Prior to the month of May 2015, I had never seen a single film in the Mad Max franchise. I’ve always known of the series and its impact, I just never got around to them.
Then came the trailers for the fourth film, Mad Max: Fury Road. From first glance it certainly looked exciting, yet since I had no familiarity with the series, if I didn’t see it, no big deal. Sometime in April I got Mad Max on Blu-Ray from my local FYE for $5. I figured why not? It sat on my shelf still unopened in its plastic. One day while waiting for the train to go to work it was available for streaming on the Comcast Xfinity app and I attempted to watch it while on the train. Yet I noticed that I can’t watch a movie piece by piece of it’s something I had never seen before. So I resolved to go home and watch Mad Max which I did on a Sunday morning. Presented here is what my initial thoughts were after watching each film.
The origin of the man who would become the Road Warrior is quite the economical film. I can’t believe so much was told in this film with so little. The action is hard-hitting and the stunts are top notch. We see Max as a family man and his role patrolling the highways. I always knew the series was dystopian in its setting, yet in this first film there is still some semblance of society. As the film goes you do notice with Max that he is a little disillusioned and by the end of the film we will no longer know Max Rockatansky and be introduced to Mad Max.
Mad Max 2- The Road Warrior
I got this in a 2 Pack DVD along with the third film when I was out of work for a day due to illness. I had always heard great things about The Road Warrior, its action, cinematography and expansive world building. Again Miller does not only much with little, he does more. Time has passed since Mad Max and all we know is that the world has almost completely fallen. That’s what I love about this franchise, it’s George Miller’s worldbuilding without any explanation. It allows the viewer to fill in the gaps and honestly it’s kind of refreshing to not have too many fan discussions of canon and holes in the internal logic. It’s all about what we see. There is very little dialogue in the film again making us watch what’s on the screen. It is a better film than Mad Max and other than a silly villain, it makes for a terrific action film either as part of the series or totally on its own.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
I watched this back to back with The Road Warrior and honestly I’m glad I did. I had always heard that this was the worst of the series and while it certainly has the least going on, it does have some good elements. One thing I loved about this was Max coming across a group of survivors who basically did not need his help. Bartertown, is pretty self sufficient and it makes me wonder how did they manage to have a form of functioning society. This is another decent piece of world building. The biggest fault is that the second half becomes a prime example of when the Hollywood machine sticks its hands in the project. Max gets involved with the struggle of a group of children. The issue is not that it’s children in the story per se, but rather that it slows the story to a crawl for me and the interesting first half becomes a distant memory. Plus as much as I love the work of Tina Turner, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) feels really out of place. This was a Hollywood movie rather than a George Miller movie.
Mad Max Fury Road
For more on what I thought about Mad Max Fury Road check out the DeaconsDen Review. I will say this, this movie is an experience that I was glad to take part of. It was great to cap off my introduction to Max and his world with this brilliant action film.
For a series that I knew of and never seen, I had no expectations for what I would experience. The Mad Max franchise is one that is easily assessable and enjoyable. I look forward to what this franchise has to offer down the line as long as Miller does what he does best.
Also check out the DeaconsDen coverage of the Mad Max series see these links: