Like many moviegoers, once Summer kicks in and we have massive popcorn flicks coming out, I get pretty excited. There is nothing like a good superhero movie, or disaster flick, or whatever animated comedy with sights set to delight. Yet this summer there is something that has had me giddy for years - literally. The very second I heard about MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, the idea of returning to this post-apocalyptic world had my movie loving heart in massive anticipation. And now, with only a couple weeks away, MAD MAX is about to return. The thought of seeing what the great George Miller has in store is a truly electrifying one!
While this particular chapter has been discussed for a number of years, once the trailer was finally unveiled, my excitement shot through the roof. Add to that the casting of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, with Miller continuing his saga, it was near impossible to wait for as long as we have. There are more thrills in that two minute or so trailer than nearly every movie heading our way this entire year. So could our expectations be too high? As crazy as it may sound, I don’t think so. After all, our own Jake Dee voted this as the number one most anticipated genre movie of the summer and I couldn’t agree more.
The series itself is a brutal and original saga that manages to paint a bleak world view, while still entertaining in the bizarre with humor and heart. In some ways this franchise feels similar to THE EVIL DEAD - another great series of genre flicks. We have a lone hero who must contend with a few crazed desert denizens - or demonic entities in EVIL DEAD - and he always comes to the reluctant rescue of somebody. And aside from the safer than norm - yet still enjoyable - BEYOND THUNDERDOME, there is a vicious and intense fight for survival that Max must contend with. If the sequel is anything like it appears to be, it will not even be close to a safe and kid friendly adventure. If it can even slightly come close to the brilliance of THE ROAD WARRIOR, then we have something truly special.
For a time, I would have never expected to want any other actor to take on Max. No matter what the public opinion of Mel Gibson is nowadays, he was one of the most charismatic and intense action stars around. And while it would have been amazing to see him in the world today, it makes a lot of sense to sort to recreate this iconic role, and who better to do that than Tom Hardy. The actor continues to take on challenging roles, and quite frankly he is one of my personal favorites. If anybody can play this guy, it is Hardy, plus he strikes me as a little crazy as well - and I mean that as a compliment in every sense.
And then there is George Miller. Perhaps it is because of how he is used to working in this universe, but the fact that the director is making a movie with real stunts and effects without an overload of CGI is a huge plus. It is damn near impossible to avoid in this day and age the abundance of computer generated effects. So the idea of sitting in a theatre watching real cars crash into each other with stuntmen taking on impossible stunts is absolutely invigorating! Miller has an uncanny way of bringing this post-apocalyptic universe to glorious life, and he has done so in each of the previous films. And yes, I would add BEYOND THUNDERDOME to that list, but perhaps that one is simply nostalgia and a love for that Tina Turner song.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but I think we do need a another hero, and that hero is MAD MAX. I can’t wait to once again see the dark, gritty and violent R-rated vision which director George Miller has brilliantly created. Give me Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron! Give me over-the-top action! And give me George Miller returning to live action filmmaking and showing them all how it can be done! Bring on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD… Opening on May 15! Even two weeks feels like a lifetime of damnation without this movie in my life.