You gotta love Max. Mad Max, that is—one of the great, enduring antiheroes of SF film, first introduced to the world in George Miller’s iconic film MAD MAX by a very young Mel Gibson back in 1979. Tormented by guilt, incoherent with grief, he fought for revenge, and ultimately survival, in a world as bleak and empty as his soul. The images of that solitary human lost in a sea of sand and blood, pursued by the hounds of hell, are burned into our brains.
So the question is, why would Miller remake his own film thirty years later in the new MAD MAX: FURY ROAD? The short answer is that the new film is not really a reboot of the original film at all. The storyline is different, though it is clear Max is the same character, plagued by the same demons from his past. Miller has said that this film is a “revisiting” of the MAD MAX universe, updating Max’s character and putting him in new circumstances.
But astute fans of the old Max will notice details—his leg brace still supports a knee that was shattered by a gunshot in ROAD WARRIOR, his “uniform” is still missing one sleeve ripped away by paramedics to treat a wound in the first film. And Tom Hardy shows all of the pain, grit and survival instinct of Mel Gibson’s Max. With even less talking, if that’s possible.
The real answer to why Miller would consider doing this is that modern film technology and a bigger budget allowed him to take this MAX to, well, the max. From the opening scene to the last this film is a jaw-dropping, pulse-pounding, gear-grinding, flame-spitting, bodies-flying, screaming, unrelenting thrill ride. The variety of vehicles and weaponry is astounding. The sheer volume and inventiveness of mayhem is mind-boggling. The desert is dryer and vaster. The heat more inescapable.
Is there a plot? Uh, barely. Dialogue? Minimal. But who cares? Bring on the pole boys! (If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen these crazed characters who cling to long poles at the front of trucks for the purpose of leaping onto enemy vehicles—at ninety miles an hour, mind you.)
Okay, so that’s not really fair. The film does have Charlize Theron, who is a pleasure to watch anytime and even more so here. She does a great job as an action heroine—every bit as tough and wordless as Hardy’s Max. But when the story calls for her to let go—once and only once—she makes us believe it. Nicely done. I think I’m in love.
There is some symbolic stuff about bodily fluids/waters of life, etc.—the essential liquid in this MAX is not gasoline, but water—and there is a decent little subplot that explores the idea of redemption, something that Max might be in need of, of course. But it’s best not to think too deeply when approaching this film. Go in with your bucket of popcorn, buckle up and enjoy the ride. It’s well worth the price of admission.
YIPPEE-KI-AY AT RT IN DALLAS!
Laurie’s going to give you the complete lowdown on our adventures at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas last week, but I thought I’d give you a few of my observations here. This was my first RT and I noticed a few things:
--RT is a lot less “formal” than the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Except for the Awards Ceremony, there are no luncheons and speeches. Instead there are parties—the first night barbecue, a Steampunk bash, a supernatural night and, of course, the awards night gala. Whew! That’s a lot of partying, even for me! I did miss the opportunity to sit down at lunch with complete strangers and make new friends, which RWA allows us to do. Fortunately, I had my Spacefreighters crewmates and bunch of SFR Brigaders I hadn’t met face-to-face before to spend time with and get to know.
--RT is geared toward readers, with a lot of activities—like Karaoke with the Cover Models—just for them. I think that’s fun, but for a newbie author, I found them a little less useful as an opportunity for readers to get to know me. Linnea Sinclair’s Intergalactic Bar and Grille Party has filled that gap for SFR lovers, bringing readers and writers together for a good time at RT for a number of years. It was a blast again this year! We need more events like that to attract readers to SFR.
--Finally, the highlight of RT for me was getting to meet my wonderful agent Michelle Johnson face-to-face for the first time. We spent a lot of time together and found out we have a lot in common outside “the office.” What a terrific confirmation of something I suspected all along!
Oh, and, uh, cowboys. It was Texas, after all.