Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Reel Preview - MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

In 1979, Australian director George Miller unleashed his wild vision of an untamed future in the form of the Mel Gibson-led MAD MAX, and then followed up the successful film with two sequels. This weekend, a new version of MAX roars into sight with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Here is everything you need to know about this highly anticipated film. 

What is this about? – In the year 2060, after the downfall of civilization, a loner named Max agrees to escort a small group of women across a desert landscape, while being pursued by a bloodthirsty band of savages and their souped-up killer war machines. 

Who stars? – Tom Hardy, who has thrilled audiences with his roles in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, WARRIOR, BRONSON, and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, plays the role of “Mad” Max Rockatansky…which was once inhabited by Mel Gibson. Hardy is joined by Charlize Theron (MONSTER), Nicholas Hoult (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny, also from FIRST CLASS), and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (TRANFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON). 

Who is directing? – George Miller, who just turned 70 this year, returns to helm the franchise that he created over 30 years ago. Miller’s recent output has been in animated family films as of late including the Oscar-winning HAPPY FEET (2006), and its 2011 sequel, along with BABE: PIG IN THE CITY (1998), and live-action films LORENZO’S OIL (1992), and the WITCHES OF EASTWICK (1987). 

Random Facts – Miller has been trying to bring a fourth MAD MAX film to screens for the last 25 years with Mel Gibson set to return. They were all set to shoot in 2001, but it was postponed due to the 9/11 attacks. By 2003 they were set to restart, but security restrictions halted production again (they were to film in Namibia), and Gibson lost interest after the cancellation * Once production picked up in 2006, Heath Ledger (Joker from THE DARK KNIGHT), was considered for the role of Max * Miller designed the film through storyboarding, which resulted in over 3,500 panels * Filming finally began in 2012 and wrapped a year later * Miller claims that 90% of the effects and stunt work, involving hundreds of souped-up trucks, cars, and motorcycles, were all practical (non-CG.

What to expect? –Starting with the director, if you’re going to reboot or remake (or expand) a franchise, you can’t be in better hands than the guy who started it all in the first place. Miller may be 70 years old but he knows the material and how to make it work, and his time in the animated film genre should certainly have taught him some delicate sensibilities over the years. Mel Gibson may have created an iconic character for the ages in the original role and seem irreplaceable, but if the franchise is to move forward then new blood is certainly needed (besides, even the original Bond got recast)…and there is no better new Max than Tom Hardy. Hardy is an elemental force in every film he appears in, and has the imposing physique and intimidating demeanor needed for the character. Miller’s dedication to practical effects, and thousands of fire-breathing vehicles thundering across the desert landscape is a breath of fresh air to those of us tired of non-threatening-looking CGI noise, and is a throwback to an earlier, more ambitious age of filmmaking. We can expect visual mastery and on-screen chaos, and hopefully some fun madness. 


MAD MAX: FURY ROAD opens May 15th

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