Mad Max: Fury Road. Visual Feast.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. A Visual Feast.
It is rare to experience a film that excites you with almost morbid, sordid adrenaline, which is almost twisted, and enchants you with overwhelming synchrony. This is what mastermind George Miller at 70 has created with “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Honoring is cinematic style, I will not use many words myself but let the artists express and narrate some highlights of this already, cult movie.
MMVox: You went from an almost minimal post-apocalyptic film to a feast of decadence, what was your purpose with this new film?
“The attraction to work on these Mad Max movies, they are like westerns on wheels; a very simple, elemental world is going forward into the past really, and we go back almost into a medieval time, we got simple figures and the landscape clear to understand the story”.
MMVox: What was your visual approach?
“We had a rule: because this is a wasteland it doesn’t mean people can’t make beautiful things, even when you go to impoverished places you see people make beautiful toys, a Paleolithic man makes cave paintings, and so everybody whatever they find in the wasteland is like repurposed and you have vehicles, wheels, beautiful things--they are almost like religious artifacts. And also the desert itself: a lot of post apocalyptic movies in the 30’s tended to desaturate the color. In this case, a dessert with the blue sky made the color richer”.
“I like to call movies visual music and to me this is a mixture of visual rock and roll and opera. Is very operatic, it’s a feast for the eyes”.
Miller kept intact the premise of the franchise, and took the action genre into a fury road of the spectacular. British actor Tom Hardy is the new Max Rockatansky, a character with existential instincts, more vulnerable than grandiose. Far from a superhero, Hardy’s Mad Max is a man with a primative instinct, and only that: survive.
MMVox: What was important to keep from the original Max and what did you want to do differently when giving him life?
Tom Hardy: “ I think it is important that we were here to transmit George Miller’s vision: what was important for him to keep was his silhouette, and the symbol; then he had meditations on and developed this character in his head and boarded it into a new world into a new arena to develop a more Mad Max post apocalyptic world and landscape. What was new was the new x of that world () the original Mad Max was a police officer and this is more a permutation of being an operator of a military police, sort of a forces police type.
He still has the same leather jacket but there’s an upgrade with the vest and the earpiece”.
And the female power in this endeavor is all new: the leadership of Imperator Furiosa played by Charlize Theron makes this reinterpretation updated, and more interesting to watch. She is as relevant, if not more perhaps, than the central figure that gives the name to the franchise. In Miller’s words: “In all stories people are in conflict with something. In this one it’s human cargo: the 5 wives. So they needed a champion, it couldn’t be a man, stealing wives from another man… so she was a female road warrior”.
MMVox: Did you find it empowering and engaging to portray this character in a very physical environment?
Charlize Theron: “The experience was a really great one to have, I felt I was on a set with filmmakers and other actors and working on a story that really pushed me. I think as an actor you are constantly looking for that: something that can really challenge you. This stuff is so out of your control that you really don’t know what is going to happen afterwards. I think for me I am making a big point to know that I am taking a job for all the good reasons for me because at the end of the day it is the only thing I have control over. We shot for over 100 days. When you are working on a film that is physical you have to transform your body; you are just exhausted but the story takes place in an environment where all of these people are emotionally drained and how they survive in the story is so harsh that it all comes into place at the end of the day”.
Part of the experience was Miller’s ability to rely on the film narrative, telling a story with the camera opposed to using a wordy script:
George Miller: I wanted to make a movie as Alfred Hitchcock said that don’t have to read the subtitles in japan, so we laid the movie out as a one large storyboard before we even wrote the screenplay so it plays more with the vision as opposed to something relying on the dialogue.
Nicholas Hult’s character brings hints of naïve and humanity to the mayhem. As Nux, he is capable of the impossible, he brings tenderness to the horrid and provides an uncertain relieve.
Nichholas Hult: “It was tricking reading the script. This one wasn’t even a script, it was like a 300 hundred comic book you flip and there’s an outline of dialogue, not that much dialogue, you see an image of your character and then a vehicle, just kind of flip and figure out, and then when we started to go towards the film then George showed more of the environment that we where going to go, like this toxic storm. You can’t quite prepare for how it all comes together. He is remarkable, with his cameras, there where cameras and I don’t know what is going on and puff! It’s incredible.
There’s very little acting in some way; just that euphoria to play around with”.
The excitement in the movie theater was contagious. You could feel the energy of viewers and wonder, how was the energy on the set?
Tom Hardy: “Everything you see happened. You may speed it up or slow it down or add a different color to it. Everything is articulated with the vehicles or stunts. The cars being smashed up or people getting hurt, that actually happened. 85% was not CGI. It’s an incredible feat to do and I think that George has created a great epic action movie. I believe [the audience] will look and ask how did you manage to pull that off? And how did you do that?
MMVox: Which films nurtured the original Mad Max and the new ones?
END All the action movies, even from Buster Keaton to the chariot chase in Ben Hur from the 50’s as a magnificent action piece, movies like Bullets and French Connection they influence the earlier ones and now movies are getting faster and faster so I relay like these movies by directors that pay a lot of attention to the clear special geography. Sometimes movies are really fast and you don’t understand what happens, in this one, I wanted to make it really clear so you really sit back and go along with the ride.
There are so many interesting aspects about this production that could keep me typing on the keyboard and you reading on the screen. But to appreciate the “ouvre” it is worth experiencing it in a movie theater. If an image is worth a thousand words, and there are around… 24 stills per second in film, about 29 in video… how many words is “Mad Max: Fury Road” worth in 120 minutes? What a lovely film!
From my interviews conducted @ Siren Studios in LA on April 30th.