I have to be honest with y’all. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this day to come ever since I first saw Mad Max Fury Road this past May. I’ve seen it not once, not twice, not even three times, but five triumphant times in the theater with one of them being a gigantic IMAX screen presentation. Like a preacher to his gospel, I’m a natural born marketer for this feature. Through natural selection I was born to promote this one, and rightfully so because this is the dope, action movie event of the year. Others have tried to imitate, but none this year can ever come close to matching all the brilliance and insanity Mad Max Fury Road has to offer. It contradicts that old saying, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. The proof is in Mad Max Fury Road pudding. Now if for ANY reason you’re reading this Blu-ray review before September 1st and this feature is still playing in your local neighborhood cinema, drop everything and go see this on the biggest screen possible right the hell now. Then come back of course and finish reading this Blu-ray review, pre-order it, etc. Ladies and gentlemen…start and REV your engines…I present to you Mad Max Fury Road on Blu-ray.
Before we even get into chatting about all the reasons why Mad Max Fury Roadis “50 Shades of F#%king Awesome” I want to spend a moment reflecting upon the film’s theatrical trailers over the past year. All I can say is F YEAH! You want to know how to do a trailer right and pack seats? Study these trailers! They made me feel like I was reliving my childhood all over again. I had not seen post apocalyptic, insane Rated-R action like that since the 80’s. God bless these trailers! Like KFC does to chicken, George Miller and wife does to trailers. They do them RIGHT! It’s like someone took that final action sequence in Neil Marshall’s 2008 Doomsday and made a feature length film about the lunacy of it all. In other words, it’s about fricking time! Come on! Check your brain at the door, buckle up and enjoy this wild ride with me. This is the off-the-wall completely insane world of George Miller’s MAD MAX FURY ROAD!
To say that this film has taken awhile to make would be like saying our planet’s sun is going to overheat tomorrow. It took a hell of a long time to make this fourth entry in Miller’s Mad Max franchise. There’s actually a span of 30 years between this one and the last one with Mel Gibson. Holy hell! I can’t believe it has been that long. Add ten years to that number and you just computed my age. That means I was only ten years old when Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome came out, but the weird thing is I remember it like it was only yesterday. And there was Tina Turner in it too!
Mad Max Fury Road is directed, produced and co-written by George Miller. However, the real shocker here is it’s the first Mad Max film not to feature Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky, with Bane replacing him. Err…I meant to say Tom “Fricking” Hardy! It also stars Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Hux, Zoe Kravitz as Toast, the beautiful Rosie Huntington-Whitely as Splendid, Abbey Lee as Dag, Courtney Eaton as Fragile, Jennifer Hagan as Miss Giddy, Hugh Keays-Byrne (from the original Mad Max) as Immortan Joe and the fan favorite of the film, singer/songwriter/performer iOTA as Coma-Doof Warrior. The cast is further rounded out by well-known Australian actors John Howard and Richard Carter, supermodel Megan Gale, Angus Sampson, Joy Smithers, Gillian Jones, Melissa Jaffer and Melita Jurisic.
So I guess depending upon what version of the tale you want to believe, plans for this fourth film of the Mad Max series hit financial difficulties and the project spent around 25 years in what we people in the film business refer to as “development hell.” I definitely know the meaning to that word. Some days I feel like my original Amy draft is literally going “take me to the grave.” However, I digress.
Mad Max Fury Road takes place several years after a series of catastrophic worldwide events went down, hence why I referenced the words post apocalyptic up above. For lack of a better term Max is a former highway patrolman. And quite honestly, there’s no way to prepare you for what’s about to go down because right out of the gate in the very first few minutes of the film…ALL HELL LITERALLY BREAKS LOOSE. And quite honestly, I mean that in a very good way! Mad Max is on the run! However, we all know from the trailers he spends sometime being captured. That’s a given and a necessity in our story.
You cannot keep a good man down. Despite being used as a human blood bag, yes I said a “human blood bag (one of the many, many reasons I love this film), Max finds a way to escape. He also finds his path crossed and fate intertwined with that of a female we simply know as Furiosa (Theron). I guess you could say that Furiosa has her own agenda, but when you see all that goes down, she’d be a fool not to include Max in any of her adventures with the merry maidens. Let’s just say they can both be of benefit to each other. And so the chase/hunt is on full sped ahead with the tyrannical Immortal Joe and his band of vehicular misfits always just a click behind. Like Flo Rida sings, “it’s going down.” Did I mention this was a chase movie? Oh brotha! You’re in for one hell of a ride as the action almost never lets up, and when it does, it is thankfully only momentarily for your benefit…to catch ya breath.
