(Planet Me)
Monday, May 25, 2015
Mad Max : Fury Road

At last. At long fucking last.

I'm sick and tired and bored of tedious, focus-group, bland shit being shovelled at me. Of terrified marketing men, and visionless fucking idiots shovelling 200,000,000 at films which have less personality and intelligence than my cat. Of my cinemas being filled with films that scream loud and signify nothing, with stories not worth telling, and cynically designed to do nothing more than extract money from people and steal their time. Anyone of a dozen, humourless, brooding superheroes lamenting their enormous powers, written by idiots who've not had enough life experience to know anything other than whimsy and bland, unintelligent repetition of previous stories, and seeing hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at a tale not worth telling in a movie that doesn't move me.

Mad Max : Fury Road” is the most obvious, full on, totally fucking crazy action movie I've seen in years. Only “Machete Kills” comes anywhere near it. It's a film where you don't set your watch by the obligatory action scene every 20 minutes. A film where the action actually drives the plot, and has a purpose, and the plot moves in a straightforward, linear fashion : no convoluted aren't-we-clever bollocks from Bob Orci, no huge plot holes you could crash a War Rig through, just a simple, straightforward and driving plot that operates in terms of logic, sense, and with a singular purpose. It's a tale worth telling – about a compulsion to escape an oppressive dictatorship, for a desperate quest for freedom – and anyone who has ever felt trapped in a situation will know the lengths to which one will go to achieve freedom, even if it is a meagre freedom.

It's not a reboot as such. You don't need to know anything about the name “Mad Max”. It's a man haunted in a post-water apocalypse. It's a goddamn cinematic masterpiece : not because it's particularly amazing, but because it is possessed with a determined, singular vision, undiluted by bland, and stupid, focus groups and unafraid to dream big. What is the point of all this effort, if not to express your ideas? What is the point of a film, if not to use all the tools at your disposal? Mad Max isn't just entertainment, it's not just a movie, it's a spectacle, a huge vision writ large, the kind of movie they don't make anymore – and they bloody well should. Technology has never been so capable, and yet the limits of ones imagination show clearly how painfully crippled the imagination of most filmmaking is. What's that? Yet another alien robot planning on destroying the world? This happens every fucking week, and it's boring.

Finally, Mad Max is cinematic geek catnip for another reason. There are no ridiculous ten minute CGI tracking shots where the camera flies through the air like some kind of superhuman drone, no scenes where Max knocks out 20 bad guys with a single strategically placed kick each in slo-mo, no tricks like that that break the wall and enter the impossible valley of unlimited possibility. Every shot looks like there was a camera, on a crane, in the moment, as some insane person drive a huge truck through the air. The vehicles move exactly the way that a huge lump of steel going at OhMyGodMilesPerHour would if it was flying through the air. It is real. It is actual cinema, not stupid bloody cartoons created in an edit suite in Silicon Valley.

Everything about this movie may seem to be a list of what it isn't, but what passes for modern cinema is dreary and dull, and despicable, braindead crap like Transformers embarrasses mankind and humiliates the medium of film. Mad Max is an actual film ,with a compellingly obvious motive, and real life, in camera action. It may sound awful that the bar is set so low these days that a decent plot and good stunts elevate the film above the vast majority of sludge thrown at the screen, but by any standard, “Mad Max : Fury Road” is simply one of the best action films of the past thirty years.

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