They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

Fast and Furious Road Four

There are a whole lotta good -- or at least interesting -- movies coming out between now and the end of 2015. In fact, we declared the Summer of 2015 to have started at the beginning of May with Avengers: Age of Ultron (DW) (LJ) rather than wait until Memorial Day. Especially as we still don't get a Will Smith action flick this year on Memorial Day once again. And as long as I am healthy, we aren't going to miss anything we'd like to see.

So it was that Mrs. Dr. Phil came up with a plan to do a movie in the middle of the week. (!) Sometimes we just meet up after work and hit the movies, but the timing of the shows was complicated. For our purposes, we picked a 4:30 show at Holland 7. So Mrs. Dr. Phil got home around 3:30pm and we headed out soon afterward. Complicating matters, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity Restore was supposed to pick up the old stove and refrigerator from our garage "sometime after lunch" and I had a 2pm conference call scheduled. The Restore people came at 1:12 and left at 1:20. The 2pm call came in at 1:40pm, go figure. But it all worked out.

After the movie, we settled on going out to Butch's in Holland and had a fabulous dinner -- I guess to celebrate NOT having a May Crisis this year (so far) (DW) (LJ). But we'll cover that in another post.

Mad Max: Fury Road 3D [R]
Holland 7 Theatre 5, 4:30pm, 2×$8.50

It's really hard to call Mad Max: Fury Road a sequel, or even the four movies as a series. In America, most of us learned about Mad Max not from the titular Australian low budget movie Mad Max (1979), but from The Road Warrior (1981). Made Mel Gibson a star. I only found out it was a sequel later -- this is pre-Internet times -- and rented Mad Max a long time later after we'd moved to Laurium and got a VCR (1986). But there's a huge divide between the collapsing society of Mad Max and the post-apocalyptic Road Warrior. And Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)? A whole lotta fun, but WAY over the top. But Tina Turner, man. Tina. Turner. And Master Blaster. And Bartertown. And Thunderdome. These movies either set back or paved the way for post-apocalyptic movies for decades.

And now we get Mad Max: Fury Road all these years later sans Mel Gibson. What are we to think? The good news? George Miller has done all four movies. So while they represent different budgets and eras, there is a certain continuity we expect from a Mad Max film and the new offering in 2015 -- 36 years after the first! -- does deliver on the promise.

Hell, pass the popcorn and watch. It's a terrific romp through the desert wastes of wherever run by wackos from whatever and featuring a whole lotta crazy improbable kitbashed vehicles and TONS of flames and explosions. Especially considering gasoline is supposed to be in such short supply.

Even better is how much of the film is done with good old fashioned, but updated with technology, practical effects. WIRED ran an article recently talking about the polecats swinging around on 25 foot poles on 45 mph cars racing through the desert. There is a significant bit of CGI work, but not where you think before you see the movie. You'll know it when you see it, though not because it is bothersome or poorly done.

To me, the funny thing is that Max is the least interesting character in the movie. Beset by demons and acting weird for the first part of the movie, he never had that controlled rage that Gibson brought.

The plot is both simplistic and confusing. Our archenemy is Bane the Lion Head, or something like that. With his own version of Master and throw in Baron Harkonnen for good measure. The Battle of the Three Warlords... or Four if you count the motorcycle guys with dynamite.

Where do these people get all the spare parts they need? And why do these vehicles run so well most of the time? And a crazy mix of surplus and shortage of gasoline, water and blood? On second thought, don't think. Especially don't think about the Physics. Just go with the flow.

Name another film with a Best Supporting role going to a pipe wrench...

The good news is that despite having seen three previous Mad Max flicks plus countless others, I found several times that where I thought the story was going to -- it didn't. In particular, I was struck by a scene which seemed straight out of The Book of Eli which simply did NOT follow that script. Yay.

Okay. So we know we're going to have brutality, crazed psycho warriors and steampunk welded upon steampunk with some wild car art thrown in for good measure. Check. The real surprise in this flick is trying to figure out the women. With breeder women and milk production, it would be easy to just chalk this up to The Usual Hollywood Misogyny. But in comments online there seems to be a big split, as well as big arguments about how successful they were in any of this.

However. I will point out that following Sigourney Weaver and Natalie Portman and a number of other actresses, Charlize Theoron wins the award for Best Fearless Kickass Action Hero Makeover. Melissa Jaffer has been playing Crazy Old Woman -- really, she's billed that way on one film in IMdB -- for years. (Can we get a really kick-ass action movie with Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johanson and Sigourney Weaver? Throw Kate Winslet in there as a chain smoking, camo wearing mercenary and I'll be there with the popcorn.)

But isn't this a Mad Max film? What about Mad Max I hear you shout? Eh. I really like Tom Hardy, but as far as I'm concerned, this just isn't Max. I'd almost rather pay money to see if Old Man Gibson could shake it off and don the jacket One Last Time. Except, I remember Indiana Jones 4...

That said, if you are into high-octane ultra violent and explody summer popcorn fare, this is your movie. And it looks pretty damned good in 3D, for those of you who can tolerate modern 3D movies.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans

Trailers: Existing trailer for Ant Man -- good cast, looks fun. Also, a new expanded trailer for Terminator: Genesis. Never trust loved ones who suddenly develop superpowers. Also, when another trailer starts out with a guy who is clearly some sort of All-American Hero Rescue Person, and he's apologizing for having a fight with The Woman He Loves, you know you're about to experience The End of the World and he's going to be kicking himself all over the place to try to rescue her so that their last conversation isn't Something They Will Regret Forever. Yup, it's a trailer for San Andreas. Overblown? Su-ure. Why not? But it looks one helluva lot better than that stupid John Cusack stinker from a couple of years ago. What was that? 2012? And who doesn't love watching California get destroyed One More Time With Feeling? Dwayne The Rock Johnson is fun.

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal
Tags: movies, reviews
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