So let’s talk about story here before we go further. Haha. What story?! Now don’t get wrong, I do hear grumblings about people talking about the simplicity of the story, but watch this film and tell me without smiling giddily that you really care about it being a simple story here. C’mon! This hits all the beats. You can even ask John Truby here. However, this is Mad Max people! This is vehicular homicide like the old school Twisted Metal games of years ago brought to life on the big screen. If George Miller impressed you with his action chops 30 years ago, just wait to you see the new bag of tricks he has in store for you here (it’s a wonder no one got killed doing these insane stunts). Think the fun of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but on crack like the zaniness of Crank! Two hours of your life will never pass by as fast as it will watching Mad Max Fury Road. You can take that to the bank and cash it!
Seriously, it’s the runtime that chokes me up and makes me all teary eyed here. They say the film is 120 minutes long, but I’m here to tell you it feels like it was less than an hour. Never has a film went by that fast for me. I guess that is a good thing, but I freak out the whole runtime. Why do I freak out? I’m glad you asked! I freak out because I am scared to blink or momentarily rest my weary eyes for just a second in fear that I might miss something spectacular. Needless to say, this movie makes me exhausted, but the exhilaration and giddiness I feel throughout make it so worth it.
So what movie has a simplistic plot, inconsequential dialog and is much more furious than any Fast and Furious movie you can name? If you guessed Mad Max Fury Road, DING…DING, you’re a WINNER! This film is literally going to knock pictures off walls with it’s Blu-ray presentation. I’m good because I have nothing on my walls, but for those that do. You have been warned. However, I digress, because I’m getting ahead of myself here. We have still have some more to talk about.
With all the crazy action and incredible stunts I have still yet to mention the fun factor. Yes, Hardy and gang all did well with their performances, but the real star of this show is the “fun” to be had. It came in all shapes and sizes here from the relentless action sequences to the comedy and humor found in simple novelties like a traveling heavy metal guitarist (iOTA) to the ways the characters met their unfortunate demise. Yes, it is the 1980’s all over again! I am transported back to a memorable moment in time after six watches under my belt now and for the first time in a long time, I feel like a kid over and over. Thank you George.
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to cover two final topics before I let go of your uncontrollable attention span anyway, the feature’s score and the 3D presentation. Like 300: Rise of an Empire, the filmmakers were wise to take advantage of the rhythm and sonic talents of Junkie XL. And on the topic of post converted 3D, you won’t hear me say this often, but it is well worth it. There are many moments of fun mayhem to be had here and I was shocked to learn they benefited from the third-dimension added in post. I jumped a few times when things popped out at me. Sucker! So I can only imagine the superiority of the 3D presentation has been carried over to the 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack also offered for this film from Warner Bros.
So what’s the lesson learned in all this mumbo jumbo up above that you treaded through of mine? Well if you learned only one thing here, I hope it’s this. Get off your a$$, DON’T walk, DON’T, run, but RACE YOUR CAR to a theater immediately this weekend and see Mad Max Fury Road. In the honorable words of infamous Nike marketing, JUST DO IT! And of course, have the time of your life in doing so! This is what summer movies are supposed to be! Anyone still doubting those unbelievable trailers like I was? DON’T FRET! Mad Max Fury Road DELIVERS!
- Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Clarity/Detail: They make mention in the one extra that dust is their friend during the filming of this feature. Dust is our friend indeed! Every single speck of dust is accounted for in this demo reference presentation. I mean where do I even begin in this section? Clarity and sharp detail is visible every which way you look in every frame. From the pasty white cracks in the paint on the bodies of the War Boys to the scars, pores and individual beads of sweat on the actors, you feel like you are in the desert in this one. It gets that hot. But wait! The detail doesn’t stop there. Oh no! Every set piece or prop is razor sharp throughout not to mention the rust on the vehicles, scars on body and the fine embossed, detail in Immortan Joe’s simple logo found pretty everywhere. Yes, the list goes on. I could concoct paragraphs of endless text going into how amazing things look here, but I’m sure you get the picture (PUN INTENDED INDEED!).
- Depth: The depth of field in this presentation is equally remarkable from the vastness of the Citadel to the desert plains that seem to go on forever. Because of the sun drenched environments the character all pop three-dimensionally against the backgrounds further separating the actors from the background. You won’t be disappointed at all here.
- Black Levels: Black levels are all deep, inky and comic book looking throughout. I have absolutely no complaints here either.
