Friday, July 10, 2015

At the Movies: "Fury Road"

At the Movies with Michael5000

Fury Road
George Miller, 2015.

imbd: 8.4 (imdb 250: #64 but settling as of 7/5/15)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh

Fury Road, like its predecessor Mad Max movies of the 1980s, is set in a dystopian future where the few remaining humans scrape a meager existence from the wasteland of a post-apocalyptic Earth. The film has lavished a lot of loving attention on art design, and this makes the technology of the broken future, bits and pieces cobbled and welded together from the scraps of industrial society, the real star of the show. The grotesque vehicles and the scorched landscapes they tear across are, in their best moments, a moving-picture vision of madness reminiscent of the nightmare landscapes of Bosch or Dali.

It would be easy to make too much of this. As good as Fury Road’s overall look is, the movie itself boils down to an extended chase scene punctuated by two short breaks for conversation, a beautifully choreographed fight, and a handful of moments when the action is momentarily interrupted to allow for 20 or 30 seconds of suspense, before the chase and its attendant gunplay and explosions get rolling again. Which is just fine, and to be sure Fury Road was lots of fun to watch on the big screen with Mrs.5000 and my father. It’s just that there’s just not very much to it aside from frenzied spectacle. And, as my father observed, frenzied spectacle “is kind of like swearing: it starts to lose its effect if you use it too often.”

It probably goes without saying that Fury Road makes no attempt whatsoever to stay within the bounds of credibility. It’s the kind of movie that explores, to quote Dad again, “how many times you can be thrown from a moving vehicle without getting a hangnail.” Dad cracks me up.

A key to success in an action movie is how well it preserves your understanding of where all of the characters are positioned relative to each other. For most of its running time, I could more or less make up what was happening in Fury Road’s ultraviolent parade, and so I remained fully immersed in the movie’s world. As it neared its big final climax, however, something failed – either the film’s editing or my own capacity to absorb information – and I could no longer tell why any given character was shooting, throwing things, or running bravely in that particular direction. At that point, I was just sitting in a big room watching light flickering on the wall for a few minutes.

Prognosis: Fury Road offers lots of shouting, chasing, shooting, grotesque imagery, dark humor, and explosions. I thought it was pretty fun. Depending on your taste, it might just be the perfect mid-summer treat.

Michael5000's imdb rating: 6.

Dali, Max, Bosch

1 comment:

mrs.5000 said...

You know, when this post went up, I wrote a witty little mini-review, then failed to record my comment properly. In synopsis: Movie loud. Not undiverting. Presence of women and occasional silence noted favorably. Praise for blogger's triptych, classical influences on composition of movie poster noted.