“There were some things that needed to be said even if the person you were saying them to didn’t understand; words that must be released from their trapped place where their flapping to get out could cause internal damage.”
In 1891 Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, a French artist, was one of the first to experiment with ‘double exposure’ - inserting himself in the same photograph twice. His friend was the real photographer, Henri served as a model
An brilliant action movie that forgot how to action movie.
Allow me to first preface my spiel by saying that this movie should never have been what it is. Fury Road might just be a one in a lifetime experience, a lining up of planets sort of scenario for cinema.
First off, in any other alternate dimension George Miller would have been laughed out of the studio head’s office and replaced by a hot up-and-coming or Abrams-like go-to director to film their potential cash cow. The man had his original three Mad Max, then Happy Feet, Happy Feet Two and Babe: Pig in the City on his resume. Studio’s make art but their goal is income, so they always look for big names and to follow proven formulas to bring home the bacon.
Combine the raising of Miller’s career from the dead with his insane methods of storytelling, social commentary, his unorthodox –well everything, and Mad Max is truly on par with Haley’s Comet.
Now, how did Millar achieved this miracle? Simply put, he threw away the rule book.
No longer did his lead actor need to be a hero, a savior, or even a protagonist. No longer did the leading lady specifically require the man to achieve her goals. No longer did a beautiful world need every detail paired with boring exposition like a dusty museum plaque explaining exactly what you’re looking at.
He also believed this could all take place during a giant 2-hour long car chase with non-stop, I dare you to try and take a breath, cranked to 11, action.
Perhaps my favorite part of the film is that Mad Max is the main character, but not necessarily does that make him the protagonist. He is not a champion to a specific cause, Furiosa is the inertia of the film. She is our protagonist, only her and the four women she is trying to bring to freedom are agents of change in this story. That’s not to say that Max is taking a back seat to this picture, he and Furiosa rely on each other equally for survival plain and simple. They work with each other’s strengths, but when it comes down to it, he’s the shoulder the gun rests on and she’s the one firing it.
Max’s role is simply to be our point of view. He, like the audience, is pulled into this insane environment with no explaining of what’s going on, and it’s brilliant. The world is so well built that you don’t need anything spelled out, you either can piece it together or you’re subtly clued in, but it, like the desert it’s comprised of, is unforgiving. Mad Max does not had a 30 minute first act to explain the situation, this is a masterclass of a film on showing and not telling. You hit the ground running and don’t look back, if you miss a clue, then oh well. And oh my god it is so refreshing.
The action. Yes, there were big explosions and cars being flipped and rammed into each other, but this was a stunt coordinators wet dream. This is how I imagine it went down at the studio:
“The film is 120 minutes and you have 90% of that to make the most batshit crazy awesome car chase ever filmed on screen. Oh and you have hundreds of vehicles to work with that are chasing them. Have fun.”
*stunt coordinator tears up while walking out the door*
“Wait, come back. Here’s more money.”
*stunt coordinator collapses into pool of his own tears*
Needless to say, the man did his job. But, the most important thing in terms of action is not how incredibly remarkable set-piece after set-piece was. The most impressive piece to this was how it was all filmed. With cinematography rivaling beauties like Skyfall, Mad Max made the most out of it’s locations and it’s sets. Every piece of rusted metal or speck of sand was included in the shot in a way to finish telling the story, to breathe life into this world. Even amidst the chaotic action, the beauty was not lost and notably nor were the viewers.
Lately, action movies have run the shaky-cam style into the ground. To essentially grab the audience by the shoulders and shake them whilst asking if they know what’s going on is bullshit. Between shaky-camera work and the 1.5 second maximum action film makers allow per shot, it’s a miracle anyone ever know’s whats going on.
Mad Max both separates itself from and accepts this rule of thought by doing the most important thing in film: making sure the viewers can see what the fuck is going on.
There is no shaky cam, but there are incredibly quick shots, but you know happened in each and everyone one of them because the action was already directed to the center of the shot. Ground breaking right? Fury Road doesn’t allow the audiences eyes to wander around and try to figure out where to rest them or find where the action is. Each cut is framed to allow your eyes to rest in the middle and voila the action comes to you. I’m looking at you Transformers.
Mad Max: Fury Road does everything the modern school of action movies tells it to do, but it tears out pages of the book that don’t work and writes notes over what’s salvageable. Hopefully by proving the doubters wrong we’ll see a new, better breed of action films on the horizon.
Mark Henry retires…. or does he? [June 17th, 2013]
At Elimination Chamber, “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry made his return to the WWE. For those who don’t remember how awesome he is beyond his in-ring performances, watch this video. It’s one of the most well-written, well-performed segments that the WWE has ever produced. You genuinely feel sympathy, compassion, and gratefulness for Mark Henry’s career…. and then WHAM!