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Mad Max Fury Road: A Movie About Hope Presented as a Grand Spectacle of Metal & Fire [Review 2]

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I didn’t want to see Mad Max: Fury Road.    My friends who saw it raved about it (these were the same friends who liked Man of Steel) but were unable to tell me why they liked it.  I pried; they talked about the great action sequences, the special effects and how nice it looked.   These are not selling points to me.  They assured me it had a plot.  So I went just to find out what they were talking about.  And I liked it, they were right.  The action sequences were amazing, the special effects were fantastic and it was visually rich.

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

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How was it that a movie that was essentially a two hour chase scene held my interest the whole time?    I can’t tell you.  My best guess is that this movie knows what it is and does it perfectly.   It doesn’t try to be anything else.  It isn’t a love story, it isn’t a comedy, it isn’t sci-fi and it doesn’t even pretend.  It does one thing, the chase sequence, but the elements of the chase are surprising and varied.   It avoids being predictable.  The constant danger isn’t always the same, just when one immediate threat has passed another, completely different, threat arises.

Throughout the movie I tried to guess what story was about. I was invested in the characters and their story, I wanted them to survive (when did the writers find time in the script to create that empathy?)  It wasn’t about mere survival, it had to be about something more.   And it was.  This is a movie about hope – what it looks like when it isn’t there, what it looks like when it blossoms; what it looks like when it is dashed and then rekindled.

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Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t make too much sense and doesn’t need to.  It requires no explanation because it doesn’t give you a chance to ask.  It simply presents itself at a breakneck pace – showing not telling.   There wasn’t a lot of dialogue and what there was seemed unnecessary.  Except that there nothing was in this film that wasn’t necessary.  Everything served a purpose – the entire thing was lean and efficient.  It showed only what it needed to and then moved on.  What we didn’t see we had to guess, but there was so much to see at all times.  It was a grand spectacle of metal and fire, a circus on wheels going much too fast.

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