Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road: a blockbuster too far

It would be wholly unreasonable of me to go to a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road expecting to get a character-driven drama - or to complain afterwards because it isn't one. In fact, given the nature of the story being told, the spectacular 3D blockbuster mode is absolutely the right one for a Mad Max movie. The film has spectacular production design - the villains, weapons, cars, steering wheels, and what-have-you are all really interesting to look at and watch in action; and it is not without ideas, almost all of which are perfectly integrated with the design and the action, not tacked on discursively or such. Plus the action sequences, thrilling chases, and so forth are all brilliantly realized. I don't deny that it's a lot of fun to watch and I don't mean to be casting too much of a dissenting voice here. I went because I had to, I enjoyed it because - well, it kind of feels like I had to do that, too, but I did appreciate the level of craft on hand, and I was genuinely engaged on SOME level (albeit a pretty shallow one) all the way through. Who knows, I may even see it again sometime. I'm happy to hear that sequels are in the works, and I'm happy George Miller has scored such a huge hit with this film, so late in his career.

But you know, I really, really don't need any more giant blockbusters, folks. The bigger and better they get, the more they're wearing me out. I also "had to" watch The Hobbit (all three movies), The Hunger Games (or at least the first two) and that Godzilla thing - all of which are also stories well-suited to this mode of filmmaking, but really, it's enough. It's exhausting. It's kind of like how I used to feel on Halloween after the thirteenth candy bar. I do not need my block busted any more for a few years. Let's hope there are no more movies like this that I "have to" see for awhile.

(For my money, for recent Australian post-apocalyptic cinema, I'd recommend The Rover any day).

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