- Color Reproduction: Remember I mentioned sun drenched up above? So tell me. What happens when you film outdoors? Sets, vegetation and characters are all bright and vibrant throughout. Don’t get me wrong everything still looks very much post apocalyptic, but it’s not all doom and gloom like say the tonal qualities of Man of Steel. The desert sands come to life on their own thanks to the color, much akin and reminiscent of say the fictional planet of Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope.
- Flesh Tones: The characters can get hot from the sun’s harsh lighting at times, but fret not. It’s nothing distracting at all. In fact, it helps gets you in the mood and puts you right in the middle of things here. After all, it’s a desert. Everyone’s supposed to be hot and sweaty. This presentation makes no excuses for itself.
- Noise/Artifacts: There is absolutely nothing at all in the print here that will distract you from enjoying this reference visual presentation to the fullest.
- Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Parisian French, Thai, Chinese, Korean
- Dynamics: Like the video presentation I discussed in detail up above, the audio is equally impressive in the demo reference category kind of way. From the quietest of lulls in the very few moments of rest to the balls out, high octane, adrenaline rush of the chase scenes, this audio track is off the charts in the dynamics category. Every shriek/shrill, tire spinning in the sand and catapult through the sky is accounted for and rendered perfectly throughout here. You feel like you are in the race/chase, but more about that down below as we explore the beating you’ll take from the LFE and the surround scape all around you in the rears. However, I can’t go on without mentioning how the score is almost like a central character in itself, but you get it. Quite frankly, everything about this film and Blu-ray presentation rocks. Even the little recreated nuances like Immortan Joe’s breathing literally takes your breath away (no pun intended this time).
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is like a secondary character here always punching you in the gut with every punch or blow the characters take not to mention the explosions, car crashes, engine revs, THE DRUMS (ra ta tat tat) and whatnot that will rock your world throughout this feature.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Here’s what will put you in the middle of things…the surround sound! From the cars and thunder sticks flying by you to waters flowing down the Citadel’s bone dry walls, everything that happens concerns you the viewer. Why? It’s simple. You’re in the middle of everything here. This surround track makes sure of it. And make no mistake, Junkie XL has you right where he wants you. The infectious score bleeds through the rears and never ceases in sucking you right into every jaw dropping action scene happening right in front of you yet always exploding all around you. Perhaps one of the most bad-a$$ employment of the surround speakers is right in the very beginning when the opening frames are still black…the voices inside Max’s head, which haunt him throughout.
- Dialogue Reproduction: I never have a problem hearing every spoken word throughout no matter how much Tom Hardy mutters to himself. The dialogue is always loud, clear and prioritized throughout.
Mad Max Fury Road on Blu-ray contains over 90-minutes of high-octane special features, but where of where is this black and white version of the film that was touted many months ago not to mention a very sorely missing audio commentary. I think it actually would have been quite cool to see the movie presented in feature length, but with the green screen behind it all so we can see what’s all real and what’s obviously not. You picking up what I’m dropping? Nonetheless, when it comes to the extras department in this Blu-ray Combo Pack you cannot have your cake and eat it too. However, I’m fine with it because I already have the movie of the year on the most pristine HD format available today. Everything else we will go over below is just icing on the cake. Let us not forget though, Mad Max Fury Road on Blu-ray does come with a voucher inside the case redeemable for the feature film in Digital HD (UltraViolet only). So that should count for something, eh? There’s also an included DVD, which would be perfect for the kids in the minivan, if I only had either of those. Alright, let’s not stall out here. Let’s press forward, put the pedal to the metal and talk about everything you’ll find here within the world of supplemental features.
- Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road (HD, 28:38) – Although this one is a nice healthy length clocking in a little over 28 minutes, I’d pay $10 more to have an edition where this extra is two hours long. I can bake in the genius of these filmmakers here all day long. So in this one the cast, crew and stunt people all discuss the movie, what makes it so special and of course those death defying stunts. It’s amazing how different Charlize looks with hair in this extra. Haha. A lot of ground is covered, no pun intended, in these 28 short minutes here from the stunts: rigging, pole cats from Vegas and of course all the real crashes to the writing process: 3,500 panels around a room, all the endless storyboards and a discussion how the first half of this film is the chase and the latter is the race. Start your engines, peeps! This first extra is explosive and worth the price of admission right off the starting line. We also get to explore the exotic desert world of Namibia, Africa, filming on the move all the time and I know I already mentioned it, but it’s worth mentioning yet again, all the stonework and real crashes within here that makes this film as minimal as possible in the CGI world. Hell to the yeah!
- Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels (HD, 22:37) – This extra is obviously all about the cars, the uniqueness of them all and of course how loud they are. Hell yeah! I keep telling all these tree huggers in Austin, TX how stupid they are for thinking electric and hybrid vehicles are our future. When the future dystopia hits, I’ll be driving around just fine with my gas powered V8 muscle car. From the mere drawings to the finished products, everything is on display here including V12 motors. OMG! I’m in love! George Miller says that the vehicles are really like the extension of the wardrobe for the actors and compares to how in Westerns cowboys have their favorite horses. How true, huh? The real functionality of these vehicles is simply amazing. Okay. I’ll stop my gushing over the cars. Haha. Rest assured though, they go through every vehicle that’s in the film here and spend a little more time on the more important ones, including the Doof Wagon.
- The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa (HD, 11:18) – This one is all about the characters of Max and Furiosa with kind words from George Miller and even how Mel Gibson felt about Hardy playing the titular character. George told Charlize how he wanted to find an iconic female character that could stand next to Max. Charlize said her character’s plight is the ultimate in revenge. Tom and Charlize also chat about how their characters are connected in the story. They also talk about how isolating and silent the desert was to shoot in.
- The Tools of the Wasteland (HD, 14:26) – This one explores the amount of detail that’s in this extraordinary set and all the individual pieces that make it all up. It’s amazing how all the junk you see in this extra is repurposed for all the set props, steering wheels, weapons, you name it, that you’ll see and recognize in this film. Charlize even talks about how she came to the decision to save her head for this feature. That was quite unexpected to find here, but very welcomed. It was interesting to see how they created and used fake chains. Much to my surprise though, the Doof guitar is real and actually plays! Immortan Joe’s outfit is awesome, by the way! I’m just saying.
- The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome (HD, 11:11) – The extensive workshops the five girls went through to commit to these roles was quite remarkable. They were basically trained to be a five headed hydra. It was also amazing to hear these girls talk about how deep and serious they took their roles and their prep work/considerations. They talked about how cold it was some days in the desert and it was funny to see them jumping around to keep warm. Haha. Rosie cracked me up a few times, but it was hysterical how she said it took her six showers sometimes to get all the sand off. By the end, the girls all became friends and bonded with each other. This is a pretty heart warming extra, contrary to the sexy one I thought it would be going in.
- Fury Road: Crash & Smash (HD, 4:02) – Here we are treated to behind the scenes video and raw footage from the film. There’s no rhyme or reason to what you see here so just enjoy it! As the title implies, there’s a lot of crashing and smashing go on here! And the best thing is there’s no CGI to be found here! There’s even a helicopter taking it all in!
- Deleted Scenes (HD) – Sadly there’s no Play All functionality baked into the menu here, but there’s also only three deleted scenes to be found here so it’s not really a big deal. After taking these scenes in, I stand by with the decision to cut these. They are totally unnecessary and add nothing to the story. The three deleted scenes are:
- “I Am a Milker” (:32) – Here they pick a new milk mother! FYI…there’s nudity here!
- “Turn Every Grain of Sand!” (1:49) – There was almost a human sacrifice here, but it ends up with the War Boys being encouraged to find our good guys courtesy of a quick Immortan Joe speech.
- “Let’s Do It” (:59) – This final deleted scene kicks off the third act’s climatic action battle.
I shouldn’t spend this final paragraph of my review trying to sell you on Mad Max Fury Road. Oh no! You should have had multiple orgasms already and be practically salivating for summer to nearly be over and that precious September 1st date, the day after my birthday (gifts accepted), to finally be here. There’s nothing I can do or say to prepare you for all the goodness in store within this Warner bros. Blu-ray release. This is a required purchase for your home media library, one to enjoy over and over throughout the years to come. I’m not sure how Mr. Miller can ever top this one, but there are rumors of Tom Hardy being signed to two sequels and the latest one I heard was even a Furiosa spin off. Whatever happens, come what may. George Miller already has my money as far as I’m concerned. So here’s what I want you to do. Whatever you may have in your glass right now, I don’t care, but I want you to raise it up as I make a toast. Here’s to what may end up being the number one film on Top Ten lists everywhere this year and what definitely will go down as the the most bad-a$$ Blu-ray release of the year. Here’s to Mad Max Fury Road. Pre-order this high octane baby now!
Mad Max Fury Road
Infiltrates Blu-ray 9/1 w/
High-Octane Action and Thrills!