinker, or you want something completely different to anything around, this is for you.
If what I have written tells you that you would like this film, you can book tickets to see it at your local Cineworld here.
First off, I would like to thank you for introducing me to the term “dick pic.” While I have issues with the feminism surrounding MM, I am surprised to say that people are complain about the ways the woman are shot. The best comparison would be Game of Thrones.
Both take place in a world where women are second class citizens, but GoT takes every opportunity to show naked woman suffering. Think of all the scenes where naked woman are just lounging around like set dressing. When we finally get a chance for some full frontal nudity, Miller shoots it very discretely. Given the film’s “R” rating he would be perfectly justified in showing off all the goods so to speak, but he doesn’t. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
High on my must-see list.